Here's the Deal:
Prove There is No God
-- or Believe
Zach Conn

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Zach Conn"
Subject: Re: An Argument ...
Date: July 27, 2004 9:44

No, here's the deal: you wrote to us; we did not write to you.

You're welcome to visit the web site any time you wish except in the wee hours of Sunday (or is it Monday?) in the Eastern Time Zone, when we sometimes (but not always) shut down for maintenance. You may even send us letters containing unsubstantiated claims, unargued statements, generalized bigotry, and even utter nonsense.

Your misrepresentations of atheism do not impress us any more than we are impressed by the schoolyard braggart who boasts of the fact that he can walk to school faster than the kid with the leg brace. Most of us realize that this is no achievement at all, and the majority of those can see the futility of his values, thinking that how fast somebody can walk even matters. Of course it's easy to knock down a silly proposition that you have cunningly placed into the mouths of your perceived ideological opponents for the purpose of making yourself appear superior in some way.

However, none of us gives a flying fµck what you think or believe. We don't care that you think you might want to "follow" (whatever that means) our "message" (whatever that is). We are not out to deconvert you or anybody else: we don't care what you think or whether or not you become an atheist. With you, as with everybody else, the only thing that concerns us is your behavior, which is unambiguous and indisputable.

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How can statements that other people have made cause me to contradict myself?

The Big List of Quotations serves two purposes: First, it is here for the entertainment and moral edification of our atheistic readers. Others are welcome to read it, too, but this is why we have (by now) invested almost two years worth of man-hours into that one project. Secondly, it is before-the-fact advertising for the eventual publication of the print edition, which Cliff Walker hopes to use as a hedge against old age in the event that his health problems don't take him out before then. Between what's online (almost one-eighth of what we currently have) and that which we have withheld from posting, it ought to be the largest, most thoroughly researched work of its kind.

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What you say, here, is not true: I am not promoting atheism on this web site, as I mentioned above. And I don't know where you come off talking about my life like that: you don't even know me. Most of the people who do know me, don't know that I'm an atheist. Most of the ones who do know, found out by way of some meddling blabbermouth, someone who heard it from a source whom I had (naïvely) trusted to mind their own business!
 

Unlike many religious folks, atheism is never a very big element in any atheist's outlook.

Dig this: My atheism describes what other people believe and how other people think; my atheism says nothing about what I believe and how I think. By telling you that I am an atheist I have revealed but one single fact to you: I do not grant assent to any of the god-claims (theism) that humans (and probably Neanderthals) have foisted upon one another since the early Stone Age and before (give or take). That's all you know: you don't know why this assent is not part of my outlook and you don't know how vehemently or self-assured I am in regards to this non-aspect of my belief system. Most importantly, you don't know "how much space I give in my head" to the subject of my atheism (as the Twelve Steppers like to put it). Chances are extremely good (statistically, from your advantage) that I rarely if ever even think about my own atheism.

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Reminds me of the Oriental despot of yore -- except this one's a lot bigger -- and invisible, to boot.

For the sake of argument, let's assume, for a moment, that such a Creature exists: If He is so hot-to-trot for me to become aware of this "fact," then why does he do such a bang-up job at hiding?

"All'ee all'ee outs in free! C'mon, kid! Game's over! It's time to wash up and get ready for dinner! Hey! Do you hear me!? C'mout, c'mout wherever y'are!"

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No, and of course not.

Besides, who's fighting? I did not log on to a theistic organization's web page and berate the authors of that project for the core values that they have nurtured through life experience for half a century, give or take. Of course, you cannot have known the truth about this because you do not have access to the inner workings of anybody's mind but your own. You cannot make truthful statements about such things: the most you can do is sit in your armchair and speculate. And when you take those speculations and call them the truth (not to mention berating another for not going along with your speculations), you are as guilty of falsehood as if you had known the truth and spoken contrary to it.

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It is an established maxim and moral that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false is guilty of falsehood, and the accidental truth of the assertion does not justify or excuse him.
-- Abraham Lincoln, chiding a Springfield, Illinois, newspaper editor

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If you wish to get into the type of discussion you appear to be describing, we have repeatedly posted the terms over the years. Ah, but you've made numerous statements in this letter, but have failed to provide arguments for any of them. Because you come off as such a lazy individual, we will grant the courtesy of repeating those terms here. In fact, to make it official (adorning your hat with plumes of colorful feathers with all the usual pomp and pageantry just to make you feel special), we will describe those terms in greater detail than ever before:

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1. Since you are the only one between the two of us that is making a claim (you claim that this thing called a "God" exists), then YOU are the only one who is allowed to introduce evidence and strong argument into the discussion.

2. We are making no claims whatsoever (it is impossible for us to disprove your existential claim); therefore, our role is to sit here and listen. We are also allowed to explain to you why we do not accept this or that argument and why we dispute one or the other exhibit.

3. You have two years during which you are allowed to do this.

4. If, during those two years, you make a convincing case for your existential claim (that a god exists), then Cliff Walker agrees to convert to theism and dismantle the entire Positive Atheism project.

5. If, at the end of those two years, you have failed to make a convincing case, then you agree to renounce your faith in this "God" that you are here telling us about.

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Those are the rules. We will not engage in any discussions of this type with anybody who does not agree to these rules.

If you wish to go for it, then write us an official letter to that effect. Take the letter, along with your pastor and one other ordained clergyman, to the office of a Notary Public. After the three of you have signed this letter in the presence of the Notary, who then notarizes the document, have the Notary send the document to us using a service that provides legally acceptable proof that the Notary is the one who sent the document. You also agree to shoulder any monetary expenses that we might incur (for example, if you prefer the telephone, you pay the long-distance or provide us with a talk-all-you-want account). Any written or recorded dialogue becomes the property of Cliff Walker, d.b.a. Lost Cat Poetry Systems.

Thanks for writing, and have a nice life, okay?

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Entering our 10th year of service
      to people with no reason to believe

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