PZ regularly posts some of the crazy email he gets to his blog. I’d love to be able to say I get the same shit, but I don’t. Oh, occasionally some whack job Christian shows up here, and leaves really odd comments (I’m looking at you, Gideon), but they usually do it right on the blog, rarely by email. I’ve gotten a few over the years, but never anything to get worked up about.
But, to make up for that, I know enough Christians that send me email anyway, and don’t even know I write this blog. Today I got the following:
This is by a daughter of a murdered couple in Raytown , MO , Who had a Bible and Bookstore on 63rd street ..
When I had to testify at the murder trial of my parents a week ago, I was asked to raise my right hand… The bailiff started out “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”
I stood there and waited but she said nothing. She said “Do you?”
I was so stunned I blurted out “What happened to “so help me God’?”
She came back with “Do you?” I replied yes, but I was perplexed.
Then the judge said .. “You can say that if you want to.”
I stopped, raised my right hand, and finished with “So help me God!”
I told my son and daughter that when it came time for them to testify, they should do the same.
I don’t know what can be done about it, but it’s time for us to step up and DO something.
NBC this morning had a poll on this question.. They had the highest number
of responses that they have ever had for one of their polls, and the percentage was the same as this:
86% to keep the words, 14% against.. That is a pretty ‘commanding’ public response.
I was asked to send this on if I agreed or delete if I didn’t.
Now it is your turn. It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God.
Therefore, I have a very hard time understanding why there is such a mess
about having “In God We Trust” on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Why is the world catering to this 14%?
If you agree, pass this on, if not, simply delete….
IN GOD WE TRUST (emphasis in original)
I wish I could figure out how PZ adds that Comic Sans Font. And how did Pharyngula miss that NBC poll? 🙂
Anyway, even though the email was titled, “Agree or Delete” (because he knows how I feel about this stuff), I had to respond, as follows.
I know it says delete if I don’t agree, but I feel compelled to disagree.
What are we 14%? Chopped liver? If 86% want to believe in something for which there is no evidence, not a shred, no one stops them. They can say “so help me god” whenever they want. They can pray in schools whenever they want. They can go to church and sing “hallelujah” and shake and shimmy to gospel music whenever they want. That’s implicit in the freedoms they have as Americans. But why does the other 14% have to say or do it if they don’t want to, or they don’t believe it? That’s what this writer is arguing.
Ask yourself. If the court made you say “so help me Allah”, would you do it?
This writer clearly has no idea or understanding of the underlying presumptions in our system of government. Our Constitution is set up to ensure that the majority does not impose its will on the minority. It’s why we have both freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion. If we do what the majority says, then we’ve lost both of the two sides of that freedom, because the majority will dictate to the minority. It doesn’t work that way in America.
Remember, freedom, like truth, is not something you put to the vote. Just because a majority is in favor of something doesn’t mean we have to believe it, or that it’s true.
The majority of all the people in the world once believed the world was flat. They were dead wrong.
Feel free to agree or delete. 😉
I guess I’m going to hell.
Well, Johnny, this should be proof that your fear that atheists (you’re anti-theist) are getting a raw deal, are unfounded. Although your legal system has always been rife with elitist mummery, this is just confirmation that someone, somewhere, has a shitload of influence in getting God out of the public forum.
I wouldn’t answer any attorney pompous enough to lay hold of a book he/she despises and then expect me to answer his/her questions . If he/she doesn’t believe in the book, why should they believe that anything I say over it will be truth?
I laugh at the system, because, it makes it so easy to laugh at it.
It’s still embarrassing to think of how many Americans think like that, though. you can’t say they’re dismissive of the constitution because in order to do so one would have to first have read it and second, to have understood what was read.
I haven’t received any whack job emails in awhile.
I didn’t even think about checking Snopes on this, because the 86% figure isn’t far off the mark in terms of Christianity in this country. But this brings up a side issue.
Whoever created this email clearly concocted it , i.e. they lied. So we have another instance of Lying for Jesus. The sheer hypocrisy…
“I haven’t received any whack job emails in awhile.”
No kidding? Gee… wonder why?
Good spam filters?
Woo! Yes. Especially “If the court made you say ‘so help me Allah’, would you do it?” These people think that lack of state endorsement of their religion is state endorsement of atheism, but it’s just what happens when you let each individual make up their own mind. That line illustrates it well.
I think I might have taught a few relatives to stop sending me things like this. But the craziness drought hasn’t been that long — can’t quite call it yet.
you can’t say they’re dismissive of the constitution because in order to do so one would have to first have read it and second, to have understood what was read.
I’m thinking of doing a post to show the Constitution might be worded if its authors really intended the United States to be a Christian nation.
Do it, Tommy. If you need any assistance let me know.
Was today Send a Fucked Up Email Day? I got this one today (I had to google it to post it here, since I deleted it immediately after snorting (in an embarrassingly undignified manner):
So, SI is going to hell and I’m going to have a year of bad luck. In other words, life goes on as usual.
I want to know what hole they’re living in that they were “stunned” that “so help you God” had been removed from the oath. I mean really, you’ve got to be either living in a fantasy world or completely uninterested in what’s going on in this country to not see the debates over including references to God anywhere, in the pledge of allegiance, on our money, etc.
I think the “stunned” part comes from the thoroughly indoctrinated mindset that anyone would have the slightest temerity to question the absolute authority of god over the world, and would purposely omit such authority in a court of law. She was probably waiting for the bailiff to be struck dead from a lightning bolt thorough the window.
It’s not that there are atheists out there, it’s that anyone with any brains listens or gives credence to us.
Chaplain, I got that same e-mail. I deleted it.
Well, since the Roman Catholics are the single largest monolithic block (50% greater than Baptists), I assume that Real Americans won’t mind if “…and Mary” is added whenever God is mentioned by a State institution.
Religion was invented by people who thought the world was flat, explains a lot.
That’s an awesome response, and putting it on your weblog makes it better (because it’s easier to find in association with the wording of the original message). Thank you.
Interesting to see such firmness of your faith in Atheism. As this is your specialism, how would you respond to alternate views on Christ in other parts of the world? Such as in this video http://bit.ly/dGPbQ3
First, no one here is an atheist based on faith.
Second, what the Quran says about Jesus matters as little as what the Christian bible says about it, but at least the Jesus character didn’t have sex with a child, so he’s got that over Mohammed.
Q. What is the difference between the Prophet Mohammed and Michael Jackson?
A. One is a pedophile child rapist and the other recorded six platinum albums.
Funny how you’re always the first one on the attack, eh, Chief? You watch ol’ Johnny’s blog pretty close, dont’cha, son?
You his personal attack dog or something?
Why don’t you mention all of the benefits of an atheistic society… like having people like Stalin and Pol Pot in power? Also, having fine, upstanding citizens like Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Clifford Olson, Jeffrey Dahmer, etc, living next door to your kids? They share/shared your religious beliefs, too, right? Oh… wait! That’s wrong! They share/shared your “ABSENCE” of religious beliefs, along with your faith in Darwinism that essentially assures them they won’t have to answer to any God for what they do.
Hey, sounds like a pretty cozy relig… uh, ABSENCE of a religion that you got going, there, Chief. And, if you ever decide to be a pervert or a serial killer, you’re all set. No God, no law = no accountability!
Q. What’s the difference between Charles Manson and Philly Chief?
A. Religion-wise, nothing at all!
The sad thing about what you wrote, Giddy, is that you clearly have no idea how stupid it is.
Go do a Google search on Dunning-Kruger.
And, how is it stupid to ask for a level playing field, John? Are you saying atheists can’t do bad things, when they obviously do?
Your vaunted Dunning-Kruger effect could apply just as well to you or anyone else, here. What IS relevant is your preference toward those that will agree with you… like Philly Chief.
Although, I think it goes deeper than just personal bias… where he’s concerned.
Some of us check the “Notify me of follow-up comments” box after commenting, so we get an email if someone comments in a thread we’ve already been active in. Maybe that’s how you noticed PhillyChief’s comment…? Snarking about the fact that people on the internet are sometimes competent at keeping up with conversations that interest them is not actually an argument for why theism would be superior to atheism.
If the only thing keeping you from becoming a serial killer is your belief in a higher power, then I don’t think I’m alone in saying that you should probably go ahead and keep believing. Just don’t try to push your beliefs onto those of us who can make rational assessments of right and wrong without the threat of eternal damnation.
I’ll just share highlights of Prof. Zuckerman‘s paper, Atheism, Secularity, and Well-Being: How the Findings of Social Science Counter Negative Stereotypes and Assumptions…
Numerous studies reveal that atheists and secular people most certainly maintain strong values, beliefs, and opinions. But more significantly, when we actually compare the values and beliefs of atheists and secular people to those of religious people, the former are markedly less nationalistic, less prejudiced, less anti-Semitic, less racist, less dogmatic, less ethnocentric, less close-minded, and less authoritarian (Greeley and Hout 2006; Sider 2005; Altemeyer 2003, 2009; Jackson and Hunsberger 1999; Wulff 1991; Altemeyer and Hunsberger 1992, 1997; Beit-Hallahmi 2007; Beit-Hallahmi and Argyle 1997; Batson et al. 1993; Argyle 2000)
He further concludes “atheists and secular people actually posses a stronger or more ethical sense of social justice than their religious peers”and “least likely to harbor ethnocentric, racist, or nationalistic attitudes”. Other goodies from his research include this:
If religion, prayer, or God-belief hindered criminal behavior, and secularity or atheism fostered lawlessness, we would expect to find the most religious nations having the lowest murder rates and the least religious nations having the highest. But we find just the opposite. Murder rates are actually lower in more secular nations and higher in more religious nations where belief in God is deep and widespread (Jensen 2006; Paul 2005; Fajnzylber et al. 2002; Fox and Levin 2000).
and finally this:
[W]hen we compare more secular countries with more religious countries, we actually find that – with the exception of suicide – the more secular fare markedly better than the more religious on standard measures of societal well-being (Zuckerman 2008; Crabtree 2005; Norris and Inglehart 2004). Admittedly, nations with atheistic dictatorships, such as Vietnam, formely-Communist Albania, or the former U.S.S.R., do miserably on various indicators of societal well-being. However, this is most likely due to the dictatorship element of the equation, and not the atheistic element. After all, nations led by religious dictatorships – such as Chile under Pinochet, Haiti under Duvalier, Spain under Franco, or modern-day Iran – also fare poorly, particularly concerning civil and human rights.
That deserves a post of its own, not just a comment.
It’s nearly a two year old paper, so I think it’s a tad late for a post but it’s fun to cite on occasion. 😉