Covert Neighbors, Goods, and Wives
Vanessa Rodriguez

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Vanessa Rodriguez"
Subject: Re: deal
Date: August 26, 2003 9:26 PM

1. What bubble? Is that anything like getting high, man?

2. Besides, I'll bet you're not sorry at all.
 

Life itself is death: nobody gets out of this thing alive. Some claim otherwise, but none of them have been able to show anything except that no corpses have ever been known to escape corruption (if you disagree, let's go see it: I'll pay travel and lodging). None of these have shown that anything along the lines of the so-called spirit or so-called soul survives the death of the alleged host body. (I say "alleged host body" here because the notion of a "host body" is erroneous: science shows that the body itself establishes the conscious, aware "Self" by the processes and structures of the nervous system. René Descartes was the last scientist to seriously dispute this fact.)

Thus, all we have (all we will ever have) are these few moments with which to do the best we can with what little we've got. Some of us get more, but the vast majority of those who are ever conceived never even get planted onto the wall of the uterus, but get washed out with the monthly flow of blood. Those get nothing -- absolutely nothing at all.

Life is the most desirable thing I can imagine. I'd bet that if all objects in the Universe were somehow given the ability to desire and the knowledge to choose, they'd choose, above all things, the ability to spend some time as a living, conscious, aware, sentient being.

For this reason, I treat ALL my fellow humans with as much respect, dignity, compassion, and gentle lovingkindness as I am able to muster (which often isn't much, considering [1] how many Evangelical Christians and "devout" Roman Catholics want to abuse me and write me off for being an atheist and [2] how many able-bodied, working-class people want to abuse me and write me off for being, several times over, a gimp).
 

What is a "God"?

And is this why my little brother died of a dreadfully painful disease long before he would ever learn how to talk? Did my brother suffer and die as a baby because he didn't believe your claim that this thing that you call a "God" exists?

Is that what you are saying when you say that "not believing in [what you call a] God is death"?

Yes, my little brother never believed your claim that a thing called a "God" exists. He didn't believe anybody's claim along those lines, for that matter, because he never developed the ability to understand what it is that you are saying. (And when it comes to understanding what you're talking about, I fear that I'm not any better off than my brother was!)

Ah! This is why my little brother had to die, rather than to grow up with me and help each other build our lives together and keep each other from enduring the abject loneliness that I have endured my entire life (to this moment, with tears streaming down my cheeks and dropping onto my desk) because I have nobody -- nobody who is even remotely as close to me as anybody's brother is to them.

Is this what you're saying when you tell our readers (whom you don't even know) that not believing your claim that a thing called a "God" exists is death?

I have heard many people claim that a thing they call a "God" exists, but when I ask them to describe this thing, they inevitably make two very serious mistakes -- mistakes which cost them their credibility before me (and probably most of my readers).

First, they inevitably issue a description of something that is not only physically impossible but logically impossible, such as "an entity who is simultaneously all-knowing and all-powerful." If a being were all-knowing, then She-He-It (pronounce this with a single syllable) would know the future. But if She-He-It knew the future, then She-He-It would be powerless to change the course of history because, having perfect knowledge of the future, the course of events would necessarily be fixed, and thus unchangeable -- even by this allegedly all-powerful being! This is how it becomes logically impossible to know the future. This is likewise the basis of enigma incorporated into almost every Science-Fiction novel that ever dealt with so-called time travel!

Secondly, they describe a being Whose description is quite unlike that of many of the other descriptions others have given to me when I've asked them to tell me what they mean when they use the word God. Most, in fact, do not even use the word God but instead use words like Shiva, al'Lah, Yahweh, G-d, Quetzalcoatl, and Jesus. This "God" fellow (er, "God" lady? "God" event!?) appears to be quite the minority on a worldwide basis, being popular only in America, the Philippines, South Korea, Italy, Ireland, a few South American areas, and sections of Australia.

The point is this, though: if a "God" existed as a sentient being, and if that "God" wanted humans to know that She-He-It existed (assuming this "God" not to be a complete dunce), then we could expect most humans to come up with at least approximately the same descriptions of what She-He-It is like. This thing, however, is not doing a good job at all when it comes to bring to humans the knowledge and awareness that She-He-It exists and that She-He-It wants humans to do certain things.
 

Why do you enclose the word crazy in quotation marks? What changes do you intend for its meaning; that is, what different meaning from the ordinary, accepted definition, do you intend to convey when you do this?

What does it mean to become too crazy to call to this thing that you refer to as a "God" for help? What kind of help would I need that cannot be provided by hard work, patience, and the assistance and guidance of my fellow humans?
 

You ask us if we follow the so-called Ten Commandments. This brings up the need to make several corrections or clarifications, your question being not-well-thought-out:
 

1. Which Ten Commandments?

Obviously you don't mean the second tables of stone, that God supposedly authored after Moses, one morning in a fit of pique, smashed the first set into, at best, nice-looking ornamental gravel. The second set (Exodus 34), being themselves merely a collection of superstitious ritual such as keeping the Feast of the First Fruits, keeping the Sabbath, and not boiling a kid in its mother's milk, is not what you're talking about.

Then, do you mean the Protestant list (probably), the Roman Catholic list (probably not) or the Hebrew list (the so-called moral Commandments for which are identical to the Protestant list -- and you're probably not, technically, but most likely you are reading from the Protestant list, and chances are you're oblivious to the fact that the Hebrew list is different. And don't give me any of this business about reading from the same Bible, the wording is different, for one thing, and secondly (most importantly), I'm going to want you to separate them out into 10 commandments, because as I read them, I see either 17 or 18, depending upon whether the First Hebrew Commandment, "I am the Lord thy God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt," is, strictly, a Commandment (which it isn't, according to all but a handful of Protestant leaders).

Now, you conveniently left out several Commandments, such as not making statues or "graven images," and not using God's name to inflict a curse or to bring to oneself personal gain "taking the name in vain" (because of the superstition about how the person's name is how he derives his power).

Finally, I'm going to want to know which translation you're going by. As mentioned above, one Commandment might say "Thou shalt not kill" or it may just say "Thou shalt not murder," There's a big difference. Also, does it say, "Thou shalt not steal" or "Thou shalt not kidnap" or "Thou shalt not move another's landmark? And what does covet mean? Does it mean, as the popular snow-job would have us believe, "to desire to own possessions belonging to another"? Does it mean, "to desire to own possessions similar to what another owns"? Does it mean, "to cast a spell, a la the "Evil Eye," wherein the culprit (supposedly) concocts a potion of voo-doo and hoo-doo and you know I-doo and I'll bet you-doo, too, designed to effectively remove the item in question from its current owner's possession and transfer possession to the culprit?
 

2. Which atheists?

We at Positive Atheism Magazine do not pretend to speak for anybody except Cliff Walker, unless the byline of the story contains somebody else's name or unless the context specifically says that we're speaking for others (as in describing a poll, etc.).

Thus, do we follow any specific list of taboos? Chances are, we each have at least one or two taboos, probably many more.

Do we follow the portion of the first tablets version of the Ten Commandments that you (inaccurately) recited? Chances are we have those taboos that are pretty much universal among humankind, such as the taboos on murder and stealing.

Even Christians do not refrain from lying (which is not a Commandment anyway), because if you say that a thing is true and you don't know whether or not it is true, you lie in that you claim to know, for a fact, that a thing is true when, in fact, you don't. Thus, whenever a Christian tells me that Jesus is the Christ, she or he lies in that she or he does not really know but is merely taking the word of two-thousand years of tradition, the opposing evidence for which has been fiercely suppressed by the edge of the sword and the smoke of the faggot.
 

People who steal are self-inconsistent and are telling me to take whatever they may think belongs to them. Even a dog knows that it is wrong for another dog to steal its bone. Interestingly, the Ten Commandments (the first stone tablets, anyway) are alleged to contain the Commandment, "Thou shalt not steal"; however, many scholars dispute the word that is commonly translated "steal." Some think it means "Thou shalt not kidnap." Others think it means "Thou shalt not move thy neighbor's landmark" (in order to increase your own boundaries or to lessen his); this, they tell us, is the real meaning of the word translated "steal," to move landmarks and boundaries. The landmark, like the idol, was thought to be a living, sentient being, and whenever someone was about to conduct a shady business deal, he would simply turn his idols and landmarks around so that they could not see what he was doing.
 

I don't lie and don't willingly associate with those whom I catch in a lie (except those who tell me that they know that a thing called a "God" exists, when the truth is that they don't know this at all, but are simply guessing: I forgive this lie unless there is bigotry attached to the lie, then I forgive neither the bigotry nor the lie). Interestingly, I scanned the entire Mosaic law (including the so-called Ten Commandments (both versions) and I could not find any laws in the entire Mosaic code that directly commands people not to lie. One of the so-called Ten Commandments says not to perjure (bear false witness against others in legal testimony), but it says nothing about other kinds of lies. In fact, it only forbids bearing false witness against one's fellow religionists ("thy neighbor") and by this specification appears to grant immunity to those who would bear false witness against those who are not their fellow-religionists.
 

By murdering I would be denying the core of my worldview: that life is the most desirable thing I can imagine. I would sooner take my own life than take the life of someone else. Interestingly, the only reason the Mosaic code gives for its prohibition against murder has to do with a superstition involving "blood pollution" of the land. It was thought that the life was in the blood, that the person actually dwelt, disembodied, wherever his blood was spilt. This would mean that if someone killed an enemy on the killer's own land, his land would forever be haunted by the disembodied person who had died. By reading your Bible more carefully, that is, more openmindedly, you would see this, too.
 

This is a moot, meaningless question. Sometimes my parents are not worthy of respect. I have known many whose parents were worthy only of stiff prison sentences because of how the parents disrespected the children. This is a stupid taboo because it is unidirectional, and we humans live in a world of multiple causality.
 

What? Covert neighbors? goods? wives? Uh --

Oh, now I get it!

Covet one's neighbors' goods or wives!

Hah!

Yes, okay, I definitely want the two brunette wives that my neighbor directly to the south currently owns. I'll bet he doesn't use them, 'cause everybody knows that cannot keep his harem satisfied. But I'll make them happy as bunnies with no effort at all. Perhaps he can strike a deal with me, the two of his wives for eight of my she-asses, threescore and two turtles, five golden mice each with five golden emerods, and my most prized (hunk of a) domestic manservant.

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
 

I'll bet you do.
 

Oh, no! That would never do! We could never have that!

By the way: what do you mean when you use the term "scientific evidence"?
 

I peruse everything that comes through here except spam, material that's obviously copyrighted by someone other than the person who has submitted it to our Forum, and stuff that's in all caps.

However, we don't do presidents here at Positive Atheism, so No Can Do.

Besides, what manner of magical power do you suppose a president's signature might have over a peon's willingness to be truthful?
 

As the sole owner of this project, I refuse to agree to post anything I have not first read and approved.

Sorry.
 

Your little game might impress the kinds of people who desperately want an excuse to continue believing superstitions and comfortable myths. However, those of us who boldly and fearlessly face truth, who pledge to follow her wherever she may lead, will not be taken in by less-than-clever fakes like this.

Sorry.
 

Either-or thinking, eh?

Ha-ha-hah!

Think what you want! What you think of me is no concern of mine.

Ha-ha-ha-ha-hah!
 

So you withhold it, placing phony conditions on its release which no honest and intelligent person would fall for!

I get it!
 

Am I supposed to be getting a massive guilt complex right about now?

Am I personally accountable for what others do or refrain from doing?

Ha, ha, ha!
 

Conclusion:

Here somebody who thinks with the feet, rather than with the mind, logging on to our Front Page and dashing off a terse letter to people about whom she knows less than nothing. (I say "less than nothing because what little she thinks she knows is misinformation, falsehood.) I doubt she even bothered to check out our FAQ section to see who we are, what we believe, what we don't believe, and who we are not.

This occurs most often when the writer's primary motive is hatred toward the target group and its members -- though that hatred, being a product of institutionalized bigotry, may not be deliberate and though the writer may not even be aware of these feelings: the writer simply lashes out without even thinking about what she is doing or why she is doing it. Again, the hatred itself is almost always unbeknownst to the perpetrator, who considers it a "sin" to hate their "enemies" (namely, us). But it's only natural to hate members of a competing clan when the individual in question practices the brand of exclusivism advocated by the Bible's Jesus character.

We get many dignified, well-thought-out letters from Christians (even Evangelical Christians), but this is not one of them, unfortunately.

Eventually, when we redesign the web page and bring its code into the twelfth century, readers will be able to generate an index consisting (for example) only of dignified letters from Christians (etc.). In the meantime, we can only suggest that readers keep their eyes open for the more dignified, thoughtful, alliance-minded messages from our fellow-humans who may be religious, but this minor fact proves less than significant when it comes to (and when compared to) solving the truly challenging problems we all face.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Eight years of service to people
    with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule