A few weeks ago I took a crack at writing a letter to the editor of a local weekly mini-newspaper. I hadn’t known there was enough space in this paper in which to put a letter to the editor until I was cleaning up and noticed a laughable come-to-Jesus letter to the editor entitled, OH NO THE GAYS! or something like that. I had to respond.
My argument revolved mostly around the fact that religion is inherently irrational and that debate is something to be appreciated rather than feared. I went through several revisions because I wanted the practice of writing a piece without the anonymity of the internet; something which would force me to be a little more … civil. I hadn’t really expected they’d print it, but was amused that it ended up in the paper a few days after I submitted it.
There have been two replies so far. The first one is pure gold. It’s a hobbled together mishmash where he takes pieces of my article, replaces Bible with Algebra Book, and claims victory. At least, I think he claims victory. I can’t make heads or tails of his closing remarks and whether they are in agreement with mine or the first letter in the series.
The second letter was printed in today’s paper and it unfortunately has no online edition. The author is Tracy Westphal and her argument is basically a list of the same old tired canards that seem so readily at the disposal of religious apologists. I swear they print these things in the back of hymnals. Now, I’m paraphrasing here, but her points were argued a little something like this (my comments in parentheses):
- Without my god there is no morality (because it wasn’t until commandment #6 that the Jews realized murder was generally frowned upon)
- Oh yea? Hitler! (a bit early in the game to be Godwinned, but there you have it)
- Mankind will fail without my version of Christianity (hear that Sweden? Denmark? Stop succeeding!)
- Belief outweighs rationality (I don’t believe you)
- You haven’t met God! QED. (I grew up with your made-up god. The point is, I grew up)
- The Bible is the foundation for American law (see George Carlin)
Turning a blind eye to evidence and rationality seems to be the weapon of choice for many apologists. I think I’m done with this chain of letters to the editor. It was fun, but it’s no different than the dialogue inside countless identical internet forums.