Friday, January 13, 2012

A final note for Gerie

Disagreement is a funny thing. It's hard to disagree with someone, especially in an area as profoundly personal as religion, without seeming to attack them (or, you know, actually attacking them). The more important the issue, and the more the people involved are sure that they're right, the harder it gets. But my disagreement with you, Gerie, boils down to basically two points, and I'm going to try to state them as neutrally as possible:

1. I don't think your approach to Christianity is as firmly grounded in the Bible as you think it is.

2. Your representation of other people, especially people who don't share your views, is profoundly flawed. You state things authoritatively that simply are not true, and the way you characterize other people tends to be wildly caricatured where it isn't (as far as I can tell) made up out of whole cloth.

Also, just to make sure we're completely clear: I have no desire to argue that you ought not to believe in God, Jesus, or the Ultimate Truth of the Bible. Everything I've said about why I don't believe in God myself is just that: why I don't believe it myself. I emphasize it because you seem to have some very misguided impressions of how and why someone might not believe as you do - but I do not intend to argue that you shouldn't believe.

As far as my atheism goes, it's not an accusation. It's not, "God does not exist." Instead, it's a question: "Why should I believe that?" I've never found a satisfactory answer, so I remain an unbeliever; but I understand that other people's experiences are different. And that's really about all there is to it.


  1. Gerie, I think, is the sort of theist who hears "atheist" and instantly thinks "Christopher Hitchens." And because all atheists are Christopher Hitchens, she already knows that every atheist is hostile to theism and therefore she doesn't need to engage atheists, since she already knows what they'll say.

    The part of her argument that frustrates me the most is where she keeps saying or implying that if you don't worship her version of God, you must worship something. No, really, some people honestly have no belief.

    (And also: jeeze, I thought I abused HTML-markup-and-capslock-for-emphasis.)

  2. Now I haven't read much of the bible, but I do recall the part about God giving humans free will, and how it was a special gift that set us apart from the angels. Now free will is the anti-thesis of blindly follow, so it sounds like God wants us to forge our own path. He wants us to think, and figure it out on our own. And yes, He wants us to do with our flawed brains, the ones He gave us. So, being an omniscient fellow, He would probably expect us to make mistakes and be wrong some of the time.

    So instead of judging atheists and believers of different religions (because I remember Him saying something about that being bad as well), they should be applauded for following God's will.

    But I flawed brain, so what do I know?

  3. Michael, you're a kinder, gentler person than I.

    I'm trying to read her... diatribe? Screed? It's not an argument, because she's not engaging in any actual formal logic or structured arguments. Instead, it's almost as if she's running through a checklist of classical rhetorical devices and fallacies. You spotted the Straw Men and circular reasoning, the question-begging and the argument from authority. If her use of formatting is any clue, she seems to believe an Argument from Ignorance is truly compelling. And I suppose it wouldn't be a letter from an under-educated Christian attacking atheists if it didn't include Pascal's Wager.

    The notion of "Statement A, statement B, conclusion C by Modus Ponens" isn't just absent from her writing, the implications of her text suggest it's actually anethma to her way of knowing. ("trapping you in your words" and "picking your words apart") She's not illogical, she's anti-logic!

    And now to get the bad taste of poor writing, ugly formatting, and absent reasoning out of my mouth, some snark:

    The mouth that God created to praise Him you use to spew out obscenities and some of them are even directed at Him!
    That would seem to be a design problem; I suggest you direct your complaint to the manufacturer...

    We're repeating the words of Jesus, in Truth.
    Not in twisted form. Not out of context, like phony Christians do.

    ...she says, having quoted Acts 6:9, skipping lines 1-8, 11, 14-53 and 55-56.

    Then, there will be no more chances, even though you'll say that you're ready now and beg and scream and plead with the One you ascribed evil to.
    Oh! I learned a new crass term just the other day: "ladyboner". As in, "When Gerie imagined all the people who mocked her begging and screaming and pleading with God, she got a ladyboner." Isn't learning new things fun?

    We had a house fire a couple years ago and our house burned down. Months after that, a huge tree fell and completely covered the spot where our house used to stand. If we had still lived there and been home, we would all be dead... If I die today, I'll go to Heaven to be with Jesus, who I love and can't wait to be with.
    "I wish I had never left the house! If only I had been home a few years ago, I could be with Jesus now!"

    Gertie worries about my soul. I worry about her mind.


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