July 8, 2004

Yesterday I received an anonymous email from a relative of mine in regards to a sidebar I'd posted the same day. I have no idea who it is exactly but I know that it is one of my extended family members who is now avoiding family functions because of me and my site. I realise that this person probably does not hate me but I'm not sure where else to post this, and it talks about hate, so to me that fits the theme enough.
Please read

The Anonymous Family Member files

His letters will be in blue while mine are in black and white.

Subject: Keep up the good work!

Hey Bob,
I just finished reading the letters from your "anonymous" relative. I think he's a little bit crazy to think that somehow your differing opinion is somehow worse than everyone else's opinion. I too have relatives that totally disagree, but we're still family. Hell, my Mom is an Atheist and my Dad is a Christian. Anyway, also he's totally wrong in his ideas about your site. When I was young and questioning beliefs that were held by almost all the people I knew, I really could've used the support that your site gives.

In actuality, I'm 28 and still "need" your site in my daily life. I'm a firefighter and I only know of two other atheists in our department...fun!..It's great to have the ability (since the Internet) to find like minded people out there, it just let's you know that you aren't so crazy. Thanks Bob!

Tom

 

Subject: differing opinions

Bob,
Not only is "sitting across from loved ones with opposing views" a "normal part of life", but it may be the key to avoiding true Hate for strangers who have opposing views about things which we have strong feelings.

Thanks for your time.

Sean

 


Bob,

I visit your website regularly and have read every single hate mail page that you have posted. Sometimes I make it sort of a game (and exercise) for myself to anticipate how you will reply to each hate mailer before reading your response. After reading your latest one addressed to your anonymous relative, I must commend you for completely blowing me away. There have been shining moments when you've eloquently expressed exactly what the rest of us are thinking, but can't nearly match your wit, much less put into words. It seems that most of us simply aren't equipped with the mental tools necessary to address such an important issue. Or, we too easily get intimidated by the seemingly righteous voices of those who have chosen to follow the established path.

Since I've found your link from atheists.org, my mental arsenal has steadily been growing more powerful to stand up to those who'd rather me sit down and quietly accept their unchallenged and absurd thinking. What a beautiful age we live in.

Thanks for the Jesus Dress Up magnets (I bought my own, then my brother gave me one for my birthday too!) and thanks again for what you do.

Julius Adolphus Howlett

 

Subject: Your anonymous relative

...is very confused. The constant 'Life of Brian' observations. 'Hey, I'm down with poking fun at dogma! But I have a problem with you and your site! Oh dear my head hurts.'

"Understand where I am going with this???" No, we need a roadmap for your blinding flashes of social insight. Why are the stupidest people always the most condescending?

"Go back and watch The Life of Brian. (Comedy and social commentary both!)
Most people are weak and do not want to think for themselves. They want to blame others for their problems, and scapegoat people when they can."

"You really are disturbed!" ... "Some of your relatives stayed away because of YOU!!!"

I'd be prepared to bet heavily that this relative of yours didn't find LOB at all funny when they first saw it. The sort of person who charges in, all guns blazing, to take you to task for someone else's actions (and then back-tracks after being made to look like an unthinking idiot) strikes me not to be a person who would understand or enjoy such comment, but more likely to be one who would inspire it.

As always, thank you for your site Bob! I dunno why, but I most love reading letters from people who know you (the ones from your Pastor were
fantastic).

Peter

“Some of your relatives stayed away because of YOU!!!”

Subject: You really are disturbed!

"So last week I was back in the Midwest watching my nieces, nephews, cousins and their kids setting off fireworks, fishing, swimming and having fun times."

I really do not know what to say. Some of your relatives stayed away because of YOU!!!

Anonymous


Oh really? Who? Are you one?


“You come across as a militant, attack, hate atheist.”

It is none of our business what you believe. It is yours. But when you act this way in hiding, why would your family come around you knowing how you really feel???? Some of your family may be gay. Do they devote a website to making fun of heterosexuals???? Think about it. You are really a tool of those that would corrupt your message. Atheism is as old as religion. They go hand in hand. But when someone references you and your "dress-up" stuff, then uses your message to influence others to act "evil," then you are off track.

Atheism and atheists come in all flavors. You come across as a militant, attack, hate atheist. Can't just ignore the message of God. Can't ignore the bearers. Can't ignore people that make a different choice. You can't even accept that people that believe in God could care less what you beleive. No, you feel compelled to pillory, belittle, and criticise them.

I really question your motivations here. Are you looking for attention??? Are you looking for fame and notoriety??? What is it that you want???

You are a good artist. You communicate well. You obviously have talent. I wonder if you have thought this thing through. Do you want to be associated with the "fringe." Is fame worth it???

To sum it up, I don't care if you believe or not. I do not care about your politics or your "worldview." I do wonder though why you would subject everyone to your "attack" mentality and drive family members away when you are present. It would be no different than if one of your family had a website dedicated to hating everyone that has lived in Colorado. Then this family member comes to Grandma's house and makes nice. But, you have seen their website, and now you do not want to be anywhere close to the person for fear of making a scene.

Get my drift???

I wish you the best of luck. I hope that your journey in life goes well. I think though that you might be making a mistake that may be hard to correct.

PS I used the email ID to get your attention so you would read it.

Anonymous


First off, let me start by saying that I am not a "hate atheist." Sometimes I can be a "bothered atheist." And I have been known to be an "irritated atheist" when I'm at my angriest. But hate? Are there really family members who think that I hate them? I'm questioning beliefs. Sometimes I get frustrated with what I consider ignorance, but it's never hate. In fact, I hope that I'm an example of how attacking ideas is the necessary and valuable alternative to hate. What "acts of evil" do you believe I inspire?

If there are relatives who actually avoided visiting their family members because of me, well then that's just silly. They should know me well enough to know that I do not make scenes at family functions, and if they think that they wouldn't be able to help but make a scene at such a gathering then it's not me who's got the problem. It is no different than shaking hands with someone who believes you're going to hell for being a non Christian. People have been doing that for a long while and have never had any problems being polite for three hours out of every year without starting a brawl. It's called "being an adult." I promise not to bring the topic to the table, but I am also completely open to discuss it at any length with anybody, privately or publicly.

Tell me this, would you honestly be offended if we had a gay relative who made fun of heterosexuals? Is there a heterosexual jab that could reduce you to tears? I feel that you've presented the perfect example here. This example shows how necessary it is to be able to laugh at one's self in matters that you are confident in. By the way, my site is also an ongoing joke on myself as well. Do you see that?

For someone who doesn't care about what I believe and feels that it's none of their business you sure got to my site in a hurry for that update. You read that page about my 4th of July the day I posted it. If someone I was related to was the host of a Coloradoan hate site you would never catch me at that site, ever! I would avoid it at all cost, and at family gatherings I would simply shake that relative's hand fully aware that he hated me for the 13 years I lived in Colorado... and I wouldn't give a shit!

Oh, who am I kidding... I'd love to see such a site, and I'd be star struck by whoever created it. The last thing I'd worry about is if it was personal against me, especially if that relative also had Coloradoan loved ones who he cared for deeply.

Do you think that religion is above criticism and scrutiny? I do not have the option of simply ignoring religion. A majority of my life was spent in it and I am surrounded by it in my daily life with family, friends, government, and my own brain. My motivation behind it all is to tell the truth. I want to live this one life that I've got to the fullest, and the best way I know to do this is through expressing my thoughts and beliefs with my writing and art skills. I also recognize how lucky I am to be able to earn a living while doing this, and the tiny amount of fame I've received is only bonus.

It is important to me that you let me post these letters. I want to make it clear that I do not hate people because of their religious beliefs, and I want other family members who might be reading this to see that I am willing to discuss it with anyone.

It's a shame that I've got family who doesn't give me the benefit of the doubt in this matter. Please try to see the humor in it, don't take yourself too seriously and show me the parts of my site you think reveal hate so that I can explain myself.

Thank you for contacting me about this.
Bob


“I just wouldn't be comfortable knowing that you are sitting there at the table, feeling smug in your self-satisfaction that you feel you are right, and I am wrong.”

Subject: Quit using the disturbed, such negative overtones!

Well, as I see it, the hate part really comes in when I saw the "Unholy Alliance of Catholic School Girls." I get the impression that you might be doing your version of a Monty Python skit. Unfortunately, there are those out there that would latch onto this and emulate your actions.

See, your problem (if I may say so) is that you are smart and sarcastic. That is great. Unfortunately, most people are "average" or lower. In other words, "SPRINGER!!!" Understand where I am going with this??? Watch a "wrestling" match, or NASCAR and you will see what I mean. Example, your hate mail always ends up threatening you. Jesus is gonna do this, or God is gonna do that to you. Really reminds me of Monty Python. "Oh Lord, you who are so big, and so, well, magnificent." etc, etc, etc. Do you see the mentality you are dealing with??? When you take a forceful stand and make it so glaring, people become reactive.

Your email (on the site) shows me that you are either looked up to as a role model, or that you are villified as a "devil." I know that you are just another traveller in life, and some other people may also be able to discern this, but "Joe Sixpack" isn't able to distinguish.

Another example. "Goths", such as the Columbine shooting. There are kids out there that are emotionally and intellectually "weak" that either have emulated, or tried, those horrible actions. These kids get screwed with in school because they are nerds, play D&D or Magic, and kinda become outcasts. Next thing ya know, BOOM, hit list and a gun in the locker. Unfortunately, IMHO, I see your site as appealing to emotionaly immature teens that may not be able to make good choices in life. If they start acting out as your site suggests, and they live in Podunkville, they are going to screw themselves royally. It is great, healthy, and necessary to question authority. Your methods though, may be interpreted as "extreme?"

Seriously though, you have every right, as you know, to do what you are doing. But I wanted you to think about the possible consequences. I really wouldn't confront you or make a scene in public, but I just wouldn't be comfortable knowing that you are sitting there at the table, feeling smug in your self-satisfaction that you feel you are right, and I am wrong. Why isn't possible that we both could be right?? My construct of God allows me to discuss this with you. Some "Christians" would like to crucify you, not discuss!!! Who is correct???? I, and my God, do not allow me to judge you and seek vengence. Others are not so simple to please. I am sure you have seen the beheading videos of Daniel Pearl. If you have'nt, you should. He was Jewish. The terrorists beheaded him so that he couldn't go to heaven!!! By the same token, there are those that worship the Devil and sacrifice in his name.

Feel free to answer these wuestions if you like. And as to checking your website, I do occasionally. At first I was pissed off and thought, "what a jack-off." But that really isn't healthy, nor Christian, even if there is no God. So, are you going to your Mom and Dad's anniversary party??? If you are, maybe we could come to a gentlemans agreement by then to keep our respective opinions to ourselves??? (In public)

I do not mind if you post these letters, but let us remain annonymous to the outside world. Psycho's do read your site. (Of course not your fault, but.... you know the web!)

Anonymous


“I... think that you do not really hate anyone at all.”

Subject: On-going debate??? Or parley???

Oh, and one last thing, I do not think you hate anyone of your family. I also think that you do not really hate anyone at all. I would label you as a pacifist. The "hate" really falls under what is now commonly referred to as a "hate" crime. Acting out against a specific group because of their beliefs. I would call dressing up "girls" as Catholic School Girls, and going into a church to take pictures as very disrespectful to what other people to choose to believe. Ie "hate" As in gay-bashing, minority-bashing, mysoginy, etc.

Anonymous


It sounds like you've come around a bit since "You really are disturbed!!!" and "Family missed their holiday because of you!!!"

I have to admit that I don't understand why you'd be uncomfortable sitting accross from a family member who feels that they are right and you are wrong. Isn't that the situation we find ourselves in regularly? Conservative republican relatives sitting accross from liberal democrat relatives? Christians and Catholics? Feminists and chauvinists? Broncos and Packers? Even racists and politically correct-ists. Sitting accross from loved ones with opposing views is a normal part of life. I'm bothered that your initial reaction to this problem was to blame me.

Emotionally disturbed teens are going to act out whether or not my site exists. I know first hand that many of these "outcasts" have found solace and peace of mind in my writings and art. They finally get to see like minded people in a world that seems utterly brainwashed by the idea of "God." They also get to see that you can believe in something else and still live life (This is something they are not being told by their teachers, parents and neighbors).

I have to admit that I would have never gone into that church if those girls hadn't run in there first, but I must also state that I don't respect religion much. There's just as much disrespect coming from them directed at other beliefs. I feel that as long as it isn't violent or dishonest, protest is acceptable and even commendable.

A kid does not walk away from my site with the urge to shoot up their school. That behavior comes from feeling helpless and worthless. My site is not only lessons in how to defend your beliefs without violence, but it also shows them that they're not alone, and that laughing at it is a better medicine. I'd also like to think that it shows how "normal" people are just as fucked up as everybody else, if not more so.

I am planning on attending my parent's 50th despite those who find it uncomfortable being near to someone who has questioned their religious beliefs.

I will keep these posted letters anonymous. Hell, I still have no idea who you are anyhow. Thank you again for discussing this with me directly.

Bob

 

Anonymous Family Member files part 2
Past Hate Mail