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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Just Curious
Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2001 10:32 PM

Humor you? I'm sorry, but bigotry is no laughing matter.

Had you spent any amount of time on our website, you would see that atheists are routinely:

The list goes on and is heartbreaking at times; fortunately, most Christians are reasonable and leave us alone. Nonbelievers in the Tooth Fairy do not endure any of these things from Tooth Fairy enthusiasts, but if you don't at least pretend that you believe that Jesus is who various interpretations of the New Testament say that he is, you are in for a tough ride. This bigotry is the main reason the Christian Church is plagued with hypocrites: if you Christians would just leave us alone and allow us to disbelieve, and to do so in dignity, many who fill your pews and who lie to pollsters would gladly announce the true thoughts within their minds, admitting that they don't really believe any of that nonsense called the Christian religion.

Countless people have been duped into believing the Christian religion, having been indoctrinated with Christian propaganda since before they were old enough to acquire the skills of critical thought. They were threatened with ostracization -- and worse, the fiery pits of the Christian Hell -- if they did not at least tell people that they go along with this patently unprovable and easily refuted dogma. (It's one thing to know you're not going to be cast into the firey ovens of perdition, but it's another thing altogether to deal with folks who are convinced that you're not only going there, but who think that you actually belong in the Christian Hell!) By the time these young converts to Christianity grew up, they had become absolute slaves to this indoctrination, and they never had a chance to even consider what they were told to believe.

After they grow up (or become teenagers), many Christians see the folly and the dangers of the Christian religion, and decide to become atheists. However, unless they remain silent (like most atheists are compelled through social pressure to do), they are in for some extremely tough times -- at least in America. So, most of us remain hypocrites in the hope of living some semblance of a normal life. For example, many subscribers wish to have their magazine delivered in a plain brown envelope. This has become so costly that I was forced to raise the subscription rates for those who desire the plain brown delivery.

Even when we do come out of the closet, many of us retain the dogmatic style of thinking that is the Christian religion, and apply this thinking style to our atheism. For example, many atheists dogmatically hold "the tenets" of rationalism, failing to see that rationalism is a method rather than a set of doctrines. Others of us feel so viciously betrayed by the Christian religion that our impulse is to lash out and to discredit every expression of faith, rather than to learn to identify fundamentalism and its thinking style as the main culprit.

Religious faith is easy; learning how to use one's brain is a lot of hard work and can take years -- especially if one was unfortunate enough to have spent the childhood years learning religion rather than learning how to think.

We are one of the only organs dedicated to helping people adjust to a rational-based mindset from a Christian dogma-based mindset.

Had I wished to join the Christian religion, and needed help adjusting from a rational-based mindset to the Christian mindset, ministers and others would be falling over one another to help me make this adjustment.

But if I want to de-convert to atheism, I am basically on my own. Each person who has done this has had to re-invent the wheel, so to speak. This is because most of us who do take the risks involved in helping people come down from religion are slandered, threatened, stigmatized, and generally forced to close up shop.

I used to help people come down from the Twelve Step religion, but eventually became frightened for my life and stopped offering this service.

I no longer care enough about those who are caught up in the clutches of the Twelve Step cult to make this struggle the cause of my premature death. The Twelve Steppers won this particular battle and prevailed in their quest to silence me. But I do care about my fellow atheists. And since I now advertise that I offer these and other services for my fellow atheists, free of charge, in the form of our Forum, people write in and:

And that list goes on, as well -- which you would have seen had you actually spent much time on our website. We even address your very question in our FAQ, and this letter will become a supplement to that answer.

The bottom line is this: Christianity is an exceedingly intrusive religion. If the tooth fairy yarn is not something that I spend any amount of time taking seriously, people will leave me alone about it. But if the Jesus of the Gospels is not a tale that I spend any amount of time taking seriously, and if I choose not to remain silent about my position (if I choose to answer truthfully when people ask me for my position), such things as what happened to me at the bar just last night will happen.

I am not trying to shut Christianity down, although I will state why the Christian religion's claims are falsehood. I am not trying to dissuade people from becoming or remaining Christians, although I will offer, to those who seek, those services which I could only wish were available to me when I was a confused teenager and a lost young adult. The Christian religion is a vicious mind-control game, and for you to question my motives in trying to counter it is, in my opinion, a perpetuation of the very bigotry that you pretend not to see when you ask this question.

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

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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.