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Austin Cline

Mailbag: Wake Up!

By November 25, 2012

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From: "Mark"
Subject: Denial and Pride
While I still consider you an intelligent man, you have proven yourself to be terribly closed-minded and judgmental, ignoring what is presented to you and attempting to sidetrack real issues... For your having lived as an enemy of God, he will forgive you if you will obey him, repenting, being baptized, and living by faith rather than by sight. Please do so. Living in denial and pride is not a happy existence for most, and I am certain that an eternity without God will be most miserable for those who suffer it.

As is so often the case, I am apparently "closed minded" simply because I don't agree with Mark. I don't agree with his ideas about Christianity, about God, or about Jesus. And since I have the temerity to voice my disagreement and explain where I think orthodox Christianity goes wrong, I'm not really "open minded." Of course, being "open minded" means being willing to admit the possibility of error, being open to changing one's mind, and being open to contrary arguments. That's something I've demonstrated time and time again - but how often do I receive emails from someone like Mark who acknowledges that they may be wrong? I can't remember the last one.

What a wonderful God this Mark has - the only way I can be "forgiven" is if I submit in obedience (so much for the standard claim that God doesn't want robots), repent (of what, using my reasoning skills and intelligence?), and live by faith (instead of reason - but faith in what? Whatever preachers like Mark inform me to have faith in?). What kind of a sick deity makes demands like that?

Should you decide that you are interested in the truth, please feel free to contact me and I will gladly help you learn. ... I remind you that everyone, including me, has sinned and fallen short of God's glory, so I do not come pretending to be better than you. The difference is that I have accepted the truth and you have not. I submit to you that I have exemplified concern for you while it is you who has been arrogant, pretending that your faulty human logic could stand against the truth of God.

Mark here doesn' think that it is "arrogant" to pretend to know what I think, what I believe, and what I know - even though he has never met me and doesn't know me at all. Well, all I can say is that with an attitude like that, Mark doesn't have the first idea what "concern for others" really is, much less what arrogance itself is.

I always love to see it when someone disparages "faulty human logic" when their own writings depend, at least in part, on just that logic. They wouldn't even be able to construct a coherent sentence if they didn't rely on logic. So why disparage it? Because it's the only way for them to make room for their faith. They know that neither logic nor reason are adequate foundations for what they say; the only means for arguing for their beliefs must lie elsewhere - and thus "faith" is born. But in order to justify faith, logic and reasoning must be pushed aside. But not too far - after all, they want to make logical arguments, too. They'll only fall back on faith again once the emptiness of those arguments is revealed.

I will not present to you anything "new" if you have already heard all there is to hear. I will present the truth that God is real and is the Creator of all. Maybe if you hear that message enough, then you will eventually set your pride aside and admit that it is true. If not, then all I have lost is my effort, and I am willing to gamble my effort on you.

Here we have more of Mark's non-arrogance: the only reason that I don't openly agree with him is that I am too proud to admit that I already believe that his god exists. If that isn't arrogance, what is? If that isn't arrogance, then the word doesn't really have any meaning - but in Mark's world, perhaps it doesn't. Perhaps "arrogance" is no different from the standard attitude of "I'm right, everyone else knows that they are wrong, and a part of 'showing concern' for them is to tell them that I know that they know they are wrong and get them to admit it." What a lovely ministry Mark must have.

Wake up.

If waking up means having Mark's "loving" attitude thrust in my face in the morning, I'd assume it must be a nightmare and roll over for some more sleep.

More selections from the Agnosticism / Atheism Mailbag...

November 17, 2006 at 6:54 pm
(1) Blunderov says:

“God is real and is the Creator of all”

I suppose he must mean that nasty piece of work, Jahweh. That one who commands parents to knife their children to death to prove their “faith”. The drunken one who accepts freshly torn and bleeding foreskins as a sop to his murderous whimsy.

Eew. No thanks.

August 27, 2010 at 2:22 am
(2) MikeM says:

“please feel free to contact me and I will gladly help you learn. …”

I’d rather contact the Marquis de Sade.

November 25, 2012 at 11:46 am
(3) Lauren says:

The christian thinks man is the apex of god’s entire creation. Man is made in the very image of god and given dominion over the earth and everything on it. In his teleological “proof” of god’s existence, god made the earth just the right distance from the sun with just the right tilt of the axis, and all the other physical properties are just right to support human existence.

The atheist thinks he is an insignificant member of a transient species on a lucky planet (possibly not the only such planet). His species, like all species, is destined for extinction, as is his sun and its solar system.

And the christian thinks the atheist is arrogant?

November 25, 2012 at 3:12 pm
(4) Karen says:

As Dana Carvey’s wonderful character, The Church Lady, would say:

Waaal, isn’t THAT spashul?

November 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm
(5) James Hafseth says:

I think the telling phrase here is “Maybe if you hear that message enough…”. Surely a tacit acknowledgement that, if all the “best” – or indeed, simply ALL – the arguments fail, battering an atheist over the head with the same ones time and time again will eventually cause him or her to crumble in submission, presumably through sheer exhaustion. Much like children sticking their fingers in their ears and bellowing “la la la la la la la: can’t hear you!”.

December 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm
(6) Tom says:

Wake up !………….We are all going to die…….and we are the lucky ones.
Most people that could be born are not and I find it really ironic that people who have been lucky enough to be here on this wonderful planet choose to live in ignorance and worst still try to control and influence others who realise just how lucky they are to be here at all.

December 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm
(7) Gerald Vanderhoff says:

Mark, I am open-minded: Just not so open-minded that my brain would fall out. That’s the problem.

December 17, 2012 at 10:53 pm
(8) Deucalion says:

Wake up? But, I’m not the one living in a fantasy world, you are Mark my lad, and it’s high time you got off the sleeping pills.

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