Atheists: 'Always Rude,
Patronizing And
Frequantly Political Extremists'
Patricia Robertson

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Karen Dearne"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Thursday, July 06, 2000 2:20 PM

Is this the reason that all unbelievers "don't believe in God"?

No. I am at least one exception to your claim, thus invalidating your claim altogether.

I lack a god-belief (see the difference?) because nobody has made a claim for the existence of a god that holds water with me.

You're welcome to give it a try, though; lay it on me!

Most people who claim the existence of a god, when pressed for proof or further details, bring forth with nonsensical talk such as "you won't let Him into your hearts" and "Nothing is a part of everything and God is everything and nothing." What on earth is that supposed to mean?
 

I sometimes feel the same way (but mostly let people make their own mistakes). Most of us realize that vision is not the only way to detect phenomenon, but a few must visually see it in order to believe it.

In fact, I go further than you, in that I sometimes feel pity for those who cannot sense something even when they can see it with their own eyes.
 

I say that those claiming the existence of a god must make a strong case for their claim before I will go along with it. (See the difference?)
 

What does this mean?
 

I feel similarly aroused when thinking about the love that (I once thought) my high-school sweetheart and I had. I also feel that way when reading a Romantic novel. What's the difference? To me, both feelings are the result of fantasy. The difference is that you portray your fantasy as reality, whereas I admit that my fantasies of my old girlfriend are just make believe and the Romantic novel author markets her books under "fiction."
 

Think what you want.

I say that your subjective sensations are not something that you can share with me, and thus you cannot offer this as proof -- at least not as "proof" that I have any business considering. I cannot enter into your mind and verify that you are even telling me the truth about your subjective sensations. To overthrow the preponderance of what science has discovered, you would need to come up with stronger "proof" than one person's internal, unverifiable subjective sensations.

Besides, many who claim their own subjective sensations as "proof" of the existence of a god also tell us that the subjective sensations of others are not "proof" of a rival god (such as the Christians might claim against the Muslims).
 

I can know the wind is blowing because I can measure it with instruments and independently verify what my feeble senses initially tell me. I can also set up a tape recorder in my bedroom and independently verify my suspicion that the "popping" sounds that I sometimes "hear" as I am falling asleep are only in my imagination.

Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, describes a similar encounter with what he called "God." Unfortunately for his case with me, I have also taken the drug belladonna, which he was on when he encountered his "God" for the first time. I have also taken the drug LSD, which Wilson later took for three years in his quest to further commune with his "God."

Nevertheless, I know that Bill Wilson knew that his mind was being blown and that he felt it. I merely question the conclusions that he derived from his subjective sensations (which, he admits, were drug-induced).
 

As an atheist, I've had some terrible encounters with Christians. Some Christians (such as yourself) are very bigoted, and would judge all atheists according to the behavior of a few. You have said so yourself, here in this letter, that atheists are "always rude" (your words). You are a Christian and you are a bigot of the worst kind. Does this mean that all Christians are bigots? No. Many Christians are not bigoted at all -- despite the fact that numerous passages from the Bible encourage bigotry.

As an atheist, I've had some terrible encounters with Christians. Some Christians lie about America's history and tell the public (and our public servants) that America is a Christian nation. They want all of us to follow their own narrow interpretation of Christianity -- including their fellow-Christians who disagree with them, and even those who reject the Christian claims altogether. Does this mean that all Christians support theocratic political tyrrannies? No.

Here's an experiment: Why don't you pretend that an atheist is treating you just the same way you have treated me here (lying; bigotry; making patently false or indecipherable claims). Then, please tell me how you would respond to this behavior. Could it be that atheists are responding to unfair and immoral behavior the best way they know how? Could it be that such responses tend to be seen as immoral by those whose self-appointed task it is to be hostile and to find fault?

As for being seen as political extremists, here is a test: Imagine that our money said "One Nation Without Gods" or "All Gods Are Make-Believe" on it. Would you just sit there and find this acceptable? If not, would your behavior in trying to change this injustice easily be seen by some as resembling that of "political extremists."

Meanwhile, I don't have to pretend to have morals, because I have a strict moral code for myself, and my actions speak for themselves. I am well loved in my neighborhood and at all the bars I frequent. I am a model tenant and a model citizen. I pay my bills as quickly as I can, and I keep my house in order -- as verified by a building inspector once a year.

My morals are posted again and again, all over this Letters section. I challenge you to find me a hypocrite! I challenge you to show that my actions do not equal my words, and that my behavior does not equal my values, or that I hold others to stricter standards than I hold myself.

I also challenge you to show that any values I do hold are patently wrong. I challenge you to do this with concepts that are understandable to a wide audience, with concepts that hold true in time-space reality. Until you do this, I can safely write you off as a bigot of the rudest variety.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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