India: Satirical Works
Misleading; Here Are The Facts
Jiziya

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "hinduwoman"
Subject: Re: Rectification on certain points in your published articles.
Date: Wednesday, June 06, 2001 4:45 AM

A nude painting of Mohammed's wife would surely cost the painter his life. In some parts, even talking about such a concept would seriously impair the speaker's quality of life. That the above statements are true is, in my opinion, such a grave problem that I feel there is no such thing as going too far to denounce the religion which created this situation.

Goeringer's article was intended to be sarcastic, raising questions about why God would tell one religion one thing but tell another religion the opposite. It was not intended to be a full account of the events described. Such an account would undoubtedly miss the irony that Goeringer was exhibiting.

I do thank you for filling us in on this important detail. When I post your letter, I will cross-link your response to and from the article, so that people who read the article in the future will be able to get a fuller picture of the story.
 

The James Hervey Johnson piece is posted for its historical value. Period. This work is very rare and we post it so people may read it and see for themselves what it says. We do not post material because we agree with it or vouch for its accuracy. In our Letters section, I have leveled several criticisms of Johnson and other writers whose writings exist on our web page.

I do not know if Johnson was himself a racist, but I do know that he and his organization did attract a group of Americans who were both atheists and racists. Both Johnson and Madalyn Murray O'Hair popularized a style of atheism which criticized all expressions of religion regardless of whether those expressions hurt innocent bystanders or only the religionist. While we sternly denounce that style of atheism, we do laud much of the other work of Ms. O'Hair.
 

Although we boast the only online archive of the works of Lavanam and his father, Gora, and although we base part of our philosophy upon part of Gora's philosophy, and although we have been given permission to use the name of one of Gora's books for the name of our publication and website (thereby connecting the two groups, however remotely), we are very forward about making it clear that we do not necessarily endorse all of their philosophy. Neither does Atheist Centre endorse all of our philosophy. Thus, we do not answer to criticism of their ideas, and criticism of their ideas ought to be directed to them, not us. We will discuss their work, and you are welcome to express your opinions thereof, but we will not answer to criticism of their ideas.

India and America are two completely different sets of subcultures, and there is no way that a single philosophical or ethical system could possibly meet the needs of citizens of both countries. We post material because we think people will enjoy reading it. Sometimes we post material specifically to showcase it for what we don't like about it (and Johnson's material falls into this category, although we do not and will not pedantically annotate the text or post warning signs or the like).
 

This is what I like most about atheism: we have no dogma to which we must conform in order to be allied in the various struggles that we support. Positive Atheism Magazine, for example, is allied with the Center for Progressive Christianity, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the Baptist Joint Committee, and several other institutions which are either overtly theistic or which are run by theists. There are too many important problems that need our attention for us to justify allowing ourselves to squabble over the God question.

If any person thinks that we must agree with everything that Johnson (or whoever) says in order to rightly post it, or that by putting up a graphic of Ayn Rand we thereby endorse all of her ideas, then that person would have a hard time being an atheist. I can understand a theist thinking this way out of loyalty to a religious group, but there is nothing in atheism which would prompt someone to feel this way.

We are free to read whatever we wish, to experience whatever art we wish, and to say whatever we wish as long as we remain true to the values we hold for ourselves and others, and as long as we refuse to think that we have the final answer to any difficult question. Only by showcasing those ideas with which we disagree can we best address the problems inherent in those ideas. And only by reviewing our past statements can we see that we, too, can and do make mistakes and learn and grow. Who knows, our philosophical opponents may have a point and we may learn something. But by suppressing ideas, we close ourselves off to that learning experience, and we deny ourselves important tools that can help us make this a better world for all.

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

Graphic Rule

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "hinduwoman"
Subject: Re: Your reply
Date: Friday, June 08, 2001 3:14 AM

We tried to express some of these very advantages of polytheism over monotheism in our FAQ piece, "Introduction To Activistic Atheism." Thank you for your reply.

I am hoping to visit India in February, health and finances permitting.

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.