We don’t make this stuff up, gang

Lately we’ve been getting a series of barely literate emails from a guy who’s following the usual pattern: Asserting his beliefs as facts, backing them up with variants of “Look at the trees!” and “Study the Bible!”, then bitterly protesting how rude we are for dismissing him as a dimwit. Here’s one excerpt for you to get the general gist.

You see why do you insult me, that shows that your mine is block.
You see finding the truth comes with humility not pride. So i think you should write with respect.
well it looks like you have not really studied the Bible, you call it a book of fairy tales.
While one of the greatest scientist like isaac newton call it the word of God and studied it.
Thats kind of surprising to here those words from a renowned scientist.

And it goes on like that. Amusing, I suppose, the way utter ignoramuses think they’re so humble the way they spout ignorance with smug condescension. But that’s what religion offers: the confidence of faith in ignorance over actual knowledge.

We get email

Hard to keep coming up with creative new titles for these, so may as well just stick with the time-tested one.

Dear AE, please stop being naive & guilble.

You’re blinded & deceived by the devil.

I pray that you, along with every fellow atheist find the light through all the darkness you all

remain In & accept our Lord Jesus Christ as your almighty saviour.

Whats the purpose of preaching atheism, when you don’t go anywhere after life?

Whats the point?

You say us Chrisitans are waisting precious time here on earth, while thats quite hypocritical.

You preach atheism, aren’t you waisting precious time as well?

Us christians actually believe In a beautiful life after death with our king & saviour, so we have

more then a reason to preach, It’s our purpose.

We want to save people from there sin & the devil because we love them & don’t want them to end

up In hell.

Whats your purpose?

Life Is a lesson that we’re here to learn & experience, our reward Is heaven.

All of you are being controlled by the devil, you don’t even know It because you cease to have an

open mind, you cease to even try to understand his existence because Its much to difficult.

You would rather just take the easy way In life & say there Isn’t a God.

You would rather be your own God, have your own control, your own reasone for existence because

thats what YOU want & find easiest.

Quite honestly, I think life as an Atheist would be quite sad & depressing because to think we are

only here once & that all this that we’re living currently Is all for nothing?

That would mean there Is absolutely no purpose for anything.

I’m not going to get Into detail because as long as you all keep that hard head of yours, you won’t

ever see the truth & you will end up pershing in hell for the rest of eternity.

For your sake, please try & see the truth.

Call out to the lord & ask for his help, he won’t let you down.

Seek him diligently & you shall find.

It takes time, but be patient & wait on the Lord because those that remain patient & wait on the

Lord have a special place In the kingdom of God.

There Is all to much Info out there, you just need

to seek diligently & you shall find.

Start of by praying, asking for forgivness, accepting Jesus as your Lord/saviour & then ask him to

come Into your life & he will.

Then pick a bible up & start studying, you will see the truth.

You will finally experience the peace that comes with knowing & following him.

We love you, may God bless & have mercy on you.

[name deleted]

I like this one because it’s the complete opposite of the usual, unreadable “dozens of sentence crammed into a single giant paragraph” format that we often see. Instead of that, every sentence in this message has its own paragraph, and sometimes the paragraph breaks occur within a single sentence.

Also, for some unfathomable reason, it looks to me like every word that begins with the letter “I” is capitalized, (“It”, “Is”, “In”) as if the author was chided too many times for failing to capitalize the first person pronoun, and he went to the opposite extreme. A little knowledge being a dangerous thing, and all that.

I may be accused to responding to this email’s style over its substance, but really, in a case like this, what the hell else can you do?

We get email: reason can’t be trusted

Hello there.

Did you consider that reaosn and evolution are concepts in crisis since the developement of modern semantics? I think Chomsky explains it better in his conference about biolinguistics. But the destruction of positivsm is something that happened in the late XIX century. Evolution and reason are no longer concepts to be trusted anymore. I was wondering if you read the work of post structuralists like Derrida or Lyotard, even Heidegger in the early XX century let that statement cristal clear. But the real doubt was… you are concient of all this I’m saying and you choose not to brought it up in the show cause believers are three steps behind it, or you actually don’t know it :S

Thanks for reading!

Dear *****,

Thank you for pointing out that reason does not matter. After reading your letter, I have concluded that you are, in fact, an imaginary platypus named Phil. As such, I have decided to let my talking anthropomorphic ceiling tile answer your letter for me. Please let me know when you hear from him.

Sincerely,
Russell Glasser
The Atheist Experience

We get email, WTF edition

A charming fellow called Augusto sent us two of these thought-provoking missives, actually. This one is the more coherent of the two.

Just remember that atheism and materialism killed much more people than any cruzade before. Any. Atheism killed trillions, crusades was a joke. Fuck Mao tse tung, Stalin, Hitler, CIA.

Atheism and materialism killed billions in a curtain space of time than any cruzade before.

That’s why atheists think that they are inteligent plaiyng chess – the criminal game for idiots who whant power. Kids play always chess because they have no brain, only ambition. Atheists never gonne out. Nor in.

Atheism and materialism killed much more people than any cruzade before.

Atheism and materialism killed billions, crusades a few, compared to atheist hate.

Atheism and materialism killed much more people than any cruzade before.

I have fear of atheism because atheism is fear, they use psychiatry and psychology to demonstrate theyr kid power, to control population to theyr chess game.

I love jesus christ because he is my friend.

Grow up and became FREE

Augusto

Jesus, you really ought to screen your friends better.

Teh emailz, we gets dem

Ordinarily I don’t post the full names of emailers. However, in this case, John Berbatis from Perth seems to be busy enough posting his own name everywhere that he probably won’t mind.

Dear Producer,

The following references will provide positve information to what I have stated below; ‘The Holographic Universe – it’s an illusion’ (You Tube), ‘Biege the Colour of the Universe’ (abc.net.au/science/news/stories*) and Scientific America (August, 2003).

Kind regards
John Berbatis 10th August, 2009

Logical proof of Monotheism & Pantheism.

Syllogisms that I submitted in 1998, which were recognized by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – Dr Mary Robinson and the Hon. Justice Michael D. Kirby AC CMG of the High Court of Australia.

Time must exist before matter can be created, and only an animate entity can conceive of space-time. Time must be a stabilized and uniform condition before matter can form, thus Monotheism is a Truth.

The Universe consists of space-time; which is functionally active and growing but remains stable. These combined characteristics are indicative of an animate entity only, thus Pantheism is a fact.
As a consequence, all mortals’ behaviour and attitudes become conspicuous by our Creator.

Reality is the dream of a Universal sentient being. Sensations of all mortals are merely light flashes within elongated fractal crystals, flowing in a white mist which is time itself; ensconced within a beige coloured and velvet textured Pearl, that is, a holographic Universe.

If all electrical particles were in different time zones – matter would not form, thus time is a controlled electromagnetic radiation (energy) E = mc2.

To be perfect – one must know the past, present and future, there is only one, the one that created Time.

John Berbatis Perth, Australia
[phone number and email address removed, since I’m not completely heartless]

Wow, that certainly was… a bunch of sentences. Which appeared to be written in English. Or something resembling it.

By the way, when I googled this guy, I also discovered that he predicted multiple times that humanity would go extinct last year. Crikey, John, those are some bloody spooky powers you have there! I think this is why most prophets predict major events occurring a lot more than a year in advance.

* The URL provided is broken, but this story might explain some of what he is talking about with regard to the color beige.

No crazy like the real crazy

Ah well. It appears that, despite a brave showing by Frikle, the votes are in, and no one can quite write like allexus8 except allexus8. Who, by the way, seems to have been mum since that old pedo Tony or Bernie or whatever his name is had the book thrown at him, and is on his way to live out the rest of his natural life as a tenant of the federal government. Too bad, Frikle, because you know, I had worked out a truly amazing prize for the winner, and…well… Hey, at least all the entrants gave us a hearty laugh at the end of a long day, right, gang?

Now let’s enjoy our latest crazy email, just arrived today. Poe or Noe? We report, you decide.

I have been watching your tv show for quite a bit now, and i believe you have the right to express your belief how ever you want, so do i! i wish i could talk to you online but i can’t for some reasons. My question is, why you always make negative comments about Jesus Christ and not other Gods. there is only 2 ways, DARKNESS OR LIGhT,and the light is Jesus and the darkness is seton. Sometimes you seem to belief there is God and sometimes you don’t, i believe deep down in your heart you know God exists which is Jesus Christ who died for you on the cross for all your sins, and you know the Bible is true, but you can’t stand it. the bible says on 2 Timothy, ch4:2 preach the word be instant in season, out of reprove, exhrot with all longsuffering and doctrine. for the time will come when they will not endore sound Doctrine;but after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn their ears from the truth, and they shall turned upto fables.” there are many verses in the Bible that i can quote for you but i bet you know them very well, maybe more than anybody else. to be honest with you i’m not a preacher or anything like that I’m a born again chrisian, who believes in God(Jesus Christ)that Jesus died for my sins and raised up from the dead on the third day. because with my God there is no complication, Jesus said on john 8:12 “I’m the light of the world:he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” seton is complication who decieves many in false doctrines and lies, and lead many in darkness so they can’t see the where they’re goin or what they’re doin, who want that?!? I don’t!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wish I could make this stuff up, people. Anyway, Matt replied glibly that he’d never heard of “seton,” which prompted this deft comeback:

when i say seton, i meant the fallen angel, demon, and the one who work in darkness. lets be mature.

Oh yes. Let’s. Uh, “lets.”

Your email smile for the day

Okay, now, before you all dogpile this poor chap, be mindful of the fact he’s from Brazil, so his wonky grammar and syntax are a result of ESL and not, you know, cretinous idiocy. (Though we have on occasion heard from American creationists who’ve sounded almost like this.) So, just enjoy the delightfully delirious content on this scorching (at least here in Austin) summer day. I particularly like the part about God being an “intelligence officer.” From Heaven With Love, it’s Agent Double-0-Jeezus!

God exists yes! Believe in the existence of God is not an act of faith, but a rational act,. and is a rational act soon have everything to do with reality.

And as if proving the existence of God then?

It’s simple! For the argumentative logic of reason!

The existing universe is very orderly functional complexity.
Every order requires an intelligence officer, intelligence officer and this we call God.
The more complex is the order of something or a functional system. greater the need for a intelligence active in this system or something functional. What out absolutely the possibility of evolution by means of processes which is self blind itself.

Also worth remembering that God is unique in its existence. atheists want to deny this truth may sound mean. That is not true because there may be several intelligence officers behind this order. and if there is. If then you have several gods! and AI?

It is simple to answer!

The universe as a whole is unreachable by our reason and knowledge, precisely because we do only part of this universe, and we are only part, only know part of it and not all. But the one who created it, he knows so complete as a whole, and since this all relates to the infinite, can only be attributed to the creator of this whole, characteristic of omnipotence. And you can not have two distinct omnipotence in the same existence, because either would be, and you can not have two different truths in the same existence. Once it is concluded that there is only one God who is equal CREATOR omnipotent.

Flood of Zeitgeist emails

Dear readers, would somebody please figure out why there’s been a recent surge in emails about the movie Zeitgeist? We’ve had four in the past week. Is it going through some new PR effort right now?

To be absolutely clear: everyone on the show thinks Zeitgeist is pretty much crap. You can read this unofficial position statement for more details. It’s bad history, bad skepticism, and especially bad movie making.

A sampling of recent emails:

Tim from the Netherlands, 6/15:

I recently saw your videos on YouTube and I completely agree with you. I never considered myself an atheist in the past but i was never religious in the past. Although now that I think about I think I could be an atheist. Well the main point of the email is the tell you about “The Zeitgeist Movement”. You may have heard about it, you may not. I just want to bring more awareness.

Claudio in Brazil, 6/18:

I wish u guys talk about the movie Zeitgeist, is a great documentary about the world society.

If you like it like me let me know when u gonna talk about it please

Jake, 6/22:

Anyways, I just finished watching the religious portion of Zeitgeist – The Movie and I think it is something everyone should see. I searched YouTube and I could not locate anything about the subject matter being discussed on AE. If I’m incorrect, please forgive me for conducting such a shoddy cursory check. However, if the material is something you haven’t covered in depth, will you address the Horus/Jesus connection, to the extent the movie does? As always, I’ll be watching!

Cory in Illinois, 6/23:

Have you heard of the movie Zeitgeist? It was created by a man named Peter Joseph, and is an amazing documentary about the institutions of this world and how they are designed and created simply for public control, the religious institution being one of them. You should really watch these. The main reason that I took to them so quickly is because he backs every single claim with solid, indisputable evidence. The first movie aims to reveal the truth to the people. The second movie is to show how we as a species can fix our global social system and improve our lives greatly.

Seriously, guys, WTF? Zeitgeist sucks. Are we being too subtle for you?

Whyyyyyyyyyyy?

Imagine me in a scene from a bad movie, on my knees, in a rainstorm, reaching up to the skies and screaming the above, and you’ll have an idea of my often melodramatic reaction to some of the totally jacked up, hallucinatory theist email we get. Including this, which came to us in the ever-popular Multicolored Multifont Format. Seriously, if this one’s a Poe, somebody has way too much time on his hands to spend fucking with us (and the site it plugs is real enough).

War And Famine Coming To America!
Recent Prophecy Revealing The Identity of The Antichrist Is Also Included With This Bulletin!

Numerous prophets have issued grave judgment warnings for America. Linda Newkirk is one among many, sounding the alarm. See the foot of this bulletin for further information. Visit prophecies.org to learn the truth of Rev. 12!
As you will learn in this bulletin, warnings from Gods ‘true’ prophets are stern, no-nonsense, and very sobering. Many in the church will tell you that God no longer speaks through prophets, DO NOT BELIEVE THEM! God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, He does not change. We were not warned to reject all prophets, just the false ones. If God did not speak through prophets there would be no Holy Bible.
Jesus warned that He was coming back with a sword! He also said He was coming back as a Lion, not as a Lamb! Make no mistake about it, what we now face is referred to in scripture, as ‘The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord’
I have been given many divine revelations confirming ‘time and again’ the prophecies and revelations of Linda Newkirk. DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK on the Antichrist prophecies. Background information to help confirm these revelations is widely available in the alternative media. The truth of this prophecy also becomes more obvious by the day. Many of those who shook their heads when these revelations were released last fall are no longer doing so.
Mark Brander

It goes on from there.

I mean, really goes on.

You’ll never guess who the Antichrist is.

Is Religion Beneficial to Society?

I’m currently in a correspondence with a person who is offering me the tired line that religion is helpful to people and not in conflict with science and has been involved in some worthy efforts.

This morning, February 25, in the Austin American-Statesman, there were two articles—one on the front page of the National section, and one on the front of the Local and State—that covered dangerous errors in sex education in our schools and legislation undermining the relationship between a woman and her doctor, which also noted that our governor has once again spoken out against medical research that researchers believe could yield beneficial medical results. Make no mistake, these initiatives are designed purely to resonate among religious constituents. Are there nonreligious people who might (and do) support these same measures? Yes, I’m sure there are. Would there be enough people motivated outside of religious initiatives to make these “issues” important to legislators? I highly doubt it. The reason they are “issues” is because they are religiously supported agendas. And religion means numbers.

I agree that religion is not in conflict with science—in any area where science is not in conflict with religion. However, as soon as science puts forward any assertion that does not correlate to religious claims, science comes under attack from religion, and bad things happen. The correspondent pointed out that Islamic nations long ago were among some of the most progressive thinkers in math and science. I have heard this, too. However, I wonder what sorts progressive thinking applied to apostates and heretics in these same ancient Islamic nations? Was a conversion to another religion (outside of Islam) taken in stride, do you think?

I don’t claim that where religion doesn’t conflict with X, religion will automatically oppose X. But where religion perceives that X opposes religion, X will be castigated by religious adherents—often violently and forcefully. We see it daily. And I am unaware of a time when it wasn’t so.

For awhile, I’ve been mentioning to Matt that I would like to see a publication of the letters we get to the TV-List. I would devote a section to all the letters, like this latest, telling me that religion is benign or good for people for the most part. And I would follow that section with all the letters we get from adherents telling us that their religion is good, who after a few exchanges say that mass genocide, mass infanticide, suicide-mass-murder, rape, slavery and child sacrifice are all morally acceptable if, and only if, a god tells you to do these things.

I often hear the question “Name one benefit religion offers that could not be achieved secularly (without the lies and harm that comes with religion).” It’s not a benefit, but I have found that you can get a person to say that “X is not moral in situation Y,” and then turn around in only one or two exchanges and get them to say “X was moral in situation Y because there was an added caveat that god said to do it.”

Religion can take a human being who is willing to condemn an action as immoral in a particular circumstance, and get them to say that same action is moral in that same circumstance, if a god says to do it. Now, there are certainly regimes that can get people to commit atrocities that aren’t religious. But it would be hard to get someone who is not a sociopath to admit in a hypothetical that he’d be willing to slaughter children in droves if a charismatic leader asked him to do it, or that he would kill his own child at the request of some persuasive person. Might he do it for a person if the situation actually arose? Yes. He might. Is he likely to foresee and admit that a human could ever convince him to do it (without some form of immediate duress)? No.

Is a belief system that can take a person’s moral reason and short-circuit that to “obey without question” a benign and harmless system? Aren’t we describing a ticking time bomb? What stands between this person committing atrocities—but something to convince him it’s what his god wants out of him? Is a person who says that killing children is right if god requests it, honestly that different than a person who actually kills children because he believes god requested it? Aren’t they the same person, except that one is merely waiting for some cue?

I recall a particular letter from a father of a nine-month-old who wrote to say that even if his religion isn’t true, what harm is it to raise his daughter in Christianity?

I asked him if he accepted the doctrines of hell and salvation. He did. I explained that in his paradigm, salvation requires a blanket condemnation of all human beings as imperfect for being who and what they are. Salvation and hell don’t mean “imperfect” as in “nobody’s perfect,” but “imperfect” as in “You are so horribly and inherently flawed, that by rights you deserve eternal torture according to god, and as your Christian dad, I have to agree that’s exactly what someone like you, my child, should get.”

I asked him what he thought it would mean to a little girl to know that her father sees her as that sort of a horrible being—inherently flawed to the point of complete and total unacceptability?

Initially he attempted to argue god’s love for us and how god wants us to go to heaven and not go to hell. But he couldn’t really find a way to get around the fact that his doctrines meant that he had to say he thought his daughter was inherently flawed and that nothing intrinsic to her could ever be “good enough” to merit anything but eternal punishment. He finally grasped that if there were something she could do that would make her “good enough” to not merit an eternity of torture, then intervention by Jesus would be unnecessary—negating the doctrine of salvation through Jesus. And without someone like Jesus granting her god’s “mercy” (mercy, meaning it’s not what she really deserves, but what god gives her regardless of her undeserving nature), she was hopeless and despicable.

Most of us would normally have a hard time saying any of our worst recorded criminals should be, by rights, tortured for eternity. But even if we felt that way about a person, I would expect that their actions would have to be, in some regard, fairly heinous. Someone might want revenge on Hitler to the point of hoping for a merciless, vengeful eternity of torture. But an average child? Or even an average adult? It’s hard to believe anyone would say that any of our friends and neighbors should be deserving of torture for ten minutes, let alone eternity?

I asked this dad what he would think of a neighbor who each day sat his own kids down and told them, “I think you are all such despicable children that you deserve nothing less than to be beaten without mercy, but since I love you so much, I won’t do that to you, so long as you tell me how truly sorry you are that you’re who and what you are—utterly unworthy.”

I don’t say there aren’t or couldn’t be secular systems that impact normal people’s minds and thwart their reason and moral sense in this way. I don’t say that nonreligious systems can’t and haven’t gotten good people to do bad things. What I’m saying is that I’d be hard pressed to get a human with a normally developed brain, who isn’t already abusive or a sociopath, to say—in a purely hypothetical framework—that people ought to be tortured simply for being people—and for no other reason.

I have never met people who have told me that any historical or current genocide or mass infanticide was “morally right” for any reason other than “god commanded it.” And I haven’t just met a few of those. I’ve met many. And I’m still meeting them. And I can Google their responses to the Old Testament stories and find site after site attesting to the moral correctness of committing atrocities for the Christian god. And I can
’t stress strongly enough that these are not the Fred Phelps’s of the world. These are good, tax-paying, loving, caring, generous people who work and live along side us all in every segment of our society. In fact, any Christian who accepts the Bible as true and god as good, must assert these actions are good in any situation where they are commanded by a god.

There is something unnerving about living in a society where the predominant religion is one that can make a standard, normal human assert that atrocities should never be committed—except when god says to commit them. And then recognizing that in this same society, most of my fellow citizens believe a god exists and in some way communicates or has communicated with them and/or others. And that they further believe that this god, according to their sacred texts, has righteously commanded such atrocities to be committed by his adherents.

Call me crazy?