If You Were
To Die Tonight
Where Would You Go?

Graphic Rule

Cliff responds:

This is a very large page with lots of unique and differing material on it. I would like to know which pieces you read and what, exactly, you found objectionable about it. Please be specific.

Also, I cannot respond for any other writers; I can only speak for myself.

First, I don't think I'll "go" anywhere when I die. My brain will stop functioning, and there will be nothing for "me" to "be" any more. I'll be dead -- in the regular, non-metaphysical (unspiritual) sense of the word "dead." I do not, for one moment, suppose there is a Heaven or a Hell as the New Testament describes. And why would I pretend to believe what I do not believe in order to go to a "Heaven" or in order to avoid a "Hell"? Tell me why someone would honor or worship any god who would put his creatures in a "Hell" as described in the New Testament? (The concept of "Hell" is absent from the Old Testament.)

Secondly, if my opinion is wrong, I would say, "Oops!" I might go so far as to try to make the case that I was not working on very good information, as "God," according to Christians, is admittedly "hidden."

This is very unlikely, though; it is as unlikely as my dying of alcohol poisoning, seeing as how I do not drink alcohol. The reason I can rest assured that I am right on the issue of the Christian "heaven" and "Hell" is because we only hear about it from the Christian bible. We cannot test the Christian bible's claims about "Heaven" and "Hell" but we can examine and dispute its claims about other things, like the shape of the earth, the composition of the sky, the socio-political conditions of the people of Judaea during the first century, geographical locations, the time figs ripen in Jerusalem, etc. The Christian New Testament makes many, many claims which can be examined, disputed, discredited -- and disposed of. This being the case, why should I take it on its word over untestable claims like those about "Heaven" and "Hell"? 

Also, the ethics and morality of the Old and New Testaments are so barbaric as to literally turn my stomach at times. My mother did much better than the "Jesus" described in the New Testament -- and so can I. If it turns out that I am wrong about the Christian "Hell," then I can rest assured that I did the right thing by not worshiping the despicable god who prepared such a place for his creatures. Such a god is unworthy of worship, but I can rest assured that such a god does not exist simply by watching the fruits of the religions that teach the existence of a "Hell." Those religions (Christianity and Islam) have each done more damage to civilization than all other human-made systems put together. 

But you presuppose that Christianity -- er, faith in the New Testament "Jesus," is the only alternative to atheism. Wrong! Atheism considers all gods to be man-made and teaches that humans can live their own lives without supernatural help or guidance. I assume that you think all the other alleged gods are false gods: the Allah of the Koran; the gods of Hinduism; Thor of the Nordics; Zeus of the Greeks; Quetzalquoatl of the Mexican Indians. I agree with you except for one point: I place three more gods on the false-god roster than you do; namely, "God the Father," "God the Son," and "God the Holy Spirit."

Thirdly, as for the Book of John, I have read it, beginning to end, over 200 times. Is that good enough for you? I even tried to believe it. How's that? The Book of John is pure bullshit and could not have possibly been written by a Jew of the time Jesus is alleged to have lived. It is most certainly a forgery, attributed (in the text itself) to someone who did not write the book.

Besides, if I have not "the eyes to see" (not being "saved") then how would you expect me to understand what I read?

Did you come to this "realization" on your own? or did someone teach that to you?

Foisting this belief system on troubled, unstable, or otherwise vulnerable people is very sadistic -- not a sadistic god (there is no such thing) but sadistic men who teach this miserable, destructive philosophy and then call each other good for so doing.

So tell me: How can a god be both just and merciful? If an offender deserves a specific degree of punishment, a god would be just if he meted out that specific punishment. He would be merciful if he meted out less than that specific punishment.

And how can a just god punish one man for the sins of another? Is this justice?

If a god were merciful, could he not simply forgive the sins of the offender? Why bother with all this redemption business?

I spend much of my spare time teaching addicted people how to quit drug and alcohol addictions and I show them how to do this by confronting the ideas of "powerlessness" and "unmanageability" taught by the Christian-based Twelve Step recovery group movement. Paul had his head up his ass when he wrote Romans Chapter 7. Bill Wilson was equally in error when he wrote the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

What is an "average" person? And what are they doing "on the street"? Are we not individuals with our own thoughts and passions?

If you had spoken to the majority of Americans, Evangelical Christians, you would have heard that their hope rests in the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

However, I don't believe your poll. I don't think you even took a poll. I'd like to see the study results. The above statement sounds way too cliché and contrived to be realistic.

Jesus, if he existed and if he was crucified, died a death reserved for rebels who tried to go against the Roman occupation of Judaea -- a situation about which the New Testament is strangely silent. But this fits perfectly with the Jewish notion of the Messiah -- not a "God-Man," but a fully human political figure, a king, who hoped to overthrow the Roman occupation, free his people, and lead them in an autonomous government. As it happened, so many crosses were made during the rage of Titus that the area was completely denuded of trees. These for the faithful Pharisees who loved their country and their culture and their religion -- Judaism. The historical Jesus, if he existed, was probably one of those valiant Pharisees, and probably died for thinking he could free his nation from this tyrrany. The denunciation of the Pharisees by the Gospel "Jesus" is certainly wrong because he criticizes them for things they did not even do; the Pharisees had no problem whatsoever with Sabbath healing contrary to what is portrayed of them in the Gospel tale. 

Why is the New Testament silent on the most obvious and ominous condition of the people of Palestine during the first century? You would think that such a situation would warrant some mention in passing, if not major commentary. And why are the Gospels so viciously anti-Jewish and so flagrantly pro-Roman? Every Roman mentioned in all four Gospels is virtuous and, ultimately, commended for his faith. And almost every Jew is pictured as faithless and wicked. Was the New Testament intended as anti-Jewish political propaganda during the rage of the Roman armies? Was it written by Romans and Roman sympathizers? By the time these accounts were written and circulated, were there any of the brave Jerusalem Jews left (after the Romans' slaughter) to dispute the Gospel stories? or were most of them killed and scattered in 70 C.E. and 132 C.E.?

I agree. Stop wasting your time and live your own life. Stop supporting the madness that the Christian religion advocates in its teachings. There are important things to be done and life can be fun at times. You cannot save yourself because you don't need saving. You are human and that is good enough. (At least, that is good enough for me!)

I'm sure this was not your only option. Think about it for a minute.


You don't need to make any such claims; your character shows by your words and your ideas without the benefit of a claim. 

By the way, your ideas are not original. I have read nothing in your letter that I have not already seen on Cable TV -- and I don't even have a TV!

And you still give credence to the gods of the New Testament? after what the Christian Church has done to our cultre and our people during the past 2000 years? Come, now! Even you can know a tree by its fruits, and just a cursory study -- a mere scan -- of European history shows that the tree of Christianity, the tree of of faith in "Jesus," is rotten to the core. 

I know that "Jesus" doesn't love me: he is dead (if he existed at all). But I care about you, because I was caught up in the same game once myself. I hate to see people caught in that trap and I hate what biblical Christianity does to people's minds and personalities. Biblical Christianity can be very deadly -- not only for the believer, but for the believer's victims as well.

No. That usually happens before somebody does such a thing.

First, these three are not the only choices; I don't think a first-century Jew named Jesus ever claimed to be a deity. 

Secondly, has your "research" gone beyond the shallowness of a Josh McDowell book? Have you taken on Wells or Burton or Mack? I think not! Some friends of mine own a Christian bookstore in another state, and they refuse to sell McDowell's books because they think his approach is deceitful, and that Jesus is a god of Truth. They tell me that McDowell's teachings detract from what dignity Christianity does have. You can -- and should -- do much better than this!

The one thing I never dispute is a personal religious experience which comes entirely from within and is not contrived by slick preachers or frantic meetings or cryptic scrolls of dubious origin. What I doubt is that an entity named "Jesus Christ" knows about your relationship.

I once thought I had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. However, when I discovered that nobody thinks Peter wrote Second Peter, I began to realize, slowly, that the Bible is not the truth. My faith eventually unraveled. I think if there was a god who answers prayer, he would most certainly answered my final prayers, "Help me in my unbelief."

And Jeffery Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy and Adolph Hitler and John Calvin and Pope Innocent III -- all Christians -- were forgiven, too? Where do you draw the line? Are Albert Schweitzer and Mahatma Gandhi and Thomas Paine and Thomas Edison and Abraham Lincoln -- all non-Christians -- roasting in "Hell" right now? just because they disagree with you on unverifyable theological points? just because they belonged to the wrong religion?

I'll do better than that, I posted your letter for the benefit and education of my readers, and even graced it with a running commentary courtest of moi.

A dare, indeed! How dare you suppose I would fall for such a childish game! I am a human and will respond with the dignity of a human.

I don't "believe" anything. I make observations, suspend judgement, draw conclusions, etc. Of course, I don't suppose they emphasize, or even honor, such critical thinking skills at bible school. 

At one point, I wanted to be a preacher. I'm glad I never went to seminary, as I am too honest to teach what I know is untrue. I would be a miserable man indeed had I invested my life in that training.

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.