My husband has been the public face of the Louisville Coalition of Reason since the billboard has gone up. This is a point that I am very proud of. We have had numerous positive and encouraging responses from fellow atheists who really thought they were alone in Louisville and are very happy to find that there is a community for them here. Several have joined our meetup group in response, and it is all very exciting!
Predictably, we have also gotten a number of emails from Christians who apparently think they are “lead by God” to show us the error of our ways. A couple of days ago someone sent me this though the “Contact Us” link at LouisvilleAtheists.com:
Hell is not half full and your doctrine will take you there. The path to being saved is Romans 10:9. Denying Christ is a path to damnation.
I have decided that it is too ethically ambiguous to post someone’s name and email along with their messages on my blog without their express permission, so I will refrain from doing so. However, not all think so. My husband was engaged in a bit of an email debate with a local pastor over the past few days…and this pastor has had no qualms at all about posting Ed’s name, email address, and bio from Facebook on his blog right along with their email exchange. Without saying he was going to do so in advance, I might add, or giving Ed a link to the blog when it was published. Nor did he send the last message posted to the blog. We found out about this though a sympathetic friend.
I read though the blog, and could not help myself from responding to a few of the things this preacher had to say. He brings up many of the old canards against atheists, such as saying that no one can really be an atheist since the Bible says all know God exists, and he questions how atheists could possibly be moral. Both of these assertions are, when you just scratch below the surface just a bit, little more than displays of bias against atheists. Being moral is a natural part of being human. One does not need to understand the sources of morality to be moral any more than the beaver needs to understand millions of years of natural selection to build his dam. To suggest that any group in society does not know how to be moral is to deny a basic part of their humanity. I’m sure that he knows it’s rather pointless to quote the Bible as an authority to an atheist, so I tend to think that the whole point of this exchange was to try to make an example for his “flock” who reads his blog rather than to have a real open conversation.
I would post comments there, but unfortunately my WordPress login doesn’t work on that site and I didn’t see a place to register. So, if you like, go and read the post, and then add your comments here.
UPDATE: Apparently this pastor had thought he sent the last email, but it was still sitting in his drafts folder. So, I’ll remove that count against him. The other stuff, such as publishing Ed’s email address as well as believing and spreading the ideas that atheists are just being dishonest and wicked (’cause the Bible tells me so!) still stand. How does one have a civil and open discussion with someone who believes such things about you? Will they not just ignore and discount everything you have to say?