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I spent a while thinking (hate-mail)

Published June 14th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

I spent a while thinking of a good reply to this, without sounding like some sort of inbred hick or perhaps maybe to get your attention. However, I realize that there pretty much is no way for that to happen, if you put this in your hate-mail section, I’ll probably be mocked just as much as the next guy, who put the stupid comment about how you could never buy a pirate ship. I’m OK with that, I just wish people will actually think about what I have to say rather then ignorantly mocking what I believe personally. Whatever may happen, I don’t really mind, except that I cannot bring myself to be silent on this issue.

I am a Christian, whatever you may think about me, or absurd assumptions you may have about what I look like, think like, or speak like, realize this, I think all beliefs should be treated with equality. Atheism, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Agonist, Voodoo, whatever, I don’t care, if you believe that you are correct, then you have every right in the world to believe that with all your heart, and nobody should force you to believe what they believe. Now I also believe in open criticism of any of these religions, meaning your Pastafarian view that openly mocks religion. However, it is also my right to criticize the criticism, meaning though while I believe it is your right to mock, harass, and generally make religious persons miserable, I don’t believe it is morally right.

Atheism is a belief just as much as Christianity. Say whatever you want about facts and how religion is stupid and all those who practice it are all idiots, but it still comes down to the fundamental truth that you must believe this to be more true over the other option. I am again, completely fine with that, and that is why I love America so much, because we CAN believe differently then one another, and still live peacefully (to a degree) together. However, mocking is not the right way to go about arguing your belief.
By the way, here is the definition of mocking:

1. Tease or laugh at in a scornful or contemptuous manner.

2. Make (something) seem laughably unreal or impossible.

To laugh at someone else’s belief that they dedicate their lives to is not funny or humorous, but I believe is rather childish and immature. This is the main reason why I would much rather sit down calmly with an atheist and have a rational discussion about each other’s beliefs, instead of smacking them in the face with a bible, and shouting how they are going to hell for not believing the undeniable truth that is the bible, or worse, calling their belief idiotic and getting my group of friends together and laughing and pointing in his face.

Of course there are people that do this, hence, you, and there will always be people like you. My job is try to convince you to be rational and discuss each others view points.

I could never put myself in your mindset and read this the same way through your eyes. To you, I just look like another idiot who took this seriously and decided to write a concerned letter and waste his time trying to teach you to be respectful, but the truth is, writing this helps me put my thoughts in order anyways.

If you do have one ounce of thought for my beliefs, at least view this letter with respect, and try to think about what I am thinking when I read this:

http://www.globalone.tv/forum/topics/student-punished-for-spaghetti?groupUrl=flyingspaghettimonster

What I am thinking is that the joke has gone to far. Of course this letter asks for intelligent discussion, and that seems to have never existed in your website, so before I go, let my put it in your language.

Fuck you, and lay off religion asshole.

Sincerely,
Austin



1,803 Responses to “I spent a while thinking (hate-mail)”

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  1. n kalanaga says:

    Shano: The reason I say atheism is based on faith is simply that one cannot prove there is no deity. If I said there was a tree in the middle of the street, anyone could look for themselves, and probably prove me wrong. But since the nonexistence of a deity cannot be proven, it has to be taken on faith, just as the existence of one does. That makes it a belief, based on faith, in “something”, although certainly not a belief in a deity. It is a “religion” only in the sense of being based on belief and faith, not on worshiping something. In that sense it’s similar to Buddhism, which also doesn’t believe in a particular deity, and doesn’t require a belief in the existence of one.

    Incidentally, Buddha wasn’t a god, and Buddhists don’t consider him one. He is considered to have been an “Enlightened One”, and a great teacher and philosopher, but was still human.

    • Apprentice Frederic says:

      Sorry. Another hundred lashes. Although I suppose Buddhists believe that Buddha exists…..

    • Atsap Revol says:

      n kalanaga,

      You have a way with words, but unfortunately your words fly in ever-decreasing concentric circles. You even refer to atheism as a “religion,” albeit in quotation marks. While sure to upset some Pastafarians, the dictionary definition of atheism (and I quote) is: “the belief that there is no god.” I dislike the word BELIEF; it’s linked to belief in ghosts, santa claus, and other things for which there is no evidence. That includes a BELIEF in god in any form.

      Science is NOT based on Faith or Belief. Science is based on observations and measurements that can be replicated again and again by independent investigators. That observations and measurements can be replicated requires no faith or belief. If in some case an observation or measurement can’t be replicated, then a reason must be sought and perhaps a new paradigm developed.

      A better definition for atheist, in my opinion, is one who CONCLUDES, based on all evidence and personal experience, that there is no god. The CONCLUSION being subject to change if and when evidence or experience dictates…just as in science.

      Atsap Revol

    • Insightful Ape says:

      That is total bullshit. I will tell you that I have an oil field in the middle of the pacific which I am willing to sell you only for $10,000. You don’t have the equipment and expertise to exclud le this claim immediately. Does it mean that you have to take it seriously?
      I do not have to take a claim that there is someone who is everywhere and nowhere at once, and who reads and records my thoughts. It is not faith. It is a simple matter of plausibility.

    • Omnipotent Zombie says:

      n kalanaga:

      If anything, athiesm has much more in common with philosophy than it does a religion. But, even than that is still only a partially fitting analogy.
      Philosophies such as Buddhism, Shintoism, and Taoism etc. do not promote the worship of a deity/dieties, but focus on the enlightenment of the individual. – enlightenment of the athiest comes from scientific study of biology, psychology, philosophy and the arts.

      However, at this point the similarities end. Many philosophies include a certain amount of mysticism that are central to the philosophy itself. Athiests are often reluctant or outright refuse such beliefs (chi, karma, reincarnation)

    • Midnight Rider says:

      I do understand the word Atheism to be “A” as in ‘without’ and “theism” to mean god or belief in god. So Atheism is ‘Without belief in diety , or god’ as opposed to “Belief that there is no god.” Belief is an active thinking activity. If you have no thinking activity concerning god, then you have atheism. If you believe there is no god, that’s more like anti-theism. Tada! It’s so fun being literal with word definitions. hahaha.

      • Drained and Washed Clean says:

        Thank you… I have been using the a meaning without belief, but the “opposed to the belief that there is no…” is the part that kicks it up a notch and makes it say everything I have been trying to make it say. Rock on :)

      • Atsap Revol says:

        Midnight Rider and DWC,

        I agree with how you parse ATHEISM, but nevertheles the dictionary definition includes the word BELIEF (see my post above). Also, don’t kid yourselves, as you know DWC you expended a lot of “thinking activity” to reach your present freedom from religion. An atheist that hasn’t weighed the evidence before becoming an atheist is as bad as a religius person that accepts the dogma of a church without questioning it. I think the word CONCLUDE is the right word: an atheist is one that has CONCLUDED there is no god after considering the evidence.

        But then why get hung up over semantics? We’re really on the same page of the Pastafarian hymnal.

        RAmen to you both,
        Atsap

        • Drained and Washed Clean says:

          “An atheist that hasn’t weighed the evidence before becoming an atheist is as bad as a religius person that accepts the dogma of a church without questioning it.”

          Couldn’t agree more. Then you get people painting graffiti on churches…

    • Keith S says:

      n kalanaga says:
      June 14, 2011 at 7:01 PM
      “Shano: The reason I say atheism is based on faith is simply that one cannot prove there is no deity. If I said there was a tree in the middle of the street, anyone could look for themselves, and probably prove me wrong. But since the nonexistence of a deity cannot be proven, it has to be taken on faith, just as the existence of one does. That makes it a belief, based on faith, in “something”, although certainly not a belief in a deity. It is a “religion” only in the sense of being based on belief and faith, not on worshiping something. In that sense it’s similar to Buddhism, which also doesn’t believe in a particular deity, and doesn’t require a belief in the existence of one.”

      (I’m a new visitor to the site, so apologies for lateness of response).
      kalanaga, you must believe and have faith in a celestial teapot in orbit round the sun (unless, of course, you can prove there isn’t one?) Can I then refer to you as a teapot-ist? Or perhaps an ateapot-ist? Or an anti-teapot-ist? I could go on for a long time inventing things for which there is no evidence, but which cannot be disproved. I have ‘faith’ that there is no Loch Ness monster, no leprechauns, no unicorns, no Santa Claus, no tooth fairy, no hobbits, orcs or wizards, and (sorry, pastafarians) no fsm. The existence of any of these and anything else the human mind can imagine and create cannot be ‘disproved’, precisely because they don’t exist.

      So of what significance is my ‘belief’ or ‘faith’ in the non-existence of deities to any rational consideration of theism and religions? Theists believe in the existence of something; if something exists, evidence can be advanced to support the belief. (It never is, of course, apart from the self-referential and contradictory ‘inspired word of God’ in the Bible, or Q’ran, etc.). To liken atheism to a religion because atheists ‘believe’ something that cannot be proven (the non-existence of Gods) is crassly dishonest and meaningless. Are you really suggesting that if something cannot be disproved, then disbelieving that something is equivalent to a religious faith? If that were so, then every human being on the planet has an infinity of religious beliefs, since there is an infinity of things that could be claimed to exist but couldn’t be disproven – warrior race of table-napkins–ism, anyone, or subterranean dragons or morlochs or dwarves or…? We all (I hope) have ‘faith’ that these things don’t exist, until such time as someone proves that one of them does. But the onus of supplying evidence for the existence of anything is entirely on those who claim that they are better than the rest of us – in one way or another – because of their un-provable belief. And who insist that their unsupportable hypotheses should be taught in schools with equal weight to observable, measurable, testable, repeatable, predictive theories (in the scientific sense) that make our lives progressively more understandable and easier.

      I have faith that dawn will happen tomorrow. This is based on the evidence of every day of my life, together with an elementary understanding, provided by science, of the astrology of the solar system. I would guess that most, if not all, people on the earth have a similar faith. So what? If theists leap on the word ‘faith’ or ‘belief’ and point a finger and try to insinuate that beliefs of this sort are equivalent to religious or theistic faith, then it merely serves to demonstrate their desperation and fundamental dishonesty. I can’t, and have no need to, disprove the existence of their supernatural beings, their heaven or hell or after-life, their moral superiority. All I ask is that they provide some real evidence for their beliefs. And they never can.

      • TheFewTheProudTheMarinara says:

        Ah, the old “you can’t prove the NON-existence of something” ploy!
        I still don’t call atheism a faith or religion. It’s merely a shrug of the shoulders and total apathy because we know it’s pointless to question something which can’t be proven.
        Atheists don’t spend hours every week sitting in a church/temple/ashram/mosque praising or exploring the non-existence of anyone. Nor do they model their lives after what they were told an invisible being wants.

  2. puppygoogoo says:

    “Say whatever you want about facts and how religion is stupid and all those who practice it are all idiots, but it still comes down to the fundamental truth that you must believe this to be more true over the other option”
    Does he mean that despite the facts if you choose something that has a lesser quantity of evidence its ok and makes sense? Also im pretty sure those labelled idiots were deserving of the title.

    RAmen

    puppygoogoo

  3. Tracy says:

    Austin, I applaud your respectful tone (for most of your discourse) and understand your frustration (in the last part.) If you ever get a chance to take the time to get to know us, you will find that at one time many of us shared your belief system. You seem to want to be a reasonable guy. The fact that you have taken the time to check out this site, and put the time an effort into composing your thoughtful message (note I said thoughtful and not rational) tells me that you value not only respect, but also knowledge. The ideas have started to bounce around in your head and you’re not sure how to process that. Your message is your effort to push out the doubt and stay in your comfort zone. Giving up a dearly held belief system is hard. You know how I know? Because I’ve been there. (Can I get a RAmen from my brothers and sisters who have also been there so Austin can see that he’s not alone?) It’s okay…it takes time. Believe it or not (no pun intended) atheist tend to be a lot more accepting as a whole than most believers I have known. When you get to where we are, you will also be accepting of those who have shared your journey, and you will share our frustration with those who lack the courage to take it despite the overwhelming evidence of reality. Austin, I believe you have taken your first steps on a magnificent journey. Yeah, it’s a little scary at first, but it gets SOOOO much better. It may take you more time, possibly even years, but you’ll get there (here.) Enjoy the journey my friend. It will take you to places Christianity never dreamed of. =)

    • Ubi Dubium says:

      RAmen, sister!

      • Lindamp says:

        RAmen

    • Drained and Washed Clean says:

      Ramen!

    • ronmac05ad says:

      RAmen!
      Praise FSM!

      • Keith says:

        RAmen! with soy sauce

    • stylusmobilus says:

      RAmen, because one has to behave like sheep when required.

    • Metal Head says:

      “Can I get a RAmen from my brothers and sisters who have also been there”

      RAmen. A whole case of it (you want beef, or chicken?)

      It took many years of being faced with reality, before I finally acknowledged that religious beliefs, categorically, were very inconsitent with findings in biology, geology, physics, archaeology, anthropology, history (as per written record, to disambiguate from other items in this list), just to name a few.

      Even the history of religion itself, with its rapid evolution (esp. inheritance of ideas, priciples, and even stories from pre-existing religions) and seemingly culturally-induced mutation, seems very invalidating. “I am the same God today, yesterday, and forever.” Yet, religious factions can’t seem to get an internally consistent story, and keep it as is for very long.

      All the while that I tried to rationalize the irrational, to find some synthesis between an ever growing number of points of conflict between the taught and the observed, I was a much more vindictive, defensive, ethnocentric individual. Year after year of “data mining”, attempting to validate beliefs that I had accepted LONG before ever having any supporting evidence. This process stands in stark contrast the the scientific method, which is tried and proven–much more than I can say for any religion.

      Sorry for the long-winded post, but you touched on something that is very meaningful to me.

      • Tracy says:

        No worries on the long-winded post. It was enjoyable, glad you shared. My gripe is that it took me 10 years to finally decide between god and no god. Now you want me to choose between beef and chicken? How does one apply the scientific method to that one? ;-)

        • Attila the Bun says:

          Easy – you flip a coin! :)

  4. Midnight Rider says:

    “Fuck you, and lay off religion asshole.”

    That’s just what Jesus would say, isn’t it? Thank you, oh fine representative of the Christian Church. You, no doubt are an evangelical Christian with a loving heart devoted to saving the lost ones. Or not. :)

  5. Midnight Rider says:

    “I spent a while thinking of a good reply to this, without sounding like some sort of inbred hick…”

    An inbred hick, instead of saying, “Fuck you and lay off religion asshole” might instead summarize in this way:

    “I dint marry my momma and have eight young-uns jus so sum Gawl-dammed heathen sum-bitch can puts up a web page raisin awl kindsa hell about my Jebus! Why, if you was related to me I’d be teachin you sum dat biblickal troof from Saddam & Gmora, if’n yall knows whats I meen…”

  6. brent says:

    Thank you, Austin, for providing such strong support to this brave boy in North Carolina. You taught us that no matter your personal views, it’s not ok judge others for the the views they hold. Even when — scratch that — ESPECIALLY WHEN — their views are different than yours. You reminded us that it’s tough to have a belief that is different from others. You asked us to think about how you felt as we read the story of the little boy who was just like you. I think we can all relate to that struggle.

    • Drained and Washed Clean says:

      Uhhh… were we reading the same letter?

      • Atsap Revol says:

        Don’t think so!

    • stylusmobilus says:

      Wow, maaan, look at all the pretty colours duuuuude!

  7. Ed Collins says:

    “This is the main reason why I would much rather sit down calmly with an atheist and have a rational discussion about each other’s beliefs”….

    That’s all fine and dandy, but your beliefs are not rational.

    • Rev.Stu says:

      Beliefs are not rational by nature. The Divine is well beyond our understanding. When we expand our horizon we expose a new horizon. We will always be limited. If we were to achieve limitless understanding we would become one with the Divine and cease to exist as individuals.

  8. PASTAAAAAAA! says:

    I think this goes under “concerned criticism”, minus the bottom. I think he has a point though, and he was very calm about it. I think we should respect it as requested, because he was definitely more polite about it then most.

    • Drained and Washed Clean says:

      Respect is earned. You must show respect to get it, and this dude? Not respectful.

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