Reaching For Something
More Than Negatives
Jim Hart

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Jim HArt
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Friday, February 04, 2000 3:11 PM

Thank you for your kind letter.

In our Apocalypso section we feature articles along the lines of "Church collapses on worshiping congregation" in order to ask, "Where was God?" The articles about religious criminals makes the point that religion is not necessarily efficacious toward producing moral people. Along side this, in various articles, we try to make the case that "Where is God" is a valid question, and to point out that everybody -- including all theists -- decide which moral principles they will practice (some deciding to rigorously follow religious precepts, but the rest of us picking and choosing from various sources and learning some things the hard way).

To say that "God is not bound by our ideas about Him" is to presuppose the existence of God. We, as atheists, are not ready to go that far. Any claims for God's existence are just that -- claims. I have yet to hear a claim that holds water, and many don't even make sense; thus, I have no business believing those claims. Until Charles Darwin published "Origin of Species" in 1859, atheism was not intellectually tenable: the Argument from Design was just too strong. Since then, it has become valid to doubt the god-claims unless and until a convincing one comes along.

Our concern is primarily the dignity and welfare of atheists. As a Quaker, I'm sure you have studied the history of the American Colonies' persecution of your predecessors. While Quakers have since gained general acceptance (or, at minimum, tolerance), we atheists actually have it worse off than homosexuals. More Americans think it's moral to discriminate against atheists in the job market than think it's moral to discriminate against homosexuals. In some countries, announcing one's atheism carries the death penalty.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org> To: Jim Hart
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Friday, February 04, 2000 7:19 PM

I try to keep a high level dialogue with those theists who will discuss the matter. Unfortunately, almost all of the theists who think they have something to say to an atheist (that is, those who write to Positive Atheism) do not engage in what I would call dialogue at all. As Ingersoll wrote, "The pew cannot reply to the pulpit." I think he was speaking as much to the pew's inability to question as he was about the pulpit's unwillingness to discuss.

We do have a seminarian on our formal list of advisors, and will shortly open it up for volunteers to be on the official list of advisors. We want both theists and atheists, even though our target audience consists primarily of atheists. Let me know if you wish to be contacted when we open this door; it will mean being asked to review proposed editorials or comment on decisions, and will be an advisory capacity only (no decision making). I just need feedback, and sometimes don't know who to ask.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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