How do you respond when your parent's pastor writes you an angry email?

Very carefully.

Pastor Bob Part 2
His email is in blue. Mine are in black and white.

Hail Bob,
I just read hatemail page 67 with the letter from your parents' pastor. Really good stuff there. His letter really highlights the "holier than thou" attitude, and "I know that you are a miserable, hate-filled lost soul" stereotype that so many hardcore bible thumpers seem to operate with. Your response was level-headed, respectful and even-handed. Very good material, definitely continuing the trend of elevating the quality of the site. The fact that its such a personal connection for you, and that you share it, really adds a level of connection with the readers.

Specific comment on the page:
I cannot tolerate the abuse of logic that christians use to "support" their arguments. This line in the middle of the letter really makes me desire insanity to take over, so things will seem normal: "After all, if he [Jesus] claims to be who he says he is, then God is for real."

Am I reading this right??? Doesn't this say, "If he claims to be who he claims to be, then God is real"? I re-read the paragraph and do not think it is out of context when standing on its own. This is NOT an example of a logical argument. Hey Bob, I can shoot lightning bolts out of my eyes. Its true, so I'd appreciate it if you would start letting your readers know that there is a guy in CA that CAN REALLY SHOOT LIGHTNING BOLTS FROM HIS EYES! Its true, because I claimed it to be true. Bite me. lol.

Lastly, Ive been reading your site from week 3 roughly. I can tell from what Ive read that you are compassionate, passionate, and considerate person. The fact that this pastor does not understand this, shows A) His lack of willingness to take more than a cursory view the site before judging your character. B) His inability to honestly perceive the character of others that fall outside of his "how you should live to be judged a good person" definition. The real topper is that I thought the judging was to be done by God, not the pastors. WTF is up with him judging you and claiming to be a christian? I think the pastor may be stepping out of the hierarchal structural line there. Can't be a good sign when the preachers are taking on god's direct responsibilities. Heck, next they will be creating new creatures and resurrecting the dead. : )

Anyways, Keep up the good work,
Alan Smith

My Grandfather came across your site the other day while researching a sermon on Atheism. (He's a Protestant vicar and he kicks arse...)

The views of Pastor Bob sent him into paroxysms of laughter and rage. (Quite scary to behold actually... I've never seen him get so worked up!) He couldn't believe that a guy so narrow-minded is a vicar!

"Turning round and saying the man needs medication through the faceless medium of E-mail! Unforgivable!" (verbatim.)

I mean, my Da has some strong opinions on Religion and Christianity, (He wouldn't be a vicar if he didn't right?)but his views are mainly a result of him being a counselor to the soldiers that took Hiroshima a couple of weeks after they dropped the bomb. He fervently believes that freedom of thought was God's gift to Man and has no trouble whatsoever with any other religion/belief-system.

Grandad says Pastor Bob needs to get out more because quite a lot of young(-ish) people (myself included)that were raised as Christian but now don't believe in God.

And anyway, I always thought that tolerance was a Christian watchword? Turn the other cheek and all that.

Keep up the good work! Your site rocks!
Richard Mannning

Wed, 20 Mar 2002 08:45:21 -0500
Here's what I am curious about with you: Why?”

Dear Bob,
Nice job. Couple of things: First of all, I had no desire to exercise my ego. I wrote in order to challenge you to think things through as well as feel things through. And that was actually the reason. I gather I failed. But ho-hum, so be it.

Did I respond emotionally? Of course I did. But we are talking about emotional issues. Besides, your site is loaded with your own emotions, so why apologize for mine.

I dislike atheists? Dear me, but we had better clear this one up. In undergrad my closest buddy was a raving atheist. In grad school I did research with an atheist who I thought highly of. And my best friend of 30 years was an atheist up until about 10 years ago. Now he is an agnostic, bless his heart. I also admire some of Bertrand Russel's work (not sure I've got that spelled right). But to be honest Bob, I don't believe any of them were, or are, true atheists. I don't believe you are either. They, and yoiu may be pissed off at God. I'll buy that. But a true atheist, by definition, believes God to be a non-entity; a nonsense notion not worth spending time on. Why expend energy reacting to something which has no impact on reallity? A true atheist will say, and mean, "don't bother me with such things. They don't figure into my life." Carl Sagan was a true atheist, who admitted he would liked to have believed but just couldn't do it. Nothing to get all bent out of shape over. Just couldn't do it.

The crux of it is this: Me thinks thou dost protest too loudly...much too loudly.
Here's what I am curious about with you: Why? Because we Christians are closed minded? No more so than you.

I'm sorry you are so bloody angry. As a therapist it actually concerns me for some very good reasons which I won't bother to go into since you'll blow them all off.

Wish you well.
Pastor Bob

Sat, 23 Mar 2002 12:32:07 -0600

Pastor Bob,

I can see by your "ho-hum's" and "dear me's" that you've closed your mind off to anything I've got to say. If you see nothing funny about what I'm doing here then I certainly won't convince you of my intentions. I suppose that I'm angry at the movies I review as well.

A year and a half ago (when I first started this site) I anticipated the "thoust dost protest too much" accusation. It comes with the territory, but definitely not worth holding back my opinion over. You've given a 50 diagnosis that required very little thought or research.

My life was structured around religion, so I can't simply take Carl Sagan's "It doesn't figure into my life" route. Facing the reality that there is no afterlife or an all caring entity in the sky was the scariest thing I ever went through. It's a valid experience that changed my life considerably, I'm not going to let you deny me that.

I took a moment today to imagine what it'd be like to be angry, angry at God, and then "bloody angry". If I were any of these things it would show itself in the form of unreasonable dialogue, humorless rants, and violent/ vulgar drawings. Jesus Dress Up could easily be worse... but it's humor, not revenge.

I understand why you need to take the angle that I believe in God and that this is my way of lashing out at Him. You are unable to consider Godlessness or relate to its reality. I've been there. You've got no other explanation for what I'm doing, so I will answer you "why", honestly and frankly.
I am a show-off. I like to entertain people and enjoy the attention. I think that it's an extremely interesting subject and I'm very opinionated on it. It is also an emotional issue for me, but anger plays no part.

Thoust dost protest too much indeed Pastor Bob. I think that you've got many issues that keep you from properly examining human behavior without prejudice. Your Christianity is the least of them. I would like to challenge you. I would like you to make-believe that I am doing this for the comedy, self expression and chicks. Leave out the anger... and you might just get it.


  New Hate Mail
Pastor Bob Part 1