Newborns Aren't Sent
To The Christian Hell
PraisingAngel

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To:
Subject: Re: FORUM_What_Is_Sin_9835
Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000 12:36 PM

That you would base your assessment of all Christians upon the characteristics of the handful of Christians you know is the fallacy of Statistics of Small Numbers.

The Roman Catholic Church has, throughout history, taught that unsaved babies are but kindling for the flames of perdition. When the Protestants picked up the ball, they taught the same thing. I have read stories of Medieval women committing suicide so they could join their babies in the Christian Hell and try to comfort them (suicide being one of the swiftest and surest ways of making it into the Christian Hell -- do not pass "Go").

[These Bible verses supporting the historical teaching on infant sinfulness and accountability were inserted later, at the time of editing this post; they were not included in our response to the writer:
Psalm 51:5: "Surely, I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me."
Psalm 58:3: "Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies."
Romans 3:10: "There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God."
Proverbs 20:11: "Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right."]

Only the rise of Rationalism and the Enlightenment have prompted some but not all Christian sects to go against clear biblical teaching and the precedent of Church teaching by suggesting that babies are exempt from the draconian policies of the Christian god, Jesus Christ, who is alleged to have said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6.)

It is the historic teaching of the Christian churches that one must believe in Jesus Christ in order to escape the clutches of the Cosmic Cookery of Christ. What to do with babies who never had a chance to believe has always been a problem for apologists of the Christian faith, but no answer to this dilemma can be found in Scripture, which declares over and over that you must believe or you will to spend an eternity wailing and gnashing your teeth the Christian Hell. So, the entire church for centuries (and even many major sects today) taught that it's just too bad: you didn't baptize your baby in time, or couldn't afford to pay the priest to perform the baptism, so now your dead baby is roasting as we speak. And the babies of those nonbelievers are roasting, too.

I have heard modern Christians expound at length upon this matter (particularly of the Reformed movement such as the Orthodox Presbyterian faith and other more fundamentalistic sects, those who take their marching orders from the Bible). They justified it by explaining that God foreknew that the infant would sin later, had it lived, and thus God's punishment of an eternity in hell (more pain inflicted upon a single individual than all the pain suffered by all the creatures of the entire history of the earth combined) was just.

Now: humans don't believe that a newborn child that dies will go to hell. Nobody who bases their ethics upon the compassion natural to humanity could even think this! Only someone who has surrendered their humanity (their uniquely human sense of compassion and empathy) to a religion could be convinced that this is true. Only someone who gathers their understanding of truth from a book such as the New Testament, or who thinks that Jesus Christ has anything to say about morality, could believe this horrid teaching.

As a human being who is humbled by the honor of being able to spend a moment or two as a human, I will stand up tall and proudly announce to the world my position that even if Jesus Christ had been right on the money in all other respects (he wasn't, though), his teaching that anybody would spend even a minute in the Christian Hell forces me to write him off completely as a moral example.

You might want to track down a classic book called The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment (author mercifully forgotten). It's a real hoot! -- except for the fact that people actually do believe this horrible dogma.
 

The question you're probably asking is, what percentage of Christians to the total Christian population are in prison, compared to the percentages of, say, atheists and Jews to their total respective populations. The answer does not shock me at all, considering that Christians worship that Giant Invisible Ogre who invented the Christian Hell, and thus would be more likely to take on that Giant Invisible Ogre's moral characteristics. I will not spoil the surprise you have in store, but will only provide a link to the study so you can read it yourself.

http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/apocalypzo.htm#PRISON
 

I attack the Christian faith itself, and reserve some of my sternest denunciations for those who stand before the non-Christians of this world and defend the Christian faith as being conducive to human morality. The vast majority of rank-and-file Christians, those who have not taken the time or made the effort to scrutinize the teachings of their religion, do not endure any attacks from me. They do not earn my respect, but I will not attack, in any manner, someone who quietly believes these things. It's when they go out and try to make converts that they will earn my vitriol.

Worse than this, many if not most of the Christians who write to this forum actually lie about what the Bible teaches or what the Christian faith does or does not say. For those, I have been known to post their letter and my response before they ever even received it!
 

Too bad so many Christians are so selective as to which Bible passages they will obey and which ones they will ignore.

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

Graphic Rule

 

This link the writer has quoted appeared in the unformatted version of our response, and refers to our discussion on the rhetorical fallacy known as "Statistics of Small Numbers," also described in our response. We had suggested that for the writer to state that no Christians believe babies go to hell because "I don't know any Christians who believe that" is an example of this fallacy.

For our writer to now demand to know what survey we performed betrays either that the writer lacks an understanding of the nature of rhetorical trickery, that the writer did not read the linked discussion on rhetorical trickery, or that the writer is bluffing. Take your pick. Statistics and surveys have nothing to do with knowing the ways in which it is possible for people to misuse logic.

 

 

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: PraisingAngel
Subject: Re: FORUM_What_Is_Sin_9835
Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000 9:17 PM
 

You're showing your desperation by grasping at straws, here. (Besides, you don't need to shout!) There are no statistics involved in a simple description of the dishonest misuse of statistics. No surveys are needed when showing how it is possible for people to cite statistics inaccurately for the purpose of convincing listeners that they lies they are telling are not lies.

Before, I had given you the benefit of the doubt by thinking (in the privacy of my own mind) that you may be uneducated or otherwise somewhat ignorant. Now I know: you are flat-out lying to me. Ignorance is not a good explanation for you to ask me to divulge a survey to back up what I said, here. Only someone desperate enough to degrade our readership and our editorship by even suspecting that we would fall for such low-down tactics can possibly have responded this way.
 

Then what are they, Zoroastrians? Shintoists? Quetzalcoatalians? what?

To me, anybody who would say, "Roman Catholics are not considered Christians" is a bigot. To do this is to dismiss the private beliefs of a thousand million living humans without having held a candid discussion of religious matters with more than a few dozen of them, to lump all Roman Catholics into a single category.

The Roman Catholic Church has practiced Christianity for over three times as long as the oldest Protestant sects (the Presbyterians and the Lutherans). If they are not Christian, then I suggest that nobody is Christian.

Meanwhile, your petty quarrel with rival Christian sects is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. What I said about the Roman Catholic Church was only to counter your claim that "no Christian" believe a certain teaching. I then followed my statement by showing that Protestants continued this tradition and that many Protestant sects make extremely elaborate arguments in favor of the idea that infants who die unbaptized spend an eternity in the Christian Hell.

Almost all Christian sects agree that adults who die unbaptized will be sent to the Christian Hell, the only question is that some think there is a line drawn somewhere that exempts infants. The Bible says nothing about any such exemption, though.

These Christians don't like the thought of infants being condemned for the Sin of Adam, but this is what their Bible teaches and this is what they believe. I'm sure there is not a Christian who has ever lived who wouldn't change this (imaginary) situation had she or he the power to do so, but they think they are powerless to alter what they think is the decree of Christ.
 

Oh, Jesus didn't just die for our sins, now we gotta believe in just the right way? I suppose this means we gotta believe exactly the same way you do or we're all gonna fry!

You see, I am not attacking you for being a Christian. I am attacking you for inflicting your Christianity upon me. I have absolutely no respect for the Christian dogma (Roman Catholic or Calvary Chapel -- I see very little difference) because the Christian religion teaches people not only to act the way you are acting toward me, but also to spread this stuff around.

If the Christian religion made one change: if the Christian religion had not instructed its members to inflict its madness upon the rest of us, I would have absolutely no criticism of the Christian religion -- just as I have absolutely no criticism of: Wicca; Paganism; Buddhism; Janism; Satanism; the Shakers; the Masons; that odd church across the street from my home with no electricity that is so exclusive they refuse to tell us even what kind of religion they are (not even when I asked). I have no problem with these religions because you really gotta want to know what they're about in order to find out. Nobody from any of these religions is going to walk up to you and try to set you straight (except for a few oddball sects of Buddhism).
 

Because the Bible says that anybody who doesn't believe and become baptized will go to the Christian Hell. Anybody. All. Everybody. That is what the Bible says. If you are going to justify your opinion by citing the passage about suffer the little children, then you ought to be willing to see that the same Jesus not only invented the Christian Hell, but condemned all who do not agree with him to spend eternity in the Christian Hell. (We're not dealing with a humanitarian, or even a humanist, here.)
 

What if nobody who proclaims to be a Christian is really a Christian? What if we're all as wrong as you say the Roman Catholics and the other Christian sects are? What if Joseph Smith was right about all the sects being reprobate since shortly after the times of the Apostles, but wrong about the fact that his church was going to be the true restoration of the original faith laid down by Jesus? What if they're all wrong?

If nobody has the right dogma, then why did Jesus die?

Meanwhile, if you teach that there is a way for certain people to escape the Christian Hell without having faith in Jesus, then you are teaching false doctrine just like you accuse the others of teaching. This is what the Bible teaches, and if you can't handle it, I suggest that you renounce your faith like I did when I woke up to the fact that nobody was right -- including me -- and that if the Bible is true, we're all screwed!
 

And others are misinformed because they try to find truth in that book of lies, the Bible.

Besides, if you can't trust a preacher, who can you trust?

We are all fallible. We all have but a dim ability to perceive what is going on around us. All we have to go on is what's between our ears. And that's not much at all. But as dim as human reason is, it's all we have. To surrender your own mind to the wiles of charlatans and religious opportunists (such as Paul and the ones who forged the Epistles of Peter and the Gospel of John) is to give away what little you have available to you with which you can find truth.
 

Most people simply revert back to the faith of their fathers, the faith they were raised with, the faith which, were it efficacious, should have kept them out of prison in the first place.

The sociologist who conducted one of the studies clearly states that education plays a major role in who goes to prison. Educated people (who, by the way, are much less likely to be superstitious) don't go to prison very often. Uneducated people (the most likely to be superstitious) are very likely to go to prison. Sixty-four percent of university students in The Netherlands call themselves atheists. Sixty-four percent! I got this from Victor Gijsbers, the senior partner of Positive Atheism Magazine, a physics major at Universiteit Utrecht. Meanwhile, several surveys show which Americans believe that Jesus will physically return to Earth, or which Americans think the Universe was created by God less than 10,000 ago. These people, according to the surveys, are the poor and the elderly. The educated and the under-30 crowd is least likely to believe this way.
 

And you know this without having even met these people? without being able to enter into the privacy of their consciousness to be able to know what kinds of experiences they have and have not had?

Or are you simply presupposing that nobody who believes in your brand of Christianity could possibly commit a crime? that is, are you defining "true Christianity" as that which happens to coincide with good moral behavior and "false Christianity" as that which happens to coincide with unruly behavior?

You're beginning to sound like some of the Roman Catholic theologian who wrote to me, reiterating my previous suspicion that all who call themselves Christians got their marching orders from that wiliest of religious snakes, Saint Paul of Tarsus.
 

So, even though we state on our Front Page that our target audience is atheists, not theists (which means that any theists who visit ought to act like the guests that they are) you write to us anyway, not once, but twice. For shame!

You not only write to us thinking it your duty to set us straight, but you lie to us in so doing! For double shame!
 

See? What did I just say?

We are not here to convince anybody that Christianity is a farce. Since our target audience consists of atheists, our readers already know that Christianity is a farce! (How stupid do you think the editors of and contributors to "Positive Atheism" Magazine are?)

Our main point is to try to develop a style of atheism that will hopefully overcome the bigotry that we endure at the hands of (mostly) fundamentalist Christians, fundamentalist Muslims and a handful of Orthodox Jews. In the most recent Gallup Poll concerning what type of person would Americans vote for President, only forty-nine percent said they'd vote for an atheist. Fifty-nine percent said they'd vote for a homosexual! We atheists have it worse than homosexuals.

We have it so bad that now that it has become popular to denounce the Boy Scouts of America, they are denounced for their policies toward homosexuals, not for their policies toward agnostics and atheists. Three of the four main party candidates (Cheney excluded) have not minced words in explaining that atheists are not as likely to be moral as religious people. (But you saw the facts in those seven or eight surveys reviewed in that article which prove otherwise.)

So, our first order of business is to find ways to end the bigotry and injustice everywhere committed against us. In order to accomplish this, we need to keep our readership broad. Thus, we throw in a little science, a little history, a little politics, a little humor, and a little critical examination of religion.

We feature criticism of religion because the religious evangelists have a long history of careful study (because their theologians don't have to work for a living) whereas some poor college student hasn't even thought about religion until they receive a visit from the Campus Crusaders (I love that name: it's so descriptive). So, we balance the centuries of fine-tuned arguments leveled against an unwary student with the resources it takes to even out the playing field (and it doesn't take much for our position to run circles around theirs: this is why they have entire committees working full-time to develop their sales pitches to use against us in trying to recruit us).

But to try to argue with someone who has renounced reason is like administering medicine to the dead. Our side has known this for at least 230 years, since United States Founder Thomas Paine made that observation in the very pamphlet that sparked the American Revolution: "Common Sense." Thus, since most Christians admit that they have surrendered their reasoning powers in favor of following the dogmas variously called the Christian faith, we have nothing to say to Christians.

We will respond to Christians who write to this forum. We will politely answer their polite questions about our position, what it is and why we hold it and why we think it is superior to Christianity (otherwise, we'd be Christians!). And we will point out where those Christians who write here are wrong, and we will call anybody to the mat who chooses to lie to us.

Therefore, we most humbly and sincerely insist that you retract your statement that we "have a website to convince others that Christianity is a farce." This is simply not the point of our website.
 

Oops!
 

Yeah, right!
 

None of us hardly know anything.

The difference between you and I is that I am not willing to assert that a god exists and you are. Neither of us has enough evidence to conclude that a god exists, but you go ahead and assert that one exists nonetheless. I refuse to go that far.

I have examined in detail the claims of the Christian apologists and have discovered all of their major flaws and many of the minor ones as well. I have weighed the claims of the Christian religion and they have been found wanting. I have done this with many religions, the most popular, anyway, but I certainly have not scrutinized all of them.

But as to the god question itself, though, there is not enough there to conclude that a god exists. So, I don't make that conclusion. Without a god belief, I remain an atheist. Although I lack a god belief in that I have not examined all the god claims and cannot perform crucial tests, I actively and positively believe that certain religions are pure falsehood -- Christianity being the one I've spent the bulk of my time examining.
 

Too bad you didn't catch the subtle jab intended here: I had previously criticized you for ignoring those passages which teach the existence of the Christian Hell and ignoring the fact that no Bible passage exempts infants from the requirement that one believe in Jesus in order to avoid the Christian Hell.

Then you turn around and invoke a Bible passage in criticism of Christians who do not obey that passage.

When I say "it's too bad," I am not expressing remorse, but merely using a linguistic turn of phrase to conjure a sense of irony. I realize that it is impossible to practice what the Bible commands because it contradicts itself so hopelessly as to require anyone trying to practice it to emphasize some portions of it and to ignore or reinterpret other parts. To me, one does well to reject the Bible entirely, and to use their uniquely human senses of compassion and justice to balance out an ethic for themselves, and to join forces with their fellow humans to try to hammer out a system of laws that we all can live with.

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:
Subject: Re: FORUM_What_Is_Sin_9835
Date: Monday, October 02, 2000 3:38 PM

Asking me to produce studies to document a description showing how it is possible to misuse statistics is not "reaching for valid information" in any sense of the word. Either you don't know what you're talking about or didn't understand my clearly written piece on the subject (you're ignorant or stupid) or you didn't even bother reading it but responded to it anyway (you're lazy and dishonest) or you are bluffing (you're desperate and dishonest).

In any event, your response to my showing the dishonest methods some people use to twist statistics around is not, in any sense, reaching for valid information, as showing how to do something (such as how to misinterpret information) is not even in the same ballpark as studying trends (studies; surveys; statistics).
 

I haven't made any false statements to you, but you have made false statements to me. So, since I haven't lied to you, it is fair that you refrain from calling me a liar. But, since you have lied to me, it is only fair that I point this out.

Positive Atheism considers honesty, that is, truthfulness and self-consistency, to be the highest human ethics. This is a deliberate presupposition on our part; we choose to believe this for specific purposes. What separates Positive Atheism's understanding of truthfulness from other understandings of truthfulness is that we insist on truthfulness in all our affairs. This means that if you try to pull something on us in our forum (and you have done this several times), we will not let it slide by, but will at least point it out. This is stated clearly on our Front Page.

So, we think it would be totally fair for us to point out that you have lied if this is what you have done. We also think it is fair of you to refrain from pointing out that we have lied since we have said nothing untruthful to you. What would be unfair would be for us to refrain from pointing out that you have been untruthful with us.
 

And I haven't given you any statistics -- there is the lie! You demand "proof" of something I didn't even say! You insist that I said something (gave you statistics) when I did not do any such thing, and then you demand that I back up what I didn't even say! All I did was point out a the name of the dishonest tactic you used in claiming that Christians don't believe babies go to hell: this fallacy is named, "Statistics of Small Numbers," and you can read this and other dishonest tactics in our FAQ.

You are a liar!

You lied about what I stated and then demanded that I prove your own lie!

I get this very lie often enough from Christians who write here that I have placed the following statement on our front page:

 

If you want to try to hold us accountable for something we believe or say, please be sure that we actually said it or believe it before launching your salvos against us. If you lie to us or about us, we will call you on it, because we insist on truthfulness.

 

This is exactly what you have done, and you have gone much further than anyone else has. All other Christians who have done this to us have been much more subtle about it than you have here; you have pulled this stunt more blatantly (and more brutally) than any other Christian who has written to our forum.
 

I cannot provide statistics to back up a statement whose purpose is to show examples of ways in which people have been known to lie. I cannot provide statistics to back up the fact that the claim you made in the opening paragraph of your first letter to us is a fallacy that is common enough to have been given a name.

All I can do is refer you to a high school course in rhetoric and logic. I will not provide for you an education in these matters: I will simply document that you have lied to us.
 

By pulling the several stunts that you have tried to pull in the three letters you have written, you imply that you think we are stupid enough to fall for these very remedial tricks. No. We are very skilled at catching even sophisticated maneuvers, such as those that we have received from Roman Catholic clergy and the like: do not degrade us by thinking we would fall for a stunt that many sixth-graders would probably catch on to.
 

I don't agree with the use of dishonest rhetorical tactics, and I think it is morally wrong for people to do this. I oppose falsehood with all the fortitude that I can muster and I expose the use of falsehood every chance I get.

Nice try! Nice attempt at diverting attention from your dilemma.
 

Nobody can force me to believe that Christianity is a truthful or valid system. Not even your predecessors, who burned my predecessors over a slow fire to give them the maximum opportunity to repent, could get me to state that I believe something that I know to be falsehood.

Your response to the article was to state that no Christians believe that babies go to hell, using as "proof" your claim that nobody you know believe this.

My reply was first to show you that your thinking in this respect is fallacious: I provided for you the name that rhetoricians give for this particular style of fallacious thinking, and to provide for you a brief description of this fallacious thinking. (The name of this tactic happens to be "Statistics of Small Numbers": that's what they call this style of argument.)

Further, I showed you that the notion that babies do go to hell has been the majority viewpoint throughout the history of Christendom.

Your response to the first part of my reply, about naming the style of thinking, was to demand: "WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR STATISTICS? WHAT SURVEY DID YOU PERFORM AND WHEN?"

Your response to the second part of my reply, about how most Christians who have ever lived have believed that babies go to hell, was to insist that "ROMAN CATHOLICS ARE NOT CONSIDERED CHRISTIANS."

If you cannot see what you have done, here, I have nothing more to say. I don't hang with people who show this degree of dishonesty, and I don't enjoy confronting it on this forum. I am a man of truthfulness, and I don't like liars.
 

If your information was actual information, I would have no problem, but what you represent to be information is actually falsehood and bigotry. This is no way to act toward one's fellow-humans.
 

You have done more than just disagree with me, you have lied both to me and about me! The indignity in this is that you degrade me by acting as if I would fall for your little hoax. In doing this, you imply that I'm stupid.
 

But what I originally said (some Christians think babies will go to hell) is a truthful statement. Your response to it (Christians do not believe babies will go to hell) is falsehood. I have shown you this by documenting that Christians have believed this since shortly after the beginning of Christianity. Your response to that was to define Christian to include only those who do not believe babies will go to hell, and to eliminate Roman Catholics from the definition of Christians (a position from which you later backpedaled), and to use several low-class rhetorical ruses in order to try to divert attention from the fact that you don't have a case.

It would have been much easier for you simply to admit that you were wrong about whether Christians believe that babies go to hell. But doing this would involve humility, which the Christian religion does not emphasize as a moral concept worthy of Christians.
 

You have here defined a "Christian" as one who does not believe that unbaptized adults will go to hell, but one who believes that anyone of "accountable age" (an unbiblical concept that emerged only within the past few hundred years) who is not "born again" (quirky language unique to an obscure passage in the Gospel of John, and found nowhere else among the 66 books of the Protestant Bible) will go to hell. Never mind all the passages about being baptized, and never mind the absence of any mention of even the concept of an "accountable age."

So, then, if you are telling the truth, those who say you must be baptized (John the Baptist; Jesus; Paul; Peter; all who claimed to be Christians since then until only very recently) are, according to you, not Christians.

I don't believe you.

I think you are a bigot.

I denounce almost all religious dogma and usually leave the people alone. I reserve my denunciation of people for the most dangerous among theists, and you are one of those dangerous types: you lie for the purpose of convincing others of the alleged truthfulness of your dogma, and you condemn with a broad brush anybody who does not think like you think.

Please go away!
 

You have! You just got through defining Christians as not those who think you must be baptized, and it is a primary tenet of the Roman Catholic faith that you must be baptized. Thus, you have condemned the Roman Catholics (all of them) by stating that they are not Christians in that you have defined Christian to mean something completely different from what Roman Catholics (all of them) think describes a Christian.
 

I understand clearly what you are saying. You are lying! It has nothing to do with any lack on my part, but everything to do with a lack of candor on your part.

This is a classic after-the-fact cultic tactic: You weren't a real [whatever] and that's why the [whatchamacallit] religion did not work for you. If you had been a real [fillintheblank], then you would have seen the results that are characteristic of all members of the [namethattune] religion. I even got this from Twelve Steppers who insisted that if someone got and stayed clean and sober without the Program, then they weren't really addicted in the first place because the Program is the only way for any truly addicted person to stay clean and sober.

Worse, you act as if you possess some secret and unseen truth that is incomprehensible to (and deliberately hidden from) all outsiders -- particularly scholars, intellectuals, and thinkers. It is this bastardization of the human quest for truth that I despise the most about Christianity.

Science says that anybody and everybody is, based solely upon their humanity, qualified to challenge any claim to truth. Nobody is special. Any claim to truth, even a major branch of science, is subject to being overthrown by somebody as lowly as a patent clerk (Albert Einstein) or a college student (Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell). All anyone need do is make a convincing case and science will follow the truth wherever it may lead. This is what I respect about science: any claim to truth is willingly subjected to the scrutiny of our peers, and no body of knowledge is sacred or above reproach. We are all fallible, and science is designed to address this very fallibility.
 

You bluff again!

Not only that, you (again) misrepresent what I said -- and then (again) demand that I prove your misrepresentation of what I said rather than what I actually said! I said, "Uneducated people (the most likely to be superstitious) are very likely to go to prison." There is a big difference between observing that uneducated people are the most likely to be superstitious and saying that religious people are uneducated.

You are a liar!

I showed you the proof and here is some more: University of Cincinnati professor George Bishop conducted an extensive cross-national study of attitudes, and presented his findings at the May, 1999, conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. In it, he found those most likely to believe the biblical account of creation to be "women, older Americans, the less well-educated Southerners, African Americans and fundamentalist Protestants," whereas those most likely to accept a scientific evolutionary explanation were white Americans, male, college graduates, Jews, political liberals and political independents, and young adults under 30. The presentation of this study was reported in the Cincinnati Post in August, 1999, and this article is available to all -- as is Professor Bishop's study. Therein rest your statistics, what you simplistically equate with "proof." Read it and weep. Here is our write-up on the matter, "Nearly Half of Americans Accept Biblical Creationist Accounts over Evolution" by Conrad Goeringer.

I don't want to hear any more of this nonsense. If you can bring yourself to apologize for your use of dishonest rhetorical techniques throughout your communications with us, I will be willing to continue this conversation -- on condition that you agree to make only truthful statements to us henceforth. If you are unwilling to be truthful with us, I do not want to hear from you again.

Have a nice life: as far as we can tell, it's the only one we get.

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:
Subject: Re: FORUM_What_Is_Sin_9835
Date: Wednesday, October 04, 2000 1:48 AM

I asked you to stop lying or I would terminate my involvement in this dialogue. I don't mind Christians, but I will not stand for Christians who lie for the purpose of furthering the Christian message. It is almost impossible to deal with a dishonest person without sounding rude, and I don't like people to misunderstand me and think that I am being rude, so I would prefer never hearing from you again.

I will go through one lie, show you that it is a lie, and then terminate this dialogue. I will not read the rest of your letter, but will format it and post it so that our readers may (perhaps) learn something from this exchange. I don't know what there is to learn from this very strange conversation, because we try to test the valid arguments. Your arguments are not valid, but are a barrage of deceptive ruses, and there is nothing we can learn from such practices except the fact that certain people employ them in order to try to convince others that they are telling the truth.
 

This is a bold charge, but you fail to tell me which statements I have made about you that are falsehoods, or describe to me what it is about those statements that you think are false. Meanwhile, I have gone to great lengths to back up my claims that you have lied to me, in one case going over it three different times. You still don't get it, but have the audacity to state that I have "stated many falsehoods" about you -- without telling me what even one of those falsehoods are!
 

This sounds like a bold charge, but I don't understand what you are saying. You make this statement but fail to explain to me what you mean by "twist your articles to read the way you want them to." You don't even give examples of me doing this, but simply make the claim. This sounds like another bluff.

I have been more than fair to you in that I have at least documented for you what you said, and explained to you why I think you were lying to me. Now, what you do to me is make bold charges, but that's all you do: make charges. You have not shown the fortitude of providing examples, but have merely made bold charges.
 

This is a low blow. You first mention that I don't even know you (though I detailed what you said and showed how what you said is untruthful), and now you turn around and speculate about what is going on within the privacy of my own mind.
 

You are here twisting what I have said. You retranslated what I said into language that doesn't accurately reflect what I said, and now are using your translation of what I said to paint me as unreasonable. Why? What purpose does it serve to take what I said, rearrange the words to mean something that I didn't say, and then accuse me of saying something I didn't say?

Isn't it easier simply to tell the truth? Wouldn't Jesus have wanted his people to be truthful? What would he think if he could see you falsely accusing me of doing something that I did not do?

First, I did not use the word must but merely suggested one of several possibilities appears to be the case. I did not say that you "must be lazy, stupid, ignorant, etc." I did not say this at all. You can go back and read what I said and see for yourself. I will say this much: This was the biggest blunder anyone has ever made on our forum!

I had pointed out that you were using a dishonest rhetorical technique (I even named the technique and pointed to an article describing that technique). You insisted that I come up with statistics to prove my statement that what you had done was use a false argument. I said that your desperation was showing because statistics have nothing to do with analyzing rhetorical techniques. You said, "I'm not grasping at straws just reaching for valid information." No, you were not "reaching for valid information" by any stretch of the imagination.

One possibility I suggested was the possibility that you didn't understand what I said (parenthetical suggestion that this may mean you're either ignorant or stupid, because what I said was expressed as clearly as anybody can express that concept). But this was just one possibility I suggested: I did not say that you "must" be this way, as you have here accused me of doing.

The second choice of possibilities I suggested (no "must" language, here, just a possible choice) was that you didn't bother reading what I said, but responded to it without reading it. To do this is patently dishonest, and if this is what you did when you responded to my statement the way you did (by giving a response that has absolutely no connection to my statement), then you are being, at minimum, lazy, and most certainly dishonest (if what you did was respond without reading what I said).

The third possibility I suggested was that you might be bluffing (you have bluffed elsewhere, insisting that I prove this or that, suggesting that I was being untruthful with you when I wasn't). If you were bluffing by insisting that I produce statistics to back up a statement which doesn't even involve statistics or survey or anything of that sort, then you are desperate as well as patently dishonest.

So, I have not said that you "must be lazy, stupid, ignorant, etc.," but I certainly have shown that you made a very serious blunder, and when you tried to further justify your action, rather than to apologize for it, I went so far as to suggest that you may have been acting dishonestly, or that you may have been lazy, or that you perhaps haven't the mental capacity to understand that an assessment of someone's rhetorical style involves no statistics, and that to demand statistics to back up a description of someone's style of argument is unreasonable by any standard.

So, I have shown that you lied to me again. Thus, I don't want to hear from you again, because I do not like dealing with dishonest people.

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

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Graphic Rule

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