Hate Mail "Nothing is certain except what you feel."
The Sonia files

PART 2

Her letters are in yellow, whilst mine are in black & white.

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keith&gf

Subject: Hello Bob

I just read Chrissy's paper on you and I must say it was very well written and insperational. I knew you did great work, I've been a returning fan of your site since 2002, before you even hit 100 pages of hatemail.

I'm writing to you, not to tell you how great of a writer, artist, or talker you are, but I would like some advice.

I was living in Colorado for as long as I could remember, and I just recently moved to Texas to be closer to my girlfriend. We go through a lot of issues, as most relationships do, but we always work though them. However, she believes in God and an afterlife, and I am an avide atheist. Sometimes I wish I could trick myself into the happy ending that Christians get, however my damn logical thinking won't allow it! Everytime me and her talk about anything to do with it, it gets heated and occassionally she will even end up crying thinking of me in hell for eternity. I try to comfort her, but it is very difficult. I usually don't know what to say that might help.

You have talked to a lot of believers in your years. I was wondering if you had any tips on how I might be able to explain things better to her. It's frustrating trying to get a point across all while trying to tiptoe around subjects so as not to get her upset to the point of tears.

This may be asking too much of you, but it is difficult to find like-minded people down here in Texas. People were a bit more open minded and accepting in Colorado.

Thank you for the years of entertainment and hopefully some advice,
Keith T.

me
Boy, am I the wrong guy to email about these things, because I know for the life of me if I were to get into a relationship with a believer it would not be a healthy one. I would not be able to ever just let the subject go. If my Christian girlfriend were driven to tears imagining me in hell, I would hold her close, comforting her saying "I know. I'm so sorry. It stinks that you worship an evil God who hates our love."

And when she'd tell me to just believe anyhow so that we'd both be in heaven together, I'd respond by telling her I'd try, for her, and then I'd start listing off all of the various new things I'd be making myself believe were true, then I'd start complaining about the headaches it gave me to believe angels mated with people and that's where bible-time giants came from. Then I'd ask her if I now believed Katrina was because of the fags. Christ, I'd be an awful boyfriend to a nice Christian girl.

But I'll say this much, I'd love the sex. Having sex with Christian girls has been one of the strongest reasons I can think of to try to figure out some way to make this thing work out. That's where we're both in complete agreement and everything else seems totally trivial. My suggestion is to stick to your guns (not like you have any choice in that matter) and just gradually, here and there, make harsh, jabbing, little comments about her heartless beliefs and cruel God.

Yeech! I did it again. Okay, the real advice is coming now.

All right. What you really should be doing is just keep quiet about your atheism. Don't talk about it. And when you're in mixed company and she starts talking about how much she loves her God and He loves her you just pat her on the head, roll your eyes and tell everyone you're confident her belief is enough and you're pretty sure the both of you are securely covered under her plan for salvation. Then smile at her as if you have no respect for her at all but you think she's cute anyhow.

Christ. No wonder they always start crying and leave me! But there's gotta be an answer to this! If only for the sex! Think think think.

I got it! Here's what you do. Convert. It doesn't have to be overnight, but over the course of a week or two just start turning into a total misty-eyed, bible-breathing believer. Believe it all until she's 100% convinced that you're going to heaven too. Okay? All right, then what you do is now that you're on the same plain, the same playing field, start asking the questions and bringing up the contradictions that convert people to atheism, and then try and pull her backwards with you, first to agnosticism, and then to total godlessness. Like a drowning man climbing aboard the rescue boat, wrapping both his arms around the rescuer and then falling backwards into the bottomless deep, without letting go no matter how much she screams.

Yes. That's it. Problem solved. I didn't think there was an answer, but turns out there is!
Tell me how that all goes.
Bob

“Nothing is certain except what you feel...”

Bob,
I'm really sorry if it seems like I'm trying to sell you my beliefs, or force you into them, I'm not. I was simply asking if you could not so obviously ridicule any one elses' beliefs on your website.

Nothing is certain except what you feel and I know that I am happy and that I'm a better person because of my relationship with my God - figment of my imagination or not. But just because I think I'm right and others aren't, doesn't make me go plastering other people's lives, beliefs and feelings on websites in offensive ways.
Please be a little more understanding and tactful with your jokes.
Thanks,
Sonia
UK

I guess I wouldn't ridicule them if I didn't see so many aspects of your beliefs that hurt others. It's like me asking you not to ridicule people who blow up double-decker buses filled with people for their beliefs. We really need to be more responsible as a society and if we see grown adults out there with screwy beliefs that harm others, they need to be ridiculed for it. Because, Sonia, there are many other people like you out there who think that the only certainty is their feelings, and as we all know, making decisions to suit our feelings is not always the right thing to do.

Our feelings are very selfish, Sonia, and if you're worshipping a figment of your imagination to suit them then that means the rest of us are subject to the whim of your feelings and the words of the god you're imagining.
Bob

“I really don't see how anyone can interpret these as harmful...”

God's greatest commands:

Love God
Love everyone around, putting them before yourself
Love yourself as long as you aren't harming others in the process.

I really don't see how anyone can interpret these as harmful...

Sonia
UK

It's the "putting God before everyone else" that worries me. People misinterpret that one on a pretty regular basis.

Bob

“in what way?”

Not sure I understand, in what way?

Sonia
UK

Well, believe it or not, Sonia, there are Christians out there who believe that God is WAY more important than human beings, and this leads to a great many problems. The main one being that if evidence shows us one thing, but God says another, then God trumps whatever the evidence tells us.

For instance, did you know there is no evidence whatsoever to show that two people of the same sex loving each other and having a monogamous relationship hurts anybody, but because God said it's wrong people who believe in God also say it's wrong, and the rights of the gay couple are infringed upon. No different than not letting women vote because of their sex. That's a pretty basic example. But it gets bigger.

Sonia, have you heard of the medical breakthrough called Stem Cell Research? Well, Stem Cell Research has been one of the most promising scientific breakthroughs in regards to curing many of the ailments and diseases that plague us today. You see, stem cells have the ability to replace human tissue. Any human tissue! This means absolutely any ailment we humans have that involves the tissue we are made up of has the potential of being cured by this research! And Sonia, that's pretty much all the human ailments you can think of. They're already doing this research in other parts of the world! But here in the United States where the majority believes in God this research is not being funded, and in parts of our country the research is illegal, punishable by jail time for those who practice it. And do you know why? It's because the people who believe in God think that these human cells that float in a Petri dish at the end of a needle also contain human souls which haven't been allowed to be born. And Sonia, we're not talking about research that'd cure dandruff, or make your wrinkles go away. We're talking about curing cancer! Regrowing the skin on burn victims! Fixing spinal injuries! Healing the paralyzed! Curing Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, brain tumors, and an endless list of other problems that have confounded scientists and doctors alike for as long as there's been scientists and doctors. But your belief in God, Sonia, is halting progress that could stop the hurt of these millions of human beings.

But this isn't the worst of it, because the belief in God also includes a belief in Armageddon. And yours and other Christians belief that when the human race destroys itself the greatest event in man's history will occur is the scariest and most imminent threat to mankind's future on planet earth. Your belief that we are all doomed no matter what, so there's no use in trying to stop it, because God has deemed it so, is the most dangerous side effect of your Christianity. And having a great mass of people who believe that their shining moment will come after the destruction of the world is the biggest threat to the human race. Islamic Militants believe it is their duty to destroy those who do not submit to Allah as described in the Koran, while Christian Fundamentalists believe that it will all end soon enough, and as a result they will be lifted up to paradise by their Messiah, Jesus Christ.

These are three example of how your belief that God comes before everyone else hurts people. I can list three more examples if you'd like. And three more after that. And even another three after that.

Thank you for considering my plea.
Bob

“I believe that if marriage really did work the way God intended it to in the beginning, the world would be a much easier place to live in”

I really do think that some, maybe most, of the issues you'll come up with are steming from the misinterpretation of God's word. This stuff you're saying about medical breakthroughs saving so many people sounds brilliant! I don't see how anyone can really find an argument that says doing this is wrong, although I'm afraid I don't know that much about it so I don't really feel able to argue this point. The stuff about unborn souls....sounds very far-fetched to me. I believe that God wants doctors to heal - one of Jesus' miracles was the gift of healing and he healed many, as did his disciples after him, as do many people today. Including doctors. I can't see how God could really want this sort of research to stop, as long as it isn't harming anyone else.

I'm not really sure what your point is about the end of the world - maybe you're suggesting that Christians want the world to end? That seems a bit far-fetched as well. God created the Earth and said it was good - I think anyone wanting this creation to be destroyed hasn't really understood that.

Ah the un-ending argument of religion verses homosexuality. This one's the hardest to talk about for me because I don't really understand it - being straight myself. So, I'm sure you know that Christians believe that two men or two women involved in a sexual realtionship is wrong, mainly because that's not how God created us to be. Only a man and woman can reproduce. God's ideal would therefore be that a man and a woman marry and have children. I think the major problem here is that there are so many things wrong with the world. Nowadays, the cereal box family simply doesn't exist, and even where it does, it certainly doesn't seem the perfect soution. Divorce, separation, adultery, co-habitation, poverty...all these things can seriously affect the perfect system God planned. Not just homosexuality.
My point here is that some same-sex couples who have adopted or fostered or whatever may be providing a better environment for their children than, for example, an arguing hetrosexual couple, or vise versa. However, I believe that if marriage really did work the way God intended it to in the beginning, the world would be a much easier place to live in, with some far less confused, abused, neglected and misunderstood children. Some people think Christians hate homosexual people. Well, those who do are wrong to. We are told to love and care for everyone, and everyone sins.

I think I understand where you're coming from now though, and could predict more of the arguments you may use, but before you do I would just like to say that I still don't see how your website is helping to solve any issues. It's a bit like a school bully - some people, instead of trying to work out what's gone wrong for this child, will simply humiliate and hate the bully behind their back. Not only does this mean that you are lowering yourself to the bully's level and becoming one yourself, but you are also encouraging other people to do the same. There may be some bits of Christianity that seem wrong to you, even hurtful, but this may be because the Christians you know have warped some part of the bible, or it may be that you simply don't understand it. Instead of posting hurtful messages on a website, try talking to these people (I don't mind if I'm one of them), tell them what the problem is, read the bible yourself.

Sonia
UK

Sonia, what if I were to list off three more aspects of Christianity that hit more close to home which you practice in your everyday life, and teach to others when you tell them about of your beliefs?

Like for instance, Sonia, what do you think a child learns when they are told that they can have a paradise while other human beings suffer forever in hell. I mean, it's one thing to expect them to sleep at night knowing strangers are burning, but what about when it hits closer to home and it's a family member, best friend, or even the mailman who will be melting over hot cinders in the pits of hell because they believe something different, and meanwhile you'll still be able to enjoy Heaven's paradise while they scream for help eternally? My feeling is that no matter how you look at it this sort of lesson teaches them look at other people as lesser, and not worth caring for as much. It's the only way to think about it if you expect to be able to appreciate your heaven whilst they fry! I'm sure you'd agree that we do not need more of that sort of thinking on the planet, Sonia. Why would you promote it? Why would a god promote it?

What about the teaching of incorrect history? I mean, we've got real respected historians, scientists, and archeologists whose research and knowledge is being ignored because the bible says the world is less than 10,000 years old, humans are not mammals and did not evolve over a million years, and all the animals hatched from Noah's Ark and found their ways back to their natural habitats around the globe, and dinosaurs might even be a hoax planted by Satan himself. Now, having only Christian people believing all of this stuff seems pretty harmless, but what's happening now here in the United States is these people are the majority and they're actually teaching this stuff in some of our public schools to our children, and sending them out into this world to repeat mistakes we should've learned the first, second and eighth time around! I'm realizing now that you're in the UK so these issues I'm bringing up aren't happening to the extent they are here. You get to deal with the other side of the coin with Islamic Fundamentalist's faith and their rewards in paradise for even more dreadful acts. How can you not see the affects of blind faith and how harmful it can be to a society?

And what about that, Sonia? What about the simple idea that faith is a valid reason for believing things to be true? That, to me, has got to be one of your most screwy lessons, and I know from personal experience how that messes with one's own common sense and an ability to figure out life on your own. If there's one clear and obvious thing Christianity does that affects us today it's the illogical thought process one must adhere to be a Believer. You must believe God's truth over science and your own logic. How does that help people? Why would God promote anything that goes against us trusting our own logic? This to me is proof enough that your god is either bogus or evil.

All right, how about those three? Paradise while others burn, incorrect history lessons, and faith over logic & science? Would you consider those things to be harmful? Or do they not pertain to your immediate life either? Also, keep in mind that here in the US we're dealing with a whole different level of Christianity. One which is probably pretty similar to the one that scared the Pilgrims away from you in the first place.

Lemme know.
Bob

18 days later...

“you still haven't admitted to your website being offencive”

Bob,

Before I answer any of those questions, and I will, I would like to point out that you still haven't admitted to your website being offencive. If you want to argue for equality ("look at other people as lesser...I'm sure you'd agree that we do not need more of that sort of thinking on the planet") then you should agree that you are looking down on Christians by ridiculing them unnecessarily. Please change the site.

Sonia
UK

Ridiculing a belief is not ridiculing a person, just as you hate the sin not the sinner.

Yes, it is offensive to Christians, just as making fun of a Ku Klux Klan member's beliefs would offend him. I at no point ever denied that my page offends people's beliefs. That's what you get when you've got beliefs that are harmful to others.

No apologies.
Bob

“you're webpage is very harmful to me”

"That's what you get when you've got beliefs that are harmful to others."
You fail to see that you're webpage is very harmful to me, yet I do not ridicule you, or anyone who has different beliefs to me, over the internet.

Sonia
UK

Seriously, Sonia. How harmful is my website to you? Is it impeding the practice of your beliefs? Is it causing you physical harm, like is your health deteriorating as a result of my site, or your vision being impaired? When you pull up my site do children outside of your home burst into flames? Please, Sonia, be more specific as to how the site harms you.

It's one thing when the "harmful" you speak of is the hurting people's feelings or the troubling of ones core beliefs. It's quite another when the "harmful" is the oppressing of people's freedom, teaching untruth and illogical lessons to kids, placing a higher value on one group over another, the damning to eternal suffering of those who believe differently, and/or putting human lives, and perhaps the entire populous of the world at risk.

Sonia. Having our beliefs offended is the price we each must be willing to pay to make sure those other, more important harms get addressed, and hopefully, resolved. Otherwise we need to start a list of topics that are above being criticized and forbid the questioning or ridicule of those topics because someone might be offended. So are you thinking we should start this list and circulate it around so we know what subjects, when addressed, are off the table of discussion and critique? Is that what your plan would be, Sonia?

Bob


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