Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Letter to a Unitarian Minister: Where I Stand

Some weeks ago I wrote a letter to the editor of a local “Shopper's News” circular. It was in response to a rambling Christian fanatic’s assertion that the US is a “Christian Nation”. I provided facts and historical documentation that refuted the theist's idiocy. Surprisingly, they printed it in their next issue.
[ see "Christian Nation" http://atheistcamel.blogspot.com/2008_02_01_archive.html ]

Today I received a letter from a total stranger, a Unitarian Minister thanking me for what I wrote, and endorsing my position. The following is my letter in reply to the Reverend. I offer it here not only as an insight as to what drives my activism, but also as a possible template for others who might want to use some of my perspectives in their own public writings.

Dear Reverend W------;, March 26, 2008

Thank you for your kind words in support of my letter to the Monadnock Shopper News. Frankly, I had anticipated a firestorm of responses from Christians, all based on emotional appeal, and denial or lack of knowledge of our country’s history. That I did not is probably attributable to NH’s demographics. Had I published it in the “Little Rock, Ark. Shopper News” I’d likely have to dictate this letter through wired jaws.

I was a Psychology major / Religion minor in college, and an atheist in a foxhole in Vietnam (‘68- ’69). In 2004 I retired early, after thirty two years, from a senior position with a major national retail company, my wife and I moving from New York to our home here in New Hampshire. I’m an atheist whose philosophy is perhaps bested summarized as Secular Humanist.

Having been on the receiving end of Christian intolerance in the army; after witnessing the transformation of my Republican Party into the “Party of Jesus”; seeing the efforts of medieval fundamentalists to insert Creationist / Intelligent Design hocus pocus into public school curriculum; and watching the Christian war on science right into the 20th/21st centuries, et al., I have gradually become something of an activist anti-theist.

The last straw, or perhaps the ultimate awakening, was the realization that there are misguided utopian millennialists who’s perspective of the world, and how it “should be”, is founded in self-righteous, archaic, and dangerous Christian dogma. For the past seven years this mindset has resulted in alienating us from the rest of the world. It positioned the US as a country to be feared and hated, not respected. It has embroiled us in a senseless conflict that has wasted American lives, eroded the potential for stability in the Middle East, all the while diverting attention and resources from this nation’s real priorities … improving the lives of our citizens and those of the generations to follow.

Thus, while I recognize the importance of fighting the threat of theist extremists who wish to harm us from without, I am also very aware of our home grown theist extremists whose religious zeal threatens our liberties and freedoms from within. Therefore when I read or hear of attempts to distort and undermine the gifts with which our Founding Fathers endowed us, either through ignorance, attempts at revisionist history, or outright religious fanaticism, I cannot, I will not remain silent.

I am a contributing member of a number of national organizations which have been formed to protect our rights and maintain Jefferson’s “wall of separation” between church and state. I have enclosed a list of them that I would urge you, your freedom loving friends, and congregation to consider supporting, irrespective of their philosophies, personal “beliefs” or lack thereof.

Again, my thanks for your nice letter.

Yours truly,


Joyce said...

I'm not sure which impresses me most ... your letter to the Monadnock Shopper News, your letter to the reverend, or the fact that you actually READ the Monadnock Shopper News!

Oh. Wait. Scratch that last one. I think I'm more horrified (or is it amused?) at that one. ;)

DromedaryHump said...

Well, thanks.
Believe me..it was a total fluke that I was leafing thru it during lunch, that fateful day.

Needless to say, however, I now read the Letters to the Editor page "religiously".

Anonymous said...

and of course, atheists never lie...

DromedaryHump said...

Well, "Anon", I assume you mean to post this to the "why Christians lie" topic. No prolem, easy mistake to make.

Sure, everyone lies at some time. Some more than others. But the difference is that Christianity (indeed most religions) as a belief system depends on ORCHESTRATED distortion and lies inorder to ensure its continuity, and to spread its doctrine.

Loyola knew it, Luthor knew it, that you don't is simply because you prefer the deception to reality.

Science doesn't lie, for falsification is exposed by controlled scientific method which necessitates "repeatability". Humanism doesnt require distortion for it bases its "philosophy" on the observable world and human behavior.

Tell us Anon... how many people do you know who claimed to have been miraculously cured of AIDs by prayer and Jesus? I personally have known two. The AMA, and Center for Diseases, knows of none. Go figure. :)

DromedaryHump said...

Oh..one more thought on that subject "Anon".

If, for example, prayer isn't a lie, and if jesus didn't lie when he [alegedly]said all prayers of the faithful will be answered, please explain to us how many amputees have had their prayers answered for regeneration of limbs.

Please explain why prayer for world peace have not produced world peace.

Please explain why controlled studies proved prayer had no positive correlation on hospitalized patients healing/survival rate vs non-prayed for patients.

Please explain....... oh, well, Nevermind. You'll just go to an apologetics site to rely on the usual mumbo jumbo of credulous faith zombies like the sheep have been doing for 1000 years.


bob said...

lying is saying something that you know not to be true, otherwise you are being mistaken. Someone who says they have been healed by God and sincerely believe this are not lying.

Jesus did not say that all prayers will be answered but only those in accordance with the will of God. Otherwise if I prayed for something sinful or unwise god would have to give it to me. What if I prayed that my prayer would not be answered? Hence Jesus put in the caveat of 'in my name' Asking God for something is a bit like asking you for something in that you might fufil my request or you might not. I ask and is up to you how you respond to what I ask of you. Sometimes your response would be 'do it yourself you lazy ....' or 'I happen to know that this wouldn't be a good idea' Similar God might answer 'be patent and you can have new limbs in heaven' After all, I've met some who are happy despite having a disability.