God Does Not Exist --
For All Intents And Purposes
Martin Horton

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Martin Horton"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2001 3:07 PM

The only problem is in thinking that we can empirically disprove an existential claim. There are many ways to disprove the more popular god claims, but these must be done on an individual basis. I can honestly tell you that the "God" of the Evangelical Christians does not exist, because I have examined those claims. I cannot talk about the "God" of the Progressive Christians because this "God" defies description. And I am oblivious to the claims about "shalugi" (a probably fictional religious figure that another letter writer mentioned for purposes of discussion, which probably does not exist outside that particular discussion). Either way, I lack a belief. If I know it to be false, or if I cannot comprehend the claim, or if I have never encountered the claim (and even if I am not sure whether or not the claim is true), I lack a belief and am thus an atheist.

I am not saying (and never have said) that this definition is one that others should use as part of their personal identity as individual nonbelievers. I am only advocating that we say this in our public discussions of the word atheist as regards to the bigger picture of atheism as a whole. I am suggesting we advocate that an atheist is, at minimum, somebody who lacks a god belief, and that many atheist go much further than that. This is only in the context of unspecified atheists in general, and only to describe a range of the lack of belief. When you are dealing with specific atheists, it is imperative that we grant that atheist the right to self-definition. And if that atheist says, "I know that there are no gods," then we respect that report of her or his beliefs.
 

Even if it is likely, I still lack a belief.

But either way, it only becomes a topic of discussion because some theists are so encroachingly persistent with their evangelism. We may counter those claims in any way that we feel to be honest and effective. I prefer to show the claims to be unworthy of my assent by insisting that the theist provide me with reasons to believe. However, many of the Christian sales pitches are so enticingly seductive that they warrant special treatment such as you describe.

So yes, some specific god claims are so utterly without foundation that the only proper response is to call it what it is: pure falsehood. But my chair did bite my ass a few years ago (repetitive stress) so I went out and bought a new one. Paid for it with 80 five-dollar bills, and used a felt marker to blot out "In God We Trust" on each of the bills. So, while I am 100 percent sure that Evangelical Christianity is a fraud, I am not so sure about my chair not biting my ass.

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

Graphic Rule

Graphic Rule

Greetings enlightend one!! I knew you'd miss me! You can imagine my delight when I recieved your well though out and lucid reply. I'm drooling like a dog.

Now I'm tempted to say that sarcasm doesn't suit the religious, and should remain the exclusive right of us heathens, but it seems to fit you as snugly as the Turin Shroud (incidently, I'm toying with the idea of putting my bed sheets in a glass case and charging punters for a look -- you'll never believe what a mark a body can leave after three days of sweaty inactivity !), so I can only grovel in submission. Again.

Now, I fear I either didn't explain the idea of Quantum Vacuum Genesis properly (I assume thats why you're calling me a nihlist, although that's a strange choice of words coming from someone who dismisses anything that goes against their faith. Hmmm. Are the religious intellectual nihilists?). Either that or the old grey matter froze up in denial when someone dared to offer an explanation, that while baffling and hard to grasp, might possibly go a little way to explaining the nature of things. I don't blame you of course, it is a natural reaction for you. By the way, the earth is round and not the centre of the universe. Sorry.

As for Mr Dawkins, have you ever read any of his works with an open mind? I read the Bible (many tedious times) with and open mind, and realised it for what it is. If you starting reading his works without a snarl on your face, you might appreciate what he has to say. But I doubt you ever will, rather you might slip into a nice warm bath with the latest creationist nonsense and glow with some righteous self-satisfaction. Sigh.

Do you realise how foolish 'intellectual religio' like yourself look, continuing to resist scientific reason and commonsense? Your unthinking denial of anything that doesn't fit into your belief system is no different than the burning of Copernican books centuries ago. Religion is like a clam that closes when a shadow passes over it, shutting out the awfull realities of life. Shame.

By the way, when did I ever say that the ideas I believe in are 'timeless, absolute, definitive'? How many times do I have to say that scientific investigation is just that, an investigation? An ongoing interactive investigative process, which doesn't dare to say it knows all the answers. Unlike religion, which does. And what on earth does 'being in the mind of love' mean? Are you taking drugs? If you aren't, you should be!!

Toodle-pip,
Martin Horton.

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Martin Horton"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2001 8:14 PM

They threaten us with physical violence every time they tell us we're going to Hell. Think about it!

Meanwhile, the balance I'm looking for in the "strong" versus "weak" atheism discussion is that I am probably best considered a "strong" atheist -- at least when it comes to the popular notions of "God." But I prefer to consider atheism as a whole as the lack of a god belief, so that I can include as atheists those who rarely if ever think upon the subject.

When push comes to shove in a debate, though, I will take the "weak" position because it is the most defensible, even though I live, think, and breathe as though I were a "strong" atheist. Also, when an antagonist writes to us and accuses atheists of "denying the existence of God," they have just lost the argument because this is not a definition that we find acceptable. Can you imagine me defining theist as "someone who denies that God does not exist"? Better, could you imagine me defining Christian as "one who believes that Christ is divine and that the Earth is flat"? While I can make a strong case that the Christian Bible teaches the flatness of the Earth, it is patently unfair of me to define Christian in any way other than how Christians have tended to define themselves.

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

Graphic Rule

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Martin Horton"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Thursday, May 17, 2001 6:20 PM

I was thrown against a wall by a Baptist minister once -- in time-space reality (no dragon-chair hallucination, here -- poor li'l rich kid grown old, who got into the ministry as an investment: prayed -- er, preyed for every dime he got).

Do you think that counts?

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

Graphic 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.