I spent the Easter holiday in Chicago at the American
Atheists Convention where I had been invited to speak.
It was my first time ever
speaking in front of a live audience and, quite frankly I have to
say that I impressed myself!
people have already requested a transcript of my presentation but
fact is it was all completely improvised. It's true. It wasn't written
out (except for the hate mail I read) and I'm embarrassed to admit
that I hardly remember any of what I said.
I was introduced by the lovely Ellen Johnson the President of The
American Atheists, I started sweating, I explained how it was my
first time doing this, my horns fell off, I read hate mail then
answered questions... and I split.
the whole thing was videoed. Maybe I can get some sort of transcript
off of that when I get my copy.
telling about why I converted, how I told my parents about it all,
what happened when they actually saw the site I'd made... and honestly
I forget what else I said.
through hate mail seven minutes before my presentation
hate mail until I started stumbling over my words, then people started
lining up in the aisle to ask me questions. Before I knew it my
hour had passed and I fled the stage.
if anyone out there has any recollection of what I said, opinions
of how I was, or pictures from the hour I spoke please send
it to me!
there were really good to me. I realized that never before had I
been surrounded by so many atheists, as well as so many people who'd
heard of me. I really enjoyed myself and I asked Ellen to invite
me back again.
Bob, I was one of the many Atheist that saw your presentation
at the convention. I enjoyed it very much and am a bit surprised
that it was your first time in front of an audience, it seemed
to go quite well.
believe that a transcript of all the speakers well be published
in the next newsletter or addition of the AA Magazine, that
has been the past practice anyway.
sorry you couldn't keep your horns on, but around that many
Atheist halos, horn and other such things have little chance
I may be so bold I might suggest presenting the Hate Mail
as a Power Point presentation, half the fun is seeing how
these people write! Of course the best part of the whole thing
are your replies which got the biggest response from the audience.
really enjoy your site and am anxiously awaiting the arrival
of my Magnetic
Read some of the write ups:
you know that he died in total agony for you!!!!!!!!!!??????
Subject: A teenager
Hello!!!!! I happen to be a christian and a dress up Jesus
site is sooooooooo wrong. Did you know that he died in total
agony for you!!!!!!!!!!?????? Think about it. e-mail me back
and I would be happy to tell you more about Him.
It was actually
a pretty quick death considering. I heard that with crucifixion
you can die within an hour. Surprising I know!
I also heard that
the people who go to hell suffer like double what a crucifixion
feels like. Those are the real heroes if you ask me.
have a strong belief that we are all here for a reason
and that what we do here matters.
I noticed the "your
prayers did nothing" in the upper right hand corner of the
I've been surprised
at how powerful prayers can be.
I personally prayed
to God to show me who he was when I was about 21 years old.
For a long time,
I didn't think he had heard the prayer, and eventually I didn't
know if I believed in God or not.
Then one day, I
was sitting at my computer working on a project, when I noticed
a book sitting on a shelf at my parents house.
I walked over and
picked it up. It was called "Embraced by The Light."
I flipped it open,
and was riveted from the first page. I couldn't put it down.
I read it straight through.
Some would say
it is a new age book. But it is a book about a near-death
experience by a lady who is Catholic. She was recovering from
surgery in a hospital bed when she left her body in the middle
of the night. She went to heaven and got to see and understand
how everything "works." She was told it was not her time to
die and that she had to come back. She remembers most of her
experience in heaven and has been writing and speaking about
it. She can't wait to go back to heaven. And she has no fear
Now at age 38,
God has answered my prayer. I was about 26 or 27 when I read
that book. I went back to church and started helping with
the youth group. My understanding of my path on earth and
my purpose is not crystal clear, but I have a strong belief
that we are all here for a reason and that what we do here
I can say that
God may pick his time to answer, but He will answer. And he
will not dissapoint those who love him.
Good luck with
your path. God loves you!
I too have read
"Embraced by the Light" and I also once considered it evidence
as to the existence of an afterlife. This was back when I
was in my twenties and at that time the book blew me away
as well. However, now that I am 33 and now that I've had sufficiently
more life experience I've come to understand that people are
extremely gullible. Not just you and me but other people too...
including those who have had one of these "Near Death Experiences".
Mike, when you
die your brain is affected. Your brain is what you experience
everything through. EVERYTHING! I believe that the dramatic
stories that Betty J. Eadie told in her book were construed
in a brain that was dying. I believe that Betty's preexisting
fear of death contributed to this experience. That coupled
with a human being's own feelings of self importance offers
up another much more reasonable explanation for what happened
Yes, it is our
selfish, self righteous, self indulgent nature that leaves
the door open for these fantasies to blow in. As much as religion
struggles to convince people that a belief in God is a humble,
meek act nothing could be farther from the truth.
like "I have a strong belief that we are all here for a
reason and that what we do here matters" that reveals
how important we all want to be, and Betty wants very very
badly to be important too. God showed her how everything up
in Heaven works and selected her to return back to earth so
that she could write her book and sell it for $16.95 on her
web site... and then follow it up with the Embraced
by the Light series... videos, cassettes and much much more.
Maybe we should
worship her as the closest thing we've got to the next messiah?
Mike, you are just
as anxious to be chosen by God as Betty is. Your delusions
that He is communicating to you through her 15 minutes of
fame is just a continuation of that selfish need to feel special.
I've got it too Mike, but I know how to separate it from my
You said you've
been surprised by how powerful prayers can be? Are you telling
me that saying a prayer to God asking Him to show Himself
to you then 5 or 6 years later you saw a book on a shelf as
an answer to that prayer impressed you? Perhaps Mike you should
write a book about your miraculous sign from above? You could
call it "I Prayed, then 5 or 6 years later I saw a book
on a shelf which was put there by God as an Answer to that
Prayer" (I checked and that URL is still available if
you wanted to open an online e-store).
are brave to put everything out there on the internet.
I read through
the site. Looks like you put alot of work into it. It is no
fun when Faith becomes a source of agony. I bet you are a
member of Fundamentalists Anonymous (if it still exists).
Believe it or not,
I had a similar experience with my faith. I can't fault you
for your outlook or your response. Hell in many ways makes
no sense. Especially for someone like you because it is obvious
you are a very goodhearted person.
As far as Hell,
there may be a few who have earned it - but probably not as
many as some black and white Christians think. You are brave
to put everything out there on the internet. I bet you have
had a lot of feedback from people who stumble across it.
If you are interested,
I would be happy to share with you my beliefs. We could compare
notes on the break we both have made from the insanity inducing
side of fundamentalism.