I've read through a lot of your hate mail recently, and I really liked it. It was very funny, and often surprisingly clever; most people wouldn't spend so much time thinking up good answers to such stupid questions. Well done.
Anyway, I noticed that one question you often asked was how anyone could enjoy heaven when people were suffering in hell for eternity. Well, I asked one of my (Christian) friends that question earlier today and, much to my dismay, he answered: "We'd be changed, we'd be different people."
That's quite possibly one of the most horrible things I've ever heard. When I imagine the worst possible thing that could happen to me, that is what think of, and he considers it paradise. I'm at a loss as to how to respond.
If you could think up an answer, that would be great, and if not, well, at least now you know the answer to that question you ask so often.
Thanks either way,
You see, I've always known that there are many answers Christians have for that question. The thing I like about it is, they're all awful!
I've heard, "Once in heaven you know longer care about the loved ones you had in this life."
Also, "You continue to love those in hell. You always grieve for them, but you also must move on."
And my favorite, "Your mind is wiped of those you loved here on earth, because God said he would wipe the tears from our eyes because there is no sadness allowed in heaven!"
You see, part of my responsibility as a web host is to entertain. And I've found hardly anything entertains more than the splendid answers to that question from those who're certain they're destined for paradise, even if it's at everyone else's expense.
Thank you for your email.
More hate mail to come.
|The following letters are a continuation from Jesmond on the previous page.
|“If something provokes violence, it is both the artist and the belief that are to blame.”
Ah Bob, so we've reached it, the classic atheistic "logic". I have heard so many people argue in terms of logic when they argue against God. Yet your perspective on Jesus is a sad new low of understanding.
Do you love someone Bob? A wife? A girlfriend? (Maybe even a husband?) Surely there is someone in your life whom you love deeply. Your parents even? Or maybe you have children? Now imagine that this person you love so deeply was going to die. For whatever reason, they were facing certain death. And then you discover that you and only you can save them, but only if you lay down your own life, and die in their place. Would you do it Bob? You needn't answer me but answer yourself. Would you die to save someone you love...?
You see this is the real mission of Jesus. Jesus died to save us. Is that reprehensible? If a mother laid down her life for her child, would you call that a "annihilation of justice"?
Regarding your game, I have realised by now that you will not take it down no matter what I say. And indeed it was your insult that brought us to this exchange. Yet I believe there are many other forms of website you could design which would better illustrate the deep subtext you claim that your game is providing. I have come across many atheist-Christian discussion pages, and many pages that create fruitful religious dialogue in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
However I disagree that the artist is innocent of people's reactions to his work. If something provokes violence, it is both the artist and the belief that are to blame. I just find it strange now, that a man such as yourself who seems well-read and smart, would create something so vulgar and disrespectful. To be honest, when I sent that first email to you, I expected the reply to come from a 14 year old kid whose defence would be "But it's funny!"
As much as I am a firm believer in Christ, I also believe in respect for all people. I respect what people chose to believe and though I may not agree that a certain deity exists or not, I would not actively create something which insults what a group of people hold dear.
And be careful Bob, you can bogged down in your logic. Some of the greatest in life are completely illogical!
I think you might have to explain to me how Jesus living in paradise forever & ever and being crowned King of the Universe is a sacrifice. My loved ones dying for me would be a true sacrifice. I understand that. But I don't see how God or Jesus made any sort of a sacrifice at all if they both get to be together in heaven for eternity. Is this me being illogical again? Please explain how someone who lives forever is sacrificing anything by going through the motions of death then goes on continuing to live. Not only to live, but actually living better than they did before the pretend death!
You and I are clearly on different pages if you don't think the first person to act out violently is the obvious guilty party. You see them as equal? The person who might say, write or draw something offensive is just as guilty as the person who acts out violently against him or her? You're seriously putting violence on the same level as anything someone can write, draw or say?
What if the artist makes something that offends only one person, and that one person kills the artist? Still 50/50 blame? This in my opinion is a perfect example of how your beliefs have skewed your morality. The importance of your belief is above human well being.
There isn't anything someone could write or draw that'd constitute a violent response. Believe me Jesmond, I've been on the receiving end of some of the worst insults you could imagine, and there's never been anything anyone could write, draw or say that'd legitimize me acting out violently. Never once have I reacted violently to someone's insults, and it wasn't the least bit difficult to keep myself from doing so.
Unlike you, I see no excuse for violence.
|“According to the laws of legal evidence used in courts of law, there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history.”
Dr. Simon Greenleaf, Harvard University”
Well Bob, I discovered your full website the other day. From our exchange I had imagined you as a reasonable human being who is interested in the subject of belief. However upon seeing your website I have seen the real you. The man who runs the website is not an intellectual, he is a child. He is not open-minded, his mind is locked in tiny, tiny cell. He is not reasonable, he is condescending.
The 500 pages of hate mail are really something. I read through a few. Some of them are extremists I will admit. But most of them make very good points. I like that you have put our exchange up, maybe some people who read it will see my points. Thank you for highlighting my best points to for ease!
So Bob, having seen how set in your ways you are I fear I cannot help you. After 500 pages of advice you still remain stubborn and close-minded. So I am ending our exchange Bob. Having said that Bob, it is time I set aside trying to meet you on level ground. All along I have been speaking to you with an open mind, wondering what arguments you could throw at me that might change my faith. Turns out it was none. So now I speak to you from the heart, as the follower of God that I am. So Bob, if you truly consider yourself to be the open-minded, intellectual you profess to be, then you will listen to what I have to say. A true atheist seeker of knowledge would listen to what I have to say and then examine their conscience deeply and conclude their own opinion.
In relation to the "historical Jesus" point I made a while ago, which some guy called nonsense that Christian's spout; there is a world of evidence for the historical man that is Jesus. I'm sorry Bob but if you do not believe that a man named Jesus lived 2000 years ago and made huge waves in the middle east, right down through the ages; then you are plain and simple wrong. There is more evidence (evidence that is NOT the Bible!) for Jesus, than there is for Plato, Homer, Socrates, the Egyptians, even a lot of events from the American Revolution. This is not slander. This is fact Bob. I believe in evolution because it has been proven fact. We must be willing to accept facts. For example:
"Dr. Simon Greenleaf (Harvard University - one of the greatest professors of Law in U.S. history) once said: "According to the laws of legal evidence used in courts of law, there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history."
You see Bob, while atheists always claim believing to be the stupid option, it is actually not believing that makes the least sense! Why?
Well lets examine the Bible as a mythology as you claim. It was not true - it is simple a story. Ok fine. Well let's investigate that then with what we know about it:
2000 years ago, paper was a commodity, most people were illiterate. Mythologies were told by word of mouth. There was no tradition of written mythologies in Jerusalem during Jesus's time. It simply wasn't done! The writing of books back then was for official records and historians. Nobody could afford to get the paper and ink to write a fairy tale! Why would they waste their money?!
But supposing they somehow acquired the vast quantities of paper and writing utensils needed - a group of fisherman and carpenters then came together 2000 years ago, and agreed on the details of their fictional story. They researched the entire religious history as far back as possible to ensure that their main character, Jesus, would fulfil every single prophecy that was written by the ancient teachers.
And now the best part - they separated!!! They all went their separate ways and some wrote the story then, while other waited decades and then wrote the same story in a completely different location!
And better yet, when they received terrible accusations for their work and were arrested and brought before the Jewish leaders, they maintained that it was true. That this story they made up was the truth. When they were tortured, they still claim it to be true! Even to the point of death, the claim their fairy tale to be true! Now I suppose it could be plausible that one lunatic could die for a story he wrote. But Bob, how many died professing this Jesus as the truth...? All of them.
It seems that these guys really wanted everyone to believe their fairy tale. Why? What reasonable excuse could there be for so many men to die for a fictional character they made up?
Well you could say they were insane, they wanted to make their stamp on history etc etc etc. But let's go by one of the primary laws of logic and science on this one, Occam's Razor - "The simplest solution is usually the best one!" - They were telling the truth. It was NOT a fairy tale it was real, it really happened! Now doesn't this make a lot more sense?!
Would JRR Tolkein die because he thought Lord of the Rings to be true...? No novelist would ever die for their fabrication!
Yet I fear you may be so stubborn you will not listen to me no matter what I say. Only God can save you now. Remember that you are NEVER too far away from God to turn back. If you are truly sorry, God will accept you back. I have actually witnessed the story of someone such as yourself who was far down the wrong path, they ran an expansive porn website that was making lots of money, yet having being rescued by God, they destroyed their website and created a website dedicated to Jesus.
This is the transformative power of God, Bob. It is never too late.
After finding your website I was sad for you, I despaired to see someone turn so far from the truth. When I felt a calling to read my Bible and so opened Romans 1, the letter for St Paul (yet another example of someone who persecuted Christians and converted to become one of the greatest Christians ever) to the early Christians in Rome. Wow, did this letter open my eyes! It was about you Bob. Here is the passage from this letter which is so relevant now:
" The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."
It's about you Bob, I pray that you will see! If you are truly feeling strong in your atheism, read this - http://evidenceforchristianity.blogspot.ie/2009/01/8-really-good-reasons-why-christianity.html
So Bob I have tried and tried to help you. I have answered the call I felt in my heart with all I could. It is up to God now. But if even after reading this you still remain in the dark of atheism, then don't bother replying to me. I don't want to hear your condescension. There are people I can help without wasting my time.
However if by God's Will you ever do convert, please email me, I would love to welcome you as a brother!
God bless you Bob. I truly mean that.
PS I will leave you will this one question which I want you to think on. Really think on this question deeply.
"What if you're wrong?"
It seems simple but its implications are vast. Your knowledge is that of 1 man on a planet of 7 billion, not to mention all the generations gone before us. Picture this visually as a graph for a minute. Now is it not reasonable to conclude that God could exist outside of your knowledge...?
So what if you're wrong?
Well for me:
If I am right, I will live forever in glory with the Creator of the Universe! But if I am wrong, I live a good life, doing my best to help others with a heart full of love. And then when I die, I'm dead. I will know nothing. I'll just be dead. Makes no difference.
If you are right, you live life to your own rules, helping whoever you want, insulting people for "art," you live your life and you die. You're dead. Worm food. Makes no difference to you. Gone forever.
But if you are wrong: You die, you face your Maker, the entity that created the entire Universe who asks you why you so vehemently preached against Him all your life? And then depending on His Judgement you could face eternal torment.
I pray God will reveal His Light to you Bob.
Well Jesmond, after reading what you wrote, I'm consoled by this article I just read on how belief in God among youth has plummeted, immensely.
I've come to learn that the bogusness you've got dribbling up and down in your brain is becoming as transparent to everyone else as is it to me, here, now.
You present a quote that says "there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history."
That statement doesn't strike you as a bit odd? The fact that there are no writings by Jesus, which immediately puts him behind any historical figures whose writings exist, doesn't weigh in on this quote? No accounts of Jesus or his resurrection written during his lifetime? That doesn't effect you one way or the other? All accounts of Jesus being passed down as stories, then written about decades after he died, that doesn't open up a huge window of question to his authenticity? I know of MANY historical figures who've been written about by others during their life! That seems to give way more credit to them than your Jesus.
What's surprising to me is you're the one calling me stubborn & close-minded when I'm answering all of your questions and giving very reasonable responses to your arguments, which you then ignore and move to the next topic. Believe me, I am in no way trying or expecting to change your faith. I have learned after 12 years of this that there is no changing a belief based on faith with reasonable arguments. The whole platform of faith-based belief is to ignore reason, evidence, and logical thought. It's more of a circular reasoning based solely on believing despite all else. That's faith - Believing despite all else. There's no reasoning anyone out of that.
No. The goal for me is to get everyone else on the sidelines listening. It's to change the minds of the ones reading the dialog to come to their own conclusions. That's the point, Jesmond. And I'm happy to say it's working. What if I'm wrong? Seriously? Another easily addressed riddle. Jesmond, what if you're wrong about Ganesh? There. The terror and dread pulsating through your bloodstream right now reflects exactly what I feel when asked the same by you. You now comprened my concern.
Do you really wonder why people want so badly to believe the fairy tale? Does it really boggle your mind that mortal, fearful humans fight to the death for a false promise? It's fear of death, Jes. The realization that life is temporary has no problem invoking the tribalism pulsating through our veins and make anyone throughout history, around the world, willing to suffer and die for a religious belief. It's not rocket science. It's common sense.
If I am right I live life to the fullest and learn how to manage myself, then pass that knowledge onto others so that they may fully live and manage too. However, if I am wrong, and Ganesh is indeed Lord & Savior, we will both be squashed under his giant elephant foot until our brains squirt out into a mushy soup to be fed to Kali from a golden challis through a bendy straw.
You better hedge your bets.
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