Concern over Possummomma »« How atheists can be effective evangelists

I get email…

I got an e-mail today from a young man who hasn’t written in months. The author e-mailed me many months ago, to tell us just how horrible we were. Here’s are a few snippets from his previous e-mails, with a short note on my response…and at the end I’ll include today’s e-mail – which won’t be getting a response:

“God speaks upon people like you in the great book. You people and yes i say you people are all logical and need everything handed to you. You expect God to hand you everything, i bet half you on this stupid committee are homosexual. Its a sick world we live in these days and you just make it even more sicker. The time will come for all of you, i bet if God was too strike down on earth as your reading this you would be crying to a precher in seconds. Now im not up with my religion but i do know that god gave us a life to live, all he wanted us to do is ask him to be our savior. Why would he give to us if we cant give back to him, think, thats probably why your lost now…Your selfish and want everything in front of you.”

I asked whether this e-mail was real, or Poe and noted how sad it made me. I addressed his points and got the following reply:

“I was searching the net to look at groups who are agaisnt homosexuals for my research and of course i come across you people. Sall you on Youtube and thought…how sick people are. You know damn well what great book im talking about and everything. Like i said before, you are the type who need to see it to believe it. I gaurantee most of youare gay i can tell by the videos i was watching. You point out every bad thing in the bible besides the good.”

He’s clearly obsessed with homosexuality and in his next e-mail, he continued his hate and told me his age…

“Confused and Lost…and homosexuals has a big role in this. I may not be the best at talking cause im only 14 but i know what i am talking about. All gays are going to hell no exceptions, just like you, and if you were to put my letter on the air you would have no logical reason to back anything up, only with more of your atheis questions. You cant take the truth, your weak minded, good luck in the after life.”

At this point, we exchanged a few e-mails where I tried to carefully and politely offer my thoughts on his questions. I was deeply saddened that a young mind had been so crippled by dogma and hatred and was concerned, given his age, that we might be dealing with the confusing awakenings of puberty. After answering a couple of questions about religion…his tone changed:

“Ok i have done my share of research about God. I apologize for my opening statement i email to you, all i wanted to do was get more people to believe in God before its too late. God loves each and one of us dearly, All i really want to say is MAY GOD BE WITH YOU”

A few more e-mails were exchanged when I received one from him that was far more thoughtful, covering the trials of human life, waiting for death, a lost soul trying to survive the trial, apologizing for any rude comments, begging me to “believe and ask for jesus to be your savior, and commit to being clean from sins.”

I ended the conversation shortly after this and won’t be replying. Several months have passed, and the following e-mail arrived in my inbox this morning. I see no reason to respond, or even comment on it here…

“PAIN and TORTURE. I have not forgotten about you my friend. Pain and Torture. As i keep researching atheist i realize, YOUR SCARED OF GOD. You know God, like no other point blank, for he is the Only God that exist. PAIN and TORTURE. You know his word automatically, its embeded into your brain. PAIN AND TORTURE. On youtube they have people saying I deny the exsistence of the Holy Spirit. PAIN AND TORTURE. Why is it that you hate on God so much, he has done nothing to you. PAIN AND TORUTRE. I mean if you want evidence go look in the mirror. PAIN AND TORTURE. I was told not to care for you, to hate people like you. PAIN AND TORTURE. But i realize that we were put here to help each other. PAIN AND TORTURE. But i realize you are full of stupidity, and will soon be full of regret if you dont change. PAIN AND TORTURE. What else can God do for you, let me guess show himself. PAIN AND TORTURE.

Enjoy this life, becasue if your going to be an athiest forever, your next one wont be so joyful. Lets just say there will be alot of NASHING OF THE TEETH. “

Comments

  1. says

    Yeesh. Sounds like my cousins.I wonder what MRIs of their brains would show. With the kind of brainwashing that that individual has more than likely received, I wonder if some areas have restricted or a surplus of blood flow.Makes ya wonder.

  2. says

    Oh looks like he found the Blasphemy challenge on youtube, that must of boggled his mind. (I love that challenge. :D)It is said though that someone so young is full of so much hate and yet believe their god is love.

  3. says

    It’s so sad to see that from a fourteen-year-old. I remember being his age and saying the same type of things about homosexuals. Nothing planted a seed of doubt in my mind greater than getting raked over the coals in a rational debate about the dangers of homosexuality. Hopefully he has an in-person meeting with a gay or atheist (I guess those are redundant terms).

  4. says

    We got another note today from someone in another country who said that he sometimes feels like he’s living in an insane asylum (as a sane person).When I see letters like this–and I see a lot of letters like ths–I can’t help but think: “What is this person like in ‘real life’?”Seriously–does this person have friends, family, coworkers? Does he address them in this fashion on points where they disagree?The content of the e-mail highlighted is just Nutter City. And would people “out there” be more concerned about their friends and neighbors if they knew people were thinking and expressing themselves this way? In what microcosm of reality is this guy accepted as “normal”? Even to most Christians I know, he’d be a Nutter. But presumably he exists somewhere?Could he, and others like him, be jerking us around? I’d say yes, except that I know the level of correspondence they will provide if you encourage them. I’ve seen these guys pour hours and hours into correspondence. I mean, I spend a lot of time corresponding–but would I if it was just a joke? Uh–no, because I have a little thing called a “life.”Who screwed this guy up and how? And who is supporting him now (in his social circle)? Is he a lonely, isolated, sad man? I _worry_ about these people. I _worry_ for these people. I wish there was something that could be done to help them, because I know more than likely an adult is responsible for screwing this guy up as a young person. And unraveling religion out of your brain is no easy task–even if it’s not too deeply rooted to start with. I _thought_ I knew what ultra conservative was, but I’ve heard stories and seen news items since becoming aware of my atheism that have really let me recognize the lengths people will got to to mess up their own children in the name of “their best interest.”Now society is left with this person who clearly has issues. And he seems to be an adult (grown enough to correspond on a computer anyway, at length). And whatever was in his past can’t be changed.But maybe if we try hard we can stop someone else from being moulded into an anti-social freak?

  5. says

    OK–just saw the “only 14″ note. So, he’s still young. Just fyi, my head was on backward until my sophmore year of college–so there’s hope for this kid, yet.

  6. says

    “In what microcosm of reality is this guy accepted as “normal”?”Williamson County. Hehe, sorry, had to say it.(For those not familiar with Austin, WilCo is north of Austin and very conservative.)

  7. says

    I have been where this kid is now. I saw this a lot in certain churches. The repetition of the phrase PAIN AND TORTURE is such a clear sign of self hypnosis. I can almost see him rocking in his chair with his eyes closed and repeating that phrase over and over again. My guess is either Assembly of God or some Non denominational church or ‘Bible Study’ has him in their clutches. The good news is that no matter how far they go there is hope. I have seen people flip like this before and it is pretty scary. To the kid, if he finds this, stop fasting. Get a good dinner and take a deep breath. Then stop and take a look at what you are actually doing. Not whether it is just or not but the actual actions and words.Later on, when you suddenly realize that your ideology doesn’t match your reality, don’t be too hard on yourself. Falling prey to deception can happen to us all. Its why critical thinking and reason are so important.

  8. says

    Well, that was a pretty hilarious email.Yet another religious individual attempting to impose his faith on people with no faith. Its like they think we woke up one day and decided that we werent gonna have a religion! I have to add though that even though I am a person that does not believe in religion, I still find homosexuality disturbing. I would not have much trouble in saying that its alright for gay people to get married but the whole concept is a bit abnormal. I do feel sorry for the guy though more than anything….the Bible has brainwashed him into believing concepts like Hell, Creation, God that he can never see the world through a different set of thinking.

  9. says

    I have to add though that even though I am a person that does not believe in religion, I still find homosexuality disturbing. I would not have much trouble in saying that its alright for gay people to get married but the whole concept is a bit abnormal.I’m a little curious what your definition of “normal” is that “people behaving/being allowed to behave according to their natural urges and inclinations” falls outside of it. Attraction and arousal are physiological responses to various stimuli; they are largely (if not entirely) inborn and tend not to be subject to the will. I wonder, though, if you’re in a position similar to the one I was in a few years ago. For me, renouncing my terrible homophobia was one of the major steps that led me away from religion. For years after, even though I’d become an outspoken supporter of gay rights, I found myself struggling to reconcile my moral and political convictions with the simple disgust I felt about homosexuality. When I went to a GSA meeting in college where they showed a sex-heavy episode of “Queer as Folk,” I got really uncomfortable and felt guilty afterward because of it. I came to realize two things which helped immensely: first, that it wasn’t gay sex which disgusted me, it was anal sex–homosexual or heterosexual. Following that, I realized that just because I found a particular sex act to be a turn-off didn’t mean that there was necessarily anything wrong with the act or wanting to engage in it. Much like attraction and arousal, such tastes are largely inborn or develop early on, and one person’s turn-off is another person’s night on the town. In other words, I realized that my sexual tastes were the product largely of chance, and are not morally significant–much like anyone else’s. That realization helped me reconcile various contradictions I felt were present in my position, and I’m now a lot more comfortable on the whole. Pun moderately intended.

  10. says

    My position on homosexuality is as liberal as liberal gets. The only way it could be more liberal is if I were actually gay. :PBut I have experienced the same discomfort the_world_in_my_eyes talked about much earlier in my life, simply because I didn’t understand it. I felt much the same way about BDSM and other such sexual fetishes, cause I didn’t really understand it at first.I do however feel grateful because I got age-appropriate sex education at a very early age (the book was called Where Do I Come From?, explained what happens when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much with frank illustrations (although not explicit by many standards) and described orgasm as ‘having a really big sneeze, that feels very good’. So that got a lot of things out of the way for me really early.I have a very good gay friend who I knew since about the age of 12. He didn’t realize he was gay until about age 20, and when he came out to me my response was ‘about damn time.’ So that experience helped me understand that gay people are just people like all other people just with one switch pointing in the opposite direction.Regarding the young man who sent the emails: I think he’s just confused. Everyone’s sort of angsty/overly emotional/confused/mad in their teenage years. We haven’t got our stuff straightened out, and we’ve yet to think for ourselves. I wouldn’t point at this guy and go ‘THIS IS WHY RELIGION IS EVIL!!!!!’ so much as see it as a disease we can treat through applications of reasoning, critical evaluation, and logic.p.s. when we fall into the mindset of religion being a treatable condition, are we being arrogant or condescending? I kind of get this vibe that we as atheists are ‘enlightened’ now and thus somewhat above the ‘endarkened’ religion people. I honestly don’t know how I feel about that.

  11. says

    “I think “PAIN AND TORTURE” would be a great band name, and may belong up there with “pygmies+dwarves”!” -badger3kI thought it sounded more like a pair of nineties anti-heroes.”Male Nineties Anti Heroes are ridiculously muscled, and often wear lots of pouches or bandoliers….Usually they’ll have one word, gritty names that used to be reserved for villains.” http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NinetiesAntiHero

  12. says

    “But i realize that we were put here to help each other. PAIN AND TORTURE.”He doesn’t have adolescent leanings toward a closeted homosexuality, he’s a closet sub!

  13. says

    Seriously–does this person have friends, family, coworkers? Does he address them in this fashion on points where they disagree?My guess would be that he doesn’t express himself this way publicly. It’s possible that he’s one of the fundies living in that weird bubble some of them are drowning in (only Christian books, schools, radio, TV, movies, friends etc….Christian meaning: as per the church attended/pastor’s approval.) Or that he comes from a fundie background so extreme that he’s just about an outcast at school.But the most likely possibility is that he’s yet another example of Penny Arcade’s sublime Internet Dickwad Theory.As for the promise of hell our stunning example of Internet Dickwad promised? I like to tell Christians that I’d rather burn in hell than spend one minute with the type of people who think they have the best shot at heaven, and never mind the eternity praising a megalomaniacal sadist. If I wanted to do that, I’d still be married to my ex. Also, eternal life would be horrifying. I don’t want to go on forever. Things would get just too bloody boring, real fast!

  14. says

    How long will it take society and religious nutters to get over this entire “let’s persecute the homo’s” attitude?I’m so sick and tired of putting up with these types of people – I’m 28 and have had to live with these attitudes my entire life. I live in Sydney (home to the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras) and yet I can’t walk up the street without having somebody call me a ‘faggot’ or ‘poofter’. It rarely upsets me anymore, but it makes me wonder – why must they point out that I’m gay? Because it makes them uncomfortable? And why is it that they almost *always* say it quietly as I and my partner (of 8 years) walk past, instead of proclaiming their biggoted attitudes -loudly- to the entire street?Cowards and hypocrites.As for this 14 year old, reading this post broke my heart. I really feel sorry for him more than anything, he’s had some serious brain washing performed on him./rant :p

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