Vegas City Life Interview
you up in Bob's love: Sacrilegious website stirs
profound theological debate
One True Bob
science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein said, "The guardians
of the true faith cannot logically consider tolerance of heresy
to be a virtue." Well, enter the world of Normal Bob Smith
and you'll find a place where heresy is the highest virtue.
began as a web site for a small circle of friends has grown into
a theological forum for thousands. New York-based Normal Bob is
unafraid to celebrate the constitutional right to free speech, which,
sadly is becoming increasingly rare in America public discourse.
At his site, you'll encounter "Jesus Dress Up" dolls,
Darts at Jesus" game and the selling of "Jesus
Dress Up" refrigerator magnets. These less-than-sacred
items generate a never-ending stream of self-righteous hate mail
from "Christians," most of it incisively countered by
Bob's hate-mail section serves as an inspired, intelligent and humorous
forum for debate. In a stagnant era, when criticism of religion
is deemed unacceptable by media and the larger public, Normal Bob
is freedom-flavored air-freshener. To make someone laugh, you get
them to think. Normal Bob will make you think; the laughter depends
was fortunate to have an opportunity to conduct a recent email interview
with Normal Bob.
I've thoroughly enjoyed playing with the "Dress Up Jesus" dolls
as well as the "Throw Darts at Jesus" game, but when I've seen people
who were brought up in strict Christian environments play with these,
they get a much bigger kick out of them. It seems to be very cathartic/therapeutic
for them to be sacrilegious in a playful way. Do you believe the
website has therapeutic value?
I've heard from many people who find Jesus Dress Up therapeutic.
I've even been contacted by kids in abusive homes (or going through
that time in their life that sucks) who play Jesus Dress Up instead
of abusing themselves.
You want to talk about an interesting phenomena? There's a thing
out there called "cutting" that's becoming a trend with depressed
teenage girls. They hate themselves, they're not being listened
to and have no outlet for their frustrations. They cut their arms
and legs to relieve tension. I've been shocked with how
many girls email me who have found Jesus Dress Up as cathartic as
cutting (instead of cutting).
frustrating as hell to be a teenager. Having a pretty faced goody-two-shoe
like Christ to dress up like a gingerbread man while he hangs on
the cross, well sometimes that can make all the difference.
Q: One of the ongoing themes in your site is the argument that everybody
who lived before Jesus, including Adam & Eve, Noah, Moses, etc.
would have automatically gone to hell. They were unable to accept
Jesus as their Lord and Savior because he hadn't been born yet.
Dead babies however, according to the bible, go directly to heaven
because they have not yet sinned. Wouldn't that mean that aborted
babies go directly to heaven?
Of course aborted babies go to hell, no one loves them.
Q: Do you feel that the abundance of poor grammar, frequent misspellings
of words, and badly articulated arguments in your hate mail indicates
anything about the average intelligence of sanctimonious Christians?
I think in most cases people just get so worked up over Jesus Dress
Up that they don't think. Their knee-jerk reaction is anger and
the emails reflect that. You're dealing with someone who's succumb
to their fears. The panic my drawing stirs doesn't surprise me.
I used to be in that mindset. You're made to think that a supreme
being is emotionally affected by these shenanigans. You fear an
angry God will block out the sun and punish us as He sees fit. There's
no time to worry about grammar.
Your responses to your "hate" mail are quite eloquent as well as
humorous. Do you consider your hate mail to be a kind of "backwards
When I first posted Jesus Dress Up.com on the Internet I knew that
the hate mail would be soon to follow. I still remember that first
letter of disapproval though. For a split second I felt panic, like
my parents were going to find out. Very quickly that nervousness
turned into joy. There was so much I wanted to say. So many reasons
I had that I'd never verbalized before. I love the hate mail. It
forces me explain why I believe what I do. It's a luxury I don't
take for granted.
I have noticed that even self-proclaimed "Atheists" get upset if
I mention that there's no proof that Jesus ever existed, or if I
say that the existence or nonexistence of God is irrelevant. Have
you noticed this? Why do you think this is?
not sure who you're referring to. I'm not familiar with the kind
of atheists who get upset over the subject of of Jesus' existence.
I suppose that I believe He existed, but whether he did or didn't
exist wouldn't effect my beliefs or feelings either way.
Many of the people who dislike your website and your opinions accuse
you of worshipping Satan without realizing that Satan is a Christian
deity and therefore, if you are not a Christian you are incapable
of being a Satanist. Why do you believe they have overlooked this?
definitely does not encourage open-mindedness or welcome new ideas.
It's a dictatorship, and the people who follow are comfortable with
one idea. There is no negotiation. You are either serving God or
feel that anyone who is capable of imagining the nonexistence of
God is only a step away from becoming an atheist. Being unable to
fathom godlessness is a personality trait of sorts, like having
an addictive personality or being color blind. There's just no possibility
of comprehending the idea of "no God". Thus we are all Satanists.*
Bob Smith interview with Joe Pachinko of Las
Vegas City Life
Jan. 3, 2003.
God, this one's cool with me, he let me into his life
and I took away all his sin when I died. So let him in
put this in the catagory "hate mail". Which is ironic....
because I'm going to care enough to talk with you. You say
that everyone who is not Christian will go to hell. Well,
you are right. Its a fact. You say with bitterness, that God
will not save us, and will even send us to hell, if we don't
listen to him and except him. So you see God as some bully
forcing you to do something. And, I'm guessing, your not the
kind of person that responds well to authority. So let me
help out your prospective; one that I'm sure Satan greatly
admires. It isn't that God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit will
send you to hell. You will send yourself to hell. God simply
can not save you if you die in your sin. That is why he sent
his Son to die for us. Jesus is the bridge between man and
God. Jesus is the one who says "Yo God, this one's cool with
me, he let me into his life and I took away all his sin when
I died. So let him in yo." If you don't accept Jesus, He!
can't save you. And maybe you've had a bad life, and your
one of those people that say, "Oh well if there is a God,
he wouldnt do this and this and this. And if there is a God
he's a @$$ for letting it happen." Well, you'd be right if
he was the only one in the picture. But your wrong because
achivment was convincing the world he didn't exsist. He works
in your life too, and I'm sure he likes chilling with you.
Did you know not one thing in the Bible can be disproven?
And if Jesus really didn't perform these miricles, how come
not one person spoke out and said it was a trick?
How come the Bible
knows things that people back then couldn't possibly know.
Man I could go on forever. But I'll spare you in this "hate
mail". I want you to know that I love you, and that Jesus
loves you and wants you. Corny as that may sound. So just
think about this. You are going to die. Fact. So you have
2 choices. One, you are right, I am wrong, there is nothing
when we die. Or two. There is a Holy God. Which answer is
the best one to die having? I will pray for you.... please
don't shrug it off. God can do so much with your life. More
importantly, after your life. Because nothing, NOTHING in
life matters once you die.
may well have the most Christian web-site on the internet!
It's ironic; with
how much love for God you have on this site, you may well
have the most Christian web-site on the internet! I want to
thank you; I've written you 2 emails already and my faith
and love for Christ has soared. I hope one day you'll see
"we" (as in christians) are not the idiots you think we are.
Love the sinner, hate the sin. I encourage you to write me.....
ask me anything, please. You say you can prove God wrong,
and I say I can prove him right. If him leaving a book of
truth behind for you to read dosen't suit you, then Satan
is doing summer-salts right now.
Love in Christ,
As much as I'd
love to be considered THE most Christian web site on the Internet
(and the publicity that'd follow) I know quite a few people
who'd avidly disagree with you. Truth is, I do love God. I
love Him, Jesus, Satan and all of their stories. They're the
greatest characters ever invented and I can't get enough of
them! And I don't like to be blatantly labeled so your diagnosis
of me is a breath of fresh air. Hell, I've always dreamed
of getting mentioned by a tele-evangelist! Do you think that
fits into your theory somehow as well?
Now you'd think
that because no one in the Bible ever spoke out against Jesus
and exposed His trickery that this would be impressive evidence
as to the Bible's validity, but unfortunately the Bible was
not written by people who were actually there at the time
and the Bible is not an open debate. It's a one-sided argument
with an agenda.
And you know that
I could easily tell you that the Bible has been disproved
when it was revealed that dinosaurs existed before humans
ever did and the universe has been proven to be billions of
years old and not 10,000 like the Bible's time line shows.
But you'll just come back telling me that those are all illusions
manifested by Satan.
So now that you've
shown me what an idiot you're not maybe you could answer me
this; You've already explained how I am a part of God's plan
to deliver His message on my "most Christian web site" so
why are you trying to convince me to change my ways? Your
faith has soared since you've visited, and you've clearly
exposed the love I've got for God. Please don't tell me that
your letters have just been a futile attempt at reverse psychology...
or even worse blatant lies to trick me into doubting my own
I think that perhaps
it is you that Satan is doing somersaults for because you've
just thrown a wrench into God's ultimate plan for me. You've
got some explaining to do now Mr. Know-it-all.