would like to share with you a bit about the letters on the
or not to post them has been something I've been dealing with
for the past week. You see, the letter is from my parent's
pastor. As you may already have read, he has taken great issue
with my website. He also very clearly has something against
a perfect stranger (we met once after one of his church services),
his opinion of me means absolutely nothing. Despite having
a closer connection than most who email me their judgments,
Pastor Bob jumped to the same conclusions that so many before
concern is for my parents. I want to make it absolutely clear
that I love my parents a great deal, I have no ill feelings
towards them and I know that they want only the best for me
and are there to help me however possible.
what I could for as long as I could to keep my parents away
from the site, while at the same time making them aware of
what I was doing and how I felt.
taken it upon himself to send me this email, so after much
deliberation, consulting with my friends and family, I have
taken it upon myself to post Pastor Bob's letter and my response.
is no reason I can think of why he would not want his words
to be heard and his position on the matter made absolutely
clear... and the same goes for me. In fact, there will probably
be a sermon regarding all of this at some point. I can only
see this getting more interesting so, as always your
opinions are welcome.
do I think, Bob?
think that Pastor Bob went to your website, glanced at the front
page, and then wrote an email not even closely describing your feelings
about religion. Then condemning you for your opinions that he didn't
investigate nearly enough.
noticed that the feeling of the letter, the sentiment is that Pastor
Bob has pegged you to be a "self-loathing, guilted, shamed" person
and blind to your own feelings of insignificance and desperation.
That he would extract that from your website tells me more about
Pastor Bob than you, for it is very inaccurate. It seems more the
assumption he has in general about people not requiring the crutch
of religion, and that may be how he perceives strong, free thinking
people that have their own opinions. That leads me to skip ahead
a bit, I almost choked when P.B. wrote that you were not your own
man, and that you let others do your thinking for you. How does
that make any sense at all? You did your own thinking, and came
up with decision that there was no god! Meanwhile, the pastor has
jumped on the biggest bandwagon of them all, how does he describe
his beliefs as original and claim he does his thinking for himself?
He then speaks of people he went to while looking for valid evidence.
After telling you to think for yourself.
evidence. There is no valid evidence either way. Stating that if
Jesus is who he says he is, then God is real, should not be proof
for anyone. There are no logical reasons why it might be true. It's
absolutely insane to believe it to be true, which explains the Pastor's
email. It bothers me that the email in question seems to be powered
by emotion and a bit of anger, yet the Pastor disapproves of your
emotion regarding the matter of disbelief. It doesn't seem fair
that you shouldn't feel strongly about your beliefs.
always wonder if Christians get angry at the content on your site
because it threatens their shaky world, or if they are simply offended
by the dress-up Jesus. It must be hard to defend Christian beliefs
due to the fact that there is nothing to support them up. I suppose
that makes them feel backed into a corner from the start. And the
anger the pastor speaks of. I get angry because brainwashing from
birth seems unfair. And to those that get halfway through their
lives and "find god" probably never found themselves up to that
point. I think THAT'S sad. That you (Normal Bob) got to a stage
(after the brainwashing) and started thinking for yourself because
religion wasn't the comfort many claim it to be, is applaudable.
You didn't accept the easy way out, simply because it didn't make
sense. So maybe that unbelievable joy and happiness people speak
of when they let "Jesus into their hearts", is actually the feeling
of sanity, concern and responsibility lifting away. I suppose that
would feel great, the descent into an alternate reality where everything's
going to be okay. When I was a kid, I pretended I was in the cartoons
and I hung out with Yosemite Sam and hunted Care Bears. But at least
I knew it wasn't real.
Christianity should be appealing because it's about relationships
and caring, Pastor Bob? And does this not occur without religion?!
And it all comes down to that "love relationship with God". The
point I think Pastor Bob misses, is that if there is no belief of
god, then developing a love for him can't be done. Forget about
hell, hate and shame (which I could argue IS part of Christianity).
It does not mean living a life without love, but a life developing
real loving relationships which are usually imperfect in many ways,
but genuine. That means more to me if only experienced for one day
than loving god for a lifetime. Pastor Bob's letter seemed more
about making you feel hate and shame rather than the "love" of "God",
Bob. And I don't think you'll ever feel insignificant! The
Damned mentioned you in an interview!
Wed, 13 Mar 2002
Have you heard
any word back from your response to Pastor Bob's letter? I think
this is a very interesting side to the entire website. This really
adds a whole new dimension to everything you have accomplished on
here because we "know" Normal Bob Smith, but now we are meeting
a more personal side to the site.
confirms that you are a human just like the rest of us instead of
a Famous Web Guru. If there is more communication between the 2
Bobs are you going to faithfully post it? I think you have handled
the entire letter and issue with great taste, while debating even
Wow, great material
Bob!!! I will be watching for a follow-up response and retort.
Thanks for the hours I have spent here.
10 Mar 2002 14:26:30 -0500
for Jesus, everything hinges on him. After all, if he
claims to be who he says he is, then God is for real.
Dear Normal Bob,
Your site is quite
remarkable. I glanced at some of your musings and thought
I would make a few observations.
First of all,
you have no "valid evidence" for what appears to
be a hardcore slam against the Christian Religion. I emphasize
the word "Religion" since you don't seem to have
a clue as to what Christianity is about. But you got yourself
real stuck on religion "preaching damnation to a sick
and twisted world in the name of God (my only companion)..."
(Your only companion? Where did that come from? Your cynicism
is not really about God, Bob. Its about your own insignificance.}
But back to religion...
Religion is about all the games and the formal ritual and
the shame and guilt and self-loathing people practice in the
name of God, hoping to really make him their closest companion.
(These last three items should ring bells since you are clearly
overflowing with them. I wonder why? Who made you feel so
poorly about yourself that you should become so histrionic
and narcissisticso desperately needy so as to use "I
spit in your face" approaches to try and get attention?
Really, you are not nearly so offensive as you are blind to
your own desperation and also profoundly saddening.)
Back to religion.
You know what it looks like in its darkest outfit. But nothing
on your site would indicate you know anything at all about
Christianity. And after reading about how much you love humanity
I would think that true Christianity would be very appealing.
After all, its all about relationships, and caring. Its real
simple Bob. Christianity says that Jesus has done everything
for you that needs to be done in order to have a love relationship
with God. It has nothing to do with preaching hell and hate
Ah... but I just
remembered. God ate your balls. First off, God doesn't
care about your balls. Secondly if someone ate them it had
more to do with you than anyone else. Your really need to
stop blaming things on others. Finally, sorry to disappoint
you, but you are a lousy and exceedingly ignorant theologian.
You need to learn about the things you are going to criticize.
Then you might have a little credibility with people who think.
For example, you
don't believe in the existence of God. OK. That would explain
why you don't have a notion of how the Bible explains Him.
All you have is a shallow popular version which I choke on
just as much as you. As for the Bible... have you ever looked
at some the LOGICAL reasons it might actually be true? I don't
think you have the guts to do it. As for Jesus, everything
hinges on him. After all, if he claims to be who he says he
is, then God is for real. Once again, maybe you should look
at the logical reasons why he might be who he says he is.
But I don't believe you can, Your emotions run you too much.
Logic is just a nice word you happened to find in the street
Back to the bit
about "valid evidence and experience". Come on Bob!
Valid experience? Based on what? Experience is purely relative
at best, and never entirely trustworthy. Any philosopher worth
his salt will tell you that. You need to study the failure
of logical positivism. Besides that, if you are going to let
your personal experiences with religion have this much impact
on you then its very obvious that others in your life are
dictating your belief system to you. Think Bob! Think! Don't
let other's do your thinking for you. When someone reacts
as violently as you have its no mystery as to who is running
your life. And it isn't you.
And what's this
word "valid"? The last time I went looking for valid
evidence regarding the person of Jesus and the truth of Genuine
Christianity I went to people who have actually weighed things
out thoughtfully rather than emotionally. Good grief Bob!
Get yourself on some good antidepressants. Then go get an
honest assessment done by people like Josh McDowel or C.S.
Lewis, or someone else worthy of your attention. If you'd
spend a little time honestly dealing with your anger, your
manipulation by other's opinions and versions of religion
(You are not your own man Bob. Time to self-differentiate.),
and reading up on apologetics, you might surprise yourself
about how good life can actually feel.
From one Bob to
Wed, 13 Mar 2002 06:23:57 -0600
Let me begin by
saying I am surprised at the way you've chosen to confront
me on this matter. As a pastor, a therapist and a leader I'd
expect you to put your emotions and ego aside and address
me in a calmer state instead of attacking me personally.
You said that you
glanced at some of the musings on my site, then you followed
that up with "nothing on your site would indicate that you
know anything about religion." You have clearly not looked
at much of my site, and that which you did you did not do
with an open mind. You have made an extremely naive evaluation
of me, and now I have to correct you.
In your letter
you've got me overflowing with shame, guilt and self loathing.
You think that I've blamed others for my problems (perhaps
even a God that I believe doesn't exist). You've assumed that
others have dictated my belief system to me, in fact I think
you've even alluded to Satan himself. And to round things
off you think that I'm depressed (needing anti depressant
medication), and angry... violently so. All of these ugly,
careless assumptions you've made are a blind assessment, knee-jerk
reaction of who you think I must be. It's very disturbing.
shame, guilt and self loathing? None of these could be further
from the truth. I post everything I believe for all to see,
critique and even judge. Dare I say I am shameless? Pastor
Bob, I'd think you'd know the difference between shame and
I have never felt
better about myself, what I stand for, what I believe and
who I am as a human being. It is the fuel behind all I have
done. I feel no guilt for these things, but I am aware that
you think I should. I am trustworthy, honest, hard-working
and open to discuss anything about myself and the things I've
done. My website and this response to you are perfect examples
I blame no one
for anything. If you're referring to the "God ate my balls"
statement, I was being sarcastic. Once again, I do not believe
God exists. Do you believe me yet?
I have also stated
on my site several times that I do not have hard feelings
towards Christians nor do I regret being raised Christian.
I understand why people believe, it just doesn't make sense
to me as an adult.
I can assure you
that I do not have these beliefs being dictated to me from
outside forces. I take great pride in the search I've conducted,
looking for truth, sense and purpose. The letter you've written
to me reeks of intimidating words and demeaning accusations.
Talk about dictating a belief system, your methods speak volumes
Lastly you see
me as depressed and angry. This is proof enough that you have
not looked at my site and know nothing about me. These last
two years have been the best of my life. I'm doing everything
that I enjoy (art, writing, expressing my thoughts and defending
my beliefs). What could be better? I'm more confident than
I've ever thought possible, I'm making friends, meeting girls
and I've got nothing to hide. How about you?
Now back to religion.
What you see as a hard-core slam on religion (your knee-jerk
reaction) is really comedy, making fun and criticizing. There
is nothing wrong with these things. If you would really read
my site you'd see that it is not violent or angry. You need
to relax, put aside your prejudices and recognize the care
and struggle I've put into this. I've gotten many emails from
Christians who get it.
I truly care about
humanity. It is more valuable than anything else... especially
religion. If Christianity were simply about love for humanity,
I'd repent. But Christianity also requires believing that
God exists... and I do not. Pastor Bob, despite what you believe,
it is possible to think there is no God and still be able
to love. You really think very little of atheists don't you?
You and I both
know why faith is the key ingredient to the Christian religion.
If God could be proven then faith wouldn't be an issue. Good
grief, do you think I was thrilled when I concluded that Heaven
wasn't real? Of course I've got the guts to listen to valid
evidence. In the end however, you're asking me (and the world)
to worship a supreme being somewhere out there based on the
promise of a book written thousands of years ago by people
who didn't even have first hand knowledge of Christ.
My purpose for
the web site is self-expression and the opportunity to engage
in dialogue about this issue. Believe it or not, I welcome
feedback from people with opposing views. It challenges me
to keep reevaluating my beliefs, and frankly, it can also
be quite funny.
I once was at a
sermon of yours where a gentleman stood up and asked if you
could pray for a friend of his whose son moved to California
and left the Christian faith for another religion. You asked
He replied "Well not exactly a cult but it isn't the Christian
You assured him "It sounds like a cult. It's a cult. We'll
pray for him."
You jump to conclusions before weighing the facts, you stereotype,
accuse and soapbox. Subsequently your opinion carries very
little weight with me.
I don't claim to
be an authority on Christianity or atheism. I'm not out to
convert anyone to my point of view. My opinions are the product
of my personal experience with Christianity. As for my "histrionics,
narcissism, desperate need, insignificance, lack of logic,
anger, manipulation by others," etc., etc., etc... All I can
say is that my sense of humor and your sense of humor are
clearly not simpatico.
I'm curious as
to the real purpose of your letter. Was it to instruct or
was it simply to lash out at me?