"To all you
intellectually dishonest 'thinkers'"
Cliff Walker's discussions with a loving Christian

"Name-Calling" is the logical fallacy which attacks the character of the opponent rather than that opponent's ideas or as part of an attempt to discredit the opponent's ideas.

I rest my case.

My use of the word cretin was to describe people, such as Justice Antonin Scalia, who are engaged in a certain behavior. In fact, I picked up the use of this word from Scalia himself; in a sermon on the "fools for Christ" passage, Scalia called himself a cretin and acted proud of the moniker and encouraged other Christians to do likewise. I agree with Justice Scalia in his use of this term to describe those, such as himself, who would usurp the protections of the United States Constitution, particularly when it comes to the protection against the tyranny of the majority in matters pertaining to religious freedom and freedom from religion.

Anything to be contrary, I suppose ...

Does this mean I can get away with forgery as long as the forged document does not exceed 50,000 words?

I doubt it.

My experience was this: I was trying to find even the remotest argument for Peter's authorship of II Peter and could not. This was the first of many cracks in my faith. I soon woke up to the fact that I was among the most miserable of beings. Eventually, I saw through The Light. I know now that I was in the wrong place; I was not at home living a life of faith. That was not how I was raised, and I doubt I was "hard-wired" toward faith either. This is who I am, and fortunately, I think it is also much more realistic.

Because this is the one which agrees with you, I suppose?

I'll check it out.

Confusion is the enemy of purposeful thought.

I am not concerned, here about any definition for science (as if there is a single, definitive way to describe it to begin with; if we knew precisely what we were doing, we would have no need for science).

I am, however, concerned with your use (abuse? misuse?) of the word faith in your arguments, in an apparent attempt to confuse faith with elements of reason rather than to distinguish faith from reason.

It is not uncommon for theists to do this, since most theists wish to make a case for the supremacy of faith over reason. McDowell and others have a different approach in their evangelistic efforts, portraying faith as the inevitable outcome of reason. In the company of believers, though, even McDowell will admit to the subjection of reason to faith in the life of a believer.

Just because I cannot see it with my own eyes does not mean I am using faith -- not in the same sense that one has faith in a supernatural being such as Jehovah. Faith is belief without reason or belief in spite of reason. Such faith is necessary to believe in a being described as transcendent or ineffable, because one cannot come to such belief through reason.

I say reason is sufficient to come to any knowledge which is attainable to man. If I cannot use reason to either affirm or deny something, then it is in my best interests to suspend judgement.

For example:

I can, through reason and observation, come to the logical conclusion that I have a brain.

This is not faith. It is not what is necessary to come to the conclusion that an ineffable, transcendent being exists.

To call this faith is to confuse faith with reason. We need to distinguish faith from reason.

Otherwise, how can I have faith in Christ when I use reason to conclude that he was just a man like everybody else? If faith equals reason, then why do we even need faith?

No. My challenge to you is to distinguish faith from reason.

Again, I don't need to go that far; I can use reason to come to the conclusion that it is a fact that I have a brain. I have plenty of hard evidence to go on.

Science is not "right" or "wrong."

Science is a process, a method; science is not a doctrine or a dogma.

The majority rules only in political matters, and some countries, such as America, have protections against the tyranny of the majority.

If the majority ruled in determining truth, then God would necessarily exist because the majority, believing in the existence of God, would therefore cause the existence of God to occur. In other words, thinking something to be true would cause it to be.

This is patently absurd; this is solipsism.

Afraid!? I already have revealed this to you, several letters ago.

The pillars of my thinking, my presuppositions, if you will, are these: 1) THINGS EXIST (I can take existence, even the existence of the Universe, for granted); 2) THINGS HAVE CHARACTERISTICS (unique characteristics distinguish a thing from other things).

Everything else I know rests, ultimately, on these two assumptions. Much of what I know rests on other firmly established facts (which are not presuppositions, but facts), but ultimately, all facts trace themselves back to these two presuppositions.

If you insist ...

"You can't always get what you want" -- Jagger, Richards

So let's whine before God and insist that it be changed to suit our needs.

And preachers want to stop them -- that's the real problem.

Whose business is it anyway?

(I could not believe how many people tried to stop me from marrying a Christian gal.)

No. He can't be. God doesn't exist.

Individuals perform individual acts. To lump all of man together and punish them or to discredit the entire race for the deeds of a few is stupid.

To do so, however, is very, very Biblical.

That's the main reason I distrust the Bible: its morality and its sense of justice is singularly reprehensible.

No. I resent the pathetic track record that Christians have in the morality department -- in spite of many, many Christians who denounce me for being immoral simply because I refuse to go along with their fairy tale. And in spite of the fact that Christians have a record of slaughtering people like me for resenting their moral track record in the face of their arrogant claims of superiority over me and my kind.

So why do Christians have such a poor track record in the morality department? Are they all reading the same book?

If God can change human hearts, I'm waiting.

("Humm, hum, humm -- [whistle, whistle] -- oh, you can't go to jail for what you're think-ing -- [whistle, whistle] -- humm, hum, humm.")

Okay, why is there still all this sin you listed? the murders, the evil homosexuality, those dreaded atheists, etc.?

Did I not ask with the proper, worshipful attitude?

(Perhaps this claim for the existence of such a god is simply a cruel hoax.)

You act as if I already think a god exists. I don't think there is any such thing as a god, and I think all claims attempting to support the existence of a god or gods are mistaken. I have many, many reasons to actively doubt these claims, and I have told you some of them.

Again, we have not established reason to think that such a being as a god exists. If and when we do (and I doubt we will), then we would need to sort our the claims of the various gods and see which god is the real one. After that, we would need to examine those documents alleging to be the word of this god, and determine which ones, if any, are genuine and which, if any, are bogus. After than, we would need to come to a consensus as to what those documents mean. Then, we would need to translate that into action -- into a how-to book, of sorts. Then, there's this quirk in Romans chapter 7, but that's only an issue on the remote chance that Jesus is the One True And Living god.

Good luck!

If they try to tell me there is such thing as a god, I will ask them to tell me what a god is and then convince me. If they try to tell me they "exercised their spiritual dimension" I'll say, "Whatever that means!

I don't even know what you're talking about. I'm not sure many of the billions you speak about would understand you, either.

I have the right to deny any claim that I see as invalid. I am a human and I am an American.

I still don't know what a "spiritual dimension" is, though.

You are "Appealing to Authority" of the majority, here. You have contributed nothing toward the case than the claim that many, many people agree with you.

You are also engaging in a form of "Name-Calling" at this point. Observe:

Some Christians exhibit arrogance by engaging in "Name-Calling" and in "Appeal to Authority" of the majority, instead of supplying an argument for their case -- an argument that does not presuppose the point they are trying to make.

"Instinct" is a reasonable explanation for some people's apparent drive to believe in the supernatural. An explanation that could apply to others is depression, in that some people either don't like themselves or don't like reality, so they want something better. I recently had a few friends who fit this explanation to a tee. One woman I knew even said, "I couldn't handle this life if it weren't for the fact that the afterlife is going to be much, much better. That's the only reason I even hang on."

Another part of human instinct is that many men desire to pork young women. Does this make it proper to have sex with a teenager? And, just because I have an instinctive desire to prong the neighbor's daughter, does that prove the existence of her desire to go at it with me? Hardly!

That still doesn't make a dent in your case for the existence of a god.

For centuries, it was natural for humans to think the world was flat. Does widespread belief that the world is flat make a case for the flatness of the earth? No.

Also, according to Paul, one must believe in Jezeus in order to be saved, not just any god.

This statement is very degrading.

I should end the dialogue at this point for you having made this very indignant statement -- but I won't. Many of our readers encounter it, especially those who are forced by the courts to join the Twelve Step religion where this bullshit claim is very routinely used against atheists, so I will respond:

How can I be a god when there is no such thing as a god?

How can I think of myself as a god when I do not think in terms of gods and the like?

I am a human, fully human: nothing more, and nothing less.

Yes it is the "Straw-Man"! You have just told me that I deny something and I don't even know what you mean when you describe what I deny. This is like me accusing you of denying that a "phe-yoo-mee" exists. What the hell is a "phe-yoo-mee"? Tell me what you mean by "spiritual dimension" before you accuse me not having a belief in its existence.

For you to say that I "deny" something is to presuppose its existence. Your task, all along, has been to make the case for the existence of a god and his Hell. You cannot get very far by presupposing what you are trying to prove in the course of making your argument. This fallacy is called "Begging the Question."

It is not possible to prove a negative. You are the one making the claim that such thing as a "spiritual dimension" exists.

First, explain what a "spiritual dimension" is. I cannot affirm or challenge something when I don't even know what you are talking about. When you say "spiritual dimension," you could be talking about electricity for all I know. If that was the case, then you would have made me the fool for goading me into denying the existence of electricity by giving it a specialized name.

If man has a "spiritual dimension" ...

Funny logic, though.

(Ha! Ha!)

I prefer to start my logic with things known, with things undisputed and plain as day. I then carry my premise to the unknown, if need be. I don't base my premise on things unknown or on things unknowable; I like to start in the known, undisputed world and move from there.

Nevertheless, most theists tell me that Man exists for the sake of God -- not that God exists for the sake of Man. (How they know this is beyond me!) This would make sense, though, seeing that God is usually portrayed as the Boss -- the Creator. My theist friends would be offended if they heard someone say, "God exists in order to communicate and have a relationship with man."

I am all I can be: alive and fully human.

If you say so. I would think that a friendship or love is an agreement between two people or one person's feelings toward another, not necessarily equal or mutual. The individuals involved can decide what it means -- if anything. If so, then it exists.

I just did.

Sure I can. I just did.

Except the "dreams" part, because I still don't know what you mean by dreams.

Perhaps you misunderstand what reason means. You just switched from reason to reasonable in your argument. Reason, in the reason-faith dichotomy has nothing whatsoever to do with reasonable.

Or perhaps you are simply trying to confuse faith with reason rather than to distinguish faith from reason. Muddying the issue is one way to make it tough on your opponent. It's not very honest, though.

No. I just described it, and I described without using the "faith" dodge.

I get the impression you are trying to confuse faith with emotion now. Emotion is entirely different from the faith-reason dichotomy.

Trick question.

I am not convinced you understand reason, and the role that reason plays in gaining knowledge and understanding.

Or, you are deliberately trying to confuse the issues.

The way I feel about my cat [etc.] is an emotion, among other things. There are probably some conditioned reflexes and perhaps some imprinting, bonding, and other things which contribute to the way I feel about my cat.

The way I feel about my cat has nothing to do with either faith or reason. It is an emotion, among other things. How I come to know truth is through observation and reason; I, personally, do not use faith to obtain knowledge.

Faith, to me, is an entirely unreliable method for acquiring knowledge and understanding. If the only way to know something is through faith, If I cannot come to know it through reason, then I am probably better off choosing to remain ignorant on the subject.

Good. Now we're talking.

Now, I must know the following before we can continue discussing this "spiritual dimension":

1) What is God? (Seeing that I have never seen nor heard a god, and have no reason to assume such an entity exists, please describe using regular philosophical terminology which has clear and undisputed meaning.)

2) How should I independently verify your claim that a god exists? (How do I know you are not pulling the wool over my eyes?)

3) What constitutes a relationship with a god? (Again, use regular words, not specialized words. Be sure we agree as to the meanings of these words, and try to avoid using a word that has two meanings unless we are distinctly clear as to which definition we mean.)

4) What is the procedure for having such a relationship? (What, about man, determines or reveals the ability to have this relationship? Where and how, on the human body, does this interaction take place? his brain? his navel, his thumb? what?)

5) How can I independently verify that this relationship is genuine (i.e., not a hallucination, not a cube of acid in the coffee, etc.).

I say that a "dapr grysaeli jizduct" exists: you prove to me that it doesn't exist.

You can't.

Since I am the one making the claim, it is on me to make my case. You can choose simply to say, "No. I have no reason for believing that a 'dapr grysaeli jizduct' exists." To say this is entirely legitimate, although it is better if you first ask, "What is a 'dapr grysaeli jizduct'?"

Since you are making a claim for the existence of something that I can neither see, hear, feel, intuit, measure, deduct, or other otherwise detect, then it is on you to make your case. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. All I have said is that I have no reason to believe your claim that a god exists or that Jesus died for my sins.

Being in the minority, I think it wise that the name distinguishes us from the majority.

An atheist, remember, is anyone who, for any reason, lacks a god-belief. This includes infants and imbeciles and froggy little native boys and people who, for whatever reason, have rejected the claims made by theists.

I don't think these things are the same as having a relationship with God. I don't think we need to use faith or spirituality to do or to describe these things.

I think you confuse the issue by describing something other than faith and giving it the name "faith" in an attempt to prove that faith -- as in faith in a god -- is valid. If you are going to talk about two distinct things, then let's discuss the two topics separately:

Let's avoid using the same word -- faith -- to describe both things. Let's especially avoid using the same word to describe two different things during the course of a single paragraph.

You said it, not me.

If I thought that of you, I would never have responded the way I have.

I have every reason to plan for the future. The worst that could possibly happen is that I am not around to try to put those plans into action.

My experience has shown me that any "now" is followed by another "now" which is followed by another. My experience has also shown me (and my Dad also said it) that if I don't plan for the future, I am more likely, eventually, to experience a "now" that I will regret. This is not faith and has nothing to do with believing in, or not believing in, the existence of a supernatural being.

Wrong. That is precisely what I just did: reason that there is a future. I don't need faith, or belief in the existence of a god to reason that there is a future. I probably don't need a "spiritual dimension" to reason that there is a future, but I have no idea what a "spiritual dimension" is, so I will suspend judgement.

Again, you used reason to make these plans, based on your experience and your ability to think and reason. Of course you could not know for sure whether it would work out, but you probably had good cause to think that it would, so you probably, at one point, decided that it was a safe bet.

This is not faith and has nothing to do with belief in the existence of a god or having a relationship with a god -- except in the sense that your belief in the existence of a god could color your approach to making the plans. Prayer and a uniquely Christian understanding of love probably entered into your reasoning process, just like keeping my word and my uniquely "Clifton" sense of truth and love influenced my reasoning process. However, the method itself, your method for making the plans, is probably the same method used by everyone else: reason. (I say "probably" but I use reason to understand that likelihood of you using a planning method different from that used by most healthy humans -- reason; observation; thinking; acting -- is extremely remote.)

No. My plans and my hopes and my dreams were based on reason. I do not consider faith to be a reliable method of gaining knowledge, wanting something, making plans, imagining possibilities, or choosing my actions.

Although I do not know what the word spiritual means, I doubt it plays any role in my thinking or my life. I base my doubt from having heard countless people tell me about their "spirituality" and their "spiritual" experiences. Not a word of what I've heard about "spirituality" or anything "spiritual" has made a lick of sense to me; not a word of it has sounded superior to what I have: an ability to use reason to guide my life, my understanding, and my decisions.

Although I do not use the word imperfect because it implies that what exists is but a shadow of some "perfect" (albeit invisible) reality, I think human reason -- warts and all -- is the best we've got to work with. What you are calling "the spiritutal dimension ... in the broad sense" is no better. It is perhaps inferior in that it does not sound like you are giving yourself credit for your own work.

I often run into this problem when working with former Twelve Steppers. They actually quit their addictions under their own power, but are giving a "Higher Power" the credit for doing what they did themselves. This can detract from learning the skills necessary to quit and remain abstinent. Some people do succeed (AA says five percent after one year) but faith-based abstinence is very chancy: it is like that movie where the alcoholic was struck by lightning and suddenly quit drinking. Hey! Let's market that technique!

I had confidence in my ability to carry out what I promised to do. That was the basis for my decision to plan to be with someone I deeply desired to be with: "I can do this."

I also understood that it takes two to tango. I wrote about this last year, in the August, 1996 editorial, and had the same woman on my mind when I wrote that piece (she also disappeared in July of last year), although I used different characters to make my point in the editorial. It is unethical for me to try to persuade her into doing something which she has told me she does not want to do. I don't run her life. Although I choose to forfeit my right to change my mind once I have made a promise to someone, I still allow her the prerogative to change her mind whenever she chooses and whatever the reason.

Perhaps some day I will meet someone who has an ethical standard which resembles mine. Perhaps someone like that will like me enough to decide to be with me and to work together and to viciously fight off anything which would come between us. But I haven't yet met this person. I still have every reason to think that such a person exists, though, so I keep looking.

This is a different meaning of the word dreams than you used a few sentences ago.

Now you are confusing what is associated with Rapid Eye Movement (REM) with having desires or longings for the future. It would be better, for this discussion, if you would distinguish between the two meanings of the word rather than confusing the two.

It exists and does no need me to sustain its existence (except when talking about my own REM experiences). When explaining it or trying to understand it, I use reason. No faith is necessary to describe or understand that dreams exist -- for either sense of the word dreams.

I can use reason to come to an understanding (however partial) of what is happening during REM. I can know that what happens during REM exists.

Explaining dreams is communication and nothing more. (Explaining dreams has nothing to do with faith or with a belief in a deity who would bother having relationships with men or would ascent to the will of a man who prays.)

Gora was the late father of my friend Lavanam. Both are from India and worked with the untouchable castes and were friends of Mahatma Gandhi. Gora wrote of his experiences traveling around the world in 1970, and one passage is particularly humorous (and simultaneously tedious) to Western readers. After Gora came to the United States, he took an airliner from New York to San Francisco. In doing this, he experienced a strange problem with which he had had no prior experience. It takes over a page in his book for him to describe this experience, because he does not use the term jet lag. Perhaps there is no Telugu equivalent for jet lag or perhaps most of his readers would need a description, rather than a term, to understand what he is talking about. I think he simply did not know the term jet lag. I've read most of his writings, it is not like Gora to explain something in depth without telling the word which describes what he is saying.

Perhaps you and I think similarly about most things, although I do not use words like spiritual or faith to describe what can be described amply using regular terminology.

Although I don't understand what you are doing or why you are doing it, I'm afraid you may have a zeal to evangelize me (or prevent your own loss of faith) which could be prompting you to lump normal, every-day experiences into the category of religious experience, and then use that try to point out that I am religious.

I'm not going to buy that line of reasoning, though less thoughtful people may have bought it in the past.

(Or perhaps you've just been pulling my leg this whole time. Are you a Discordian?)

Last week, you admitted that you hadn't even been reading or responding to anything but "snippets" of my letters to you.

I am waiting for you to bring out both guns and start firing.

It is obvious that you have not. Observe:

You keep using your own erroneous speculations about my personality and about my personal life in your attempts to discredit me, and thus discredit my case.

(Do not deny this: you are far from subtle in this regard.)

I can appreciate your need to continue using the "Ad Hominum" fallacy in trying to bolster your case, but your menacing remarks about my personal life have gone too far.

(By the way, the "Ad Hominum" fallacy comes off best when used in the third person; using it in the second person is not a bright idea.)

Life is tough for all of us at times, and it is even tougher for some of us than it is for others, depending on the resources each individual has available with which to function and to live life.

Nevertheless, since my last dispatch to you, I have edited, written much of, typeset, and printed the monthly issue of a small magazine; exposed two hoaxes; read two books; gone out on a date; taught a class; given a lecture; called four elected servants; fielded six hours worth of calls on an alcoholism hotline which I maintain and am the sole person who answers; spent eight or nine hours on the phone consoling a close friend who has recently been diagnosed with a grave illness; spent an hour or so consoling another friend whose life-partner recently died of AIDS -- this despite having to live with two chronic and debilitating medical conditions (one of which doubles me over in acute pain for about four hours at a stretch every time it hits, which is several times a week), having to cope with the fact that my closest friend in the whole world, a friend I've known for twenty-four years, suddenly disappeared into thin air without warning or explanation, and having to face up to an error on my ledger which put my available funds suddenly at zero ten days before my pension arrives. I have eaten the equivalent of two meals during the past five days, and I have slept fewer than twelve hours that whole time.

However, THIS DIALOGUE IS NOT ABOUT YOU OR ME!

(Got that?)

It is about your claim that I am "more than a fool" if you are right about Jesus, and my response that human reason is sufficient to gain knowledge.

Don't forget that you are the one who initially made contact with an Atheist magazine challenging Atheists' lack of a god-belief. I have done the best that I can to respond to your claims; in doing that, I have needed to unravel lots and lots of confusion which you have thrown into the discussion. I give everybody the same benefit of the doubt in all matters. I have tried to be very patient, but I could easily spend my time doing other things.

Therefore, if you do not stop making speculations as to my personal life and if you do not stop making degrading remarks about me, I will stop downloading your e-mail.

I have sent carbon copies to some associates and friends who also get similar flack from thoughtless philosophical opponents, because I think they'd get a kick out of your approach to truth.

Have a nice day.

Cliff Walker

So? Big deal! It's not like the world has stopped rotating; it's not like I'm waiting for the phone to ring. I know you have a life.

Take your time. Nobody has ever tried to reduce the Gospel to a bumper-sticker slogan. I don't want you to be the first.

Wrong again! I said no such thing in our conversation (although do I admit guilt in having having scoffed at more than two Christians).

Bertrand Russell wrote: "A stupid man's report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand." (The History of Western Philosophy, p. 85). However, I also wonder if you may be throwing these "curve balls" at me in a deliberate attempt to toss confusion into our discussion. (I won't speculate over which of the above speculative assessments gives you the benefit of the doubt.)

A simple word-search for the word bunny reveals my statement to you: "I cannot believe in Jesus any more than I can believe in the Easter Bunny..." (In fact, it is the only occurrence of my use of the term on the entire WEB page.) I say nothing about proving that the Easter Bunny exists, because I cannot prove the existence of the Easter Bunny any more than I can prove the existence of a god.

It is on those who claim to make their case. It is on the one who makes an extraordinary claim to come up with an extraordinary case. One who lacks a belief is under no obligation. In other words, you can go ahead and deny my claim that "things exist" and then we have no further discussion.

You asked if I make any presuppositions, and I said I make two: 1) things exist; 2) things have characteristics (which distinguish them from other, different things).

I would include 1) objects of matter, 2) potentials and releases of energy, and 3) information among what I call things, but I dare not go further than that. I do not write off other possibilities, I simply choose not to go any further at this stage of my education.

To try to prove that things exist, I would need a presupposition more basic than "things exist" on which to base my proof; "things exists" is one of the two basic presuppositions upon which I base all other discussions. "Things exist" is so self-evident that without it as an accepted truth (or at least as a presupposition), I cannot hold a coherent dialogue; without that presupposition, any conversation would become absurd. Without "things exist," I become a solipsist.

This presupposition, however, is not unique to atheists; neither is it universal among atheists. A true solipsist would probably qualify as an atheist, though very few atheists are solipsists.

Having accepted that things exist, I go one step further and assume that things have characteristics which distinguish them from other things. Unless I assume the existence of distinguishing characteristics, I cannot make any statements based on the trustworthiness (or lack thereof) of my senses or my measuring equipment.

Cliff Walker, editor
The Critical Thinker

Yet:

1. Most of this stuff is unprocessed: right off the top of my head. If and when something gets published, you'd better believe I pull out all the stops.

2. Every word of it is a Cliff Walker original -- no disputes over such things as textual corruption.

3. If you have any questions, you can ask me.

4. I have a disorder which makes it a tedious process to verify that what I want to say equals what ends up on the page. Nevertheless, typesetting and editing is my line of work, though I am not very competitive at it. Strenuous education and tedious practice minimize the effect of this disorder in that my skills and effort can override or "punch through" the disorder. At least I'm not as bad off as that poor fellow who has no arms and who types indices for books using a pencil between his toes.

Tell me: What's God's excuse?

I don't claim to be God.

You have disregarded almost everything I've said that you understand -- and have misunderstood a great deal of what I have said, even though you have known original documents.

I don't understand why a god would, if this message was so important, entrust it to illiterate goat-herders and itinerant tent-makers. I would hope it would be given the means to better protection than has the Bible, because at this point the Bible is so hopeless as to render it useless: no one can tell which are the corruptions and additions and which parts are genuine.

I wonder why they always seem to point to the accuracy of Isaiah 40 but not to any other chapters?

The question is not "is a 1000-year-old copy of a copy accurate against a 2000-year-old copy of a copy, but did Isaiah write it? And what happened to it between when it was allegedly written and the earliest available manuscript.

Of more importance is: Did God inspire it? This is a whole different discussion which cannot take place until after we verify that Isaiah wrote Isaiah and that what we have is the same as what Isaiah wrote.

And the Greeks and Romans who edited and wrote the New Testament were not a thinking people, not a people who thought things through, and were very unfamiliar with Jewish law, custom and thinking. This is clear by reading any fragment of the New Testament.

You presuppose that Jesus died and that Jesus arose, which presupposes that Jesus even existed. But you tell me of corruptions in the story. Which of these presuppositions are iron-clad, indisputable truth? That Jesus existed? (Does the Jesus myth need a literal Jesus to explain its existence?) That Jesus was crucified? That he actually died that day and not later? That Jesus rose from the dead?

Which of these claims are extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary proof? -- as Carl Sagan was known to say.

Are you trying to discredit Christianity here? Are you trying to say that faith promotes stupidity? That's my job!

The truth of which words? Which words are the real words?

What I said (but you still haven't heard, though I've said it to you several times) is that the New Testament is so replete with flaws that it cannot be taken seriously as a historical document. The New Testament's morality is so destructive to society that it is one book I wish I could ban. The logic of the New Testament inspires Straw-Man fallacies like the one you gave above. Even if the New Testament admitted outright that it is the words of uninspired men, its usefulness does not go beyond historical curiosity (and a very curious one, at that).

Ask me anything you want about what I've written and you will get a response that is verifiably mine and verifiably original. You'll have to depend on my reputation as to whether what I say is on my mind is actually what is on my mind.

Short Grapic RuleGraphic Rule

Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.