is a fan mail from Nick regarding
The Alexandra Files
(Hate Mail page 32)
picture is my own touch.
I was reading
through your latest updates on your hatemail page, as I have gotten
into the habit of looking for new updates. The series of emails
from (and to) Alexandra are probably the most revealing of all
the hatemail you get (or so I think). Instead of the angry bluster
and "You stinking heathen!" rhetoric found in so many of the letters
on your hatemail page, this contained what seemed to be the reaction
of someone whose beliefs were genuinely prodded by the material
on your page. I find it fascinating to see also after the first
email (which was essentially a defense against anything she expected
you might say in return) the rest was the pure, distillate fear-reaction
that I have now come to expect when either the very devout, or
the very young have religious beliefs challenged.
I have a tendency
to be long winded, and damned if I am going to fight that tendency
now, so here it goes. There is a lot of research to indicate that
there is a neruobiological basis for belief in god. Coupled with
that underlying effect or drive, comes so much of what you clearly
explain in various parts of your site, "People want presents,
who the heck would want to die when they could go to heaven,"
and my personal favorite, "people can be small-minded cretins."
When these two meet, it always seems to produce the same set of
reactions, regardless of religion, culture or sex.
denial coupled with an Ad Homonym attack.
2.) Establishing one way or the other that the rest of the discussion
takes place with the premise that everything said in the Bible/Coran/Torah/Bagavahd
Gita/etc.... is true, and akin to arguing against gravity while
a person drops lead bricks in front of you.
3.) Escalation of the mood or tenor of the argument regardless
of your [my anyone's] response.
4.) Either dogged determination to, "NOT STOP UNTIL YOU BELIEVE!!!"
or "Fuck you, I'm outta here" effect.
Let me just
clarify something. I think when you simply tread on someone's
toes around religion, the standard response is just anger [circa
Greek letters], but when on some level the person's constructive
basis for belief is attacked, exposing the fact that it is little
more than custom and natural drive that forms the basis for their
lifestyle, they enter into the aforementioned stages. As I said
in my previous fan mail, I am an atheist, and there was a time
when I thought that "everyone could be saved" from religion! Boy
did I learn the hard way. People want to be saved from religion
about as much as people want to be saved by atheism. In fact,
it seems that a lot of the things that make "born again's" can
make "sudden atheists" and that both have little to base their
beliefs on besides human reaction.
the side-splitting humour that pervades your site, the refreshing
thing about coming to it, is that you have not formed some gut
reaction against religion, but rather, you clearly understand
and express why you don't believe. Thankfully you don't reiterate
the basis for your beliefs endlessly, you have fun, make jokes,
and respond to idiots with panache and nimble wit. But there is
more there than that. I do not think you could engender the responses
you get from (generally Christian) people if you did not have
that reasoned, and therefore threatening, quality.
like Alexandra right in, there is part of me that just wants to
scream and rage that if they could just apply some of their statements
to themselves they would not have to ask such incredibly dense
questions, or preach like they were something other than graduates
of trade schools. There is another part of me though, and this
is the part that I credit with keeping me sane (enough not take
up manhunting as a hobby) is the part which tries to look somewhat
dispassionately at what people say, and figure out how, how, HOW
can they possibly be so stupid, so blind, or so hideously close
minded. I like to think that not only do I get a stroke from laughing
so hard at your site, but also some insight into the character
and nature of the twits (sorry I mean people) who write in the
hatemail. Or maybe not, maybe I am just going on about nothing.
I don't know or care. I hope you respond to this email because
I would appreciate your thoughts (be they of any tenor) on my
the great site!!!
Nick from M.A.