Why Atheism Is Bunk
Marvin Heyboer

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Marvin Heyboer"
Subject: Re: Why atheism is bunk ...
Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 8:59 AM

Why is it that you go to such lengths to slander atheists?

Who wrote the Merriam-Webster's definition? A preacher wrote that definition! And you know why he wrote it that way? To make it easier to slander atheists -- because hardly any atheists have believed the way this preacher accuses us of believing, and particularly the way you interpret it. A few here and there, but they're the exception rather than the rule.

And no atheist would define atheism from the standpoint of presupposing that a god exists and then saying that an atheist is someone who denies this "fact." A dictionary -- a reference book -- ought to simply report the theism-atheism discussion in an unbiased manner. No dictionary worth consulting would ever take sides in a controversial argument. This is why we stopped using Merriam-Webster's Tenth Collegiate even though it is the industry standard when it comes to word-division.

Meanwhile, atheism, as most atheistic writers and philosophers have used the term (and we ought to know because it's our word), means "without theism." In other words, we are simply human and have not added to our humanity the belief that gods exist. That's all.

Merriam-Webster's also says that wickedness is a synonym for atheism. Do you believe that?

If Merriam-Webster's is so authoritative, then let's see what they say under the word God.

Ah! "god" (lowercase, not uppercase) "the supreme or ultimate reality" (everything else in reality is not quite as real?). M-W continues: "the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe" (so since He's the ruler, he has me under control, and I don't need you -- I'm doing exactly what He wants me to do because He is the ruler of the universe: do you believe that?) "the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit." Principle!? Is this what you think "God" -- er, "god" is? It's in the dictionary, I tell you! Merriam-Webster's said it, so it must be true! "God" is a principle, not a being!

Truth is, Merriam-Webster's is published by the Christian Science Church, and is widely criticized even in Christian circles as being very biased in its definitions for theological terms. Microsoft Encarta World Dictionary (the hard-back, not the software) is much more fair in its definitions for all theological terms, including the word atheism. Microsoft's Encarta simply reports what the two sides in this argument have to say, and does not take sides at all (even though its publisher, Bill Gates, is an unabashed, out-of-the-closet atheist.

So, then, since you do not have "enough knowledge," then I'm sure that you are unwilling to assert that Santa Claus is just make-believe. Are you a Santa agnostic? You haven't completely searched the North Pole because he's probably living under the ice, according to the claim I heard when I was a kid. So you cannot tell me that Santa or magical færies or the Easter Bunny or leprechauns or Allah or Popeye the Sailor or the Tooth Fairy or Quetzalcoatl or Mister Sand Man or Freija or the Wicked Witch of the West do not exist. To remain honest and self-consistent, must remain agnostic on these matters because you do not have "enough knowledge."

Yeah, you shoot your mouth off without even thinking about what you're saying, and what results is a tirade full of spite and bitterness. You inflict your hatred upon me, but how many others have you offended or even hurt with this behavior? And what have atheists, as a class, done to deserve this?

You know what? If atheism is bunk, as you claim, it is still preferable to the alternative -- especially if that alternative prompts one to approach a perfect stranger and issue a rant without even knowing what he's talking about, accusing an entire group of people of being something that they are not. If my choice is either to engage in such behavior or be an atheist, I'll proudly call myself an atheist.

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.