To: "John ******" <**********>
Subject: Re: Just Curious

At 22:35 01/08/98 -0500, you wrote:

I understand your concerns and your wish to "save" me from a fate of hellfire &
damnation and all that... you're not the first to try and definitely you won't be
the last.  You are solid in your beliefs, however, as am I, and I know nothing I
say will change you.  I just want you to know why I think the way I do, and that
my situation's not quite the way you perceive it to be.

Religion and the bible are, to me, pure fiction.  This is simply the only logical
conclusion.  There are thousands of religions in the world, and no two people
believe in the exact same thing no matter how hard their religious leaders try,
and yet everyone thinks that their own view is right.  Why?  Because the human
imagination is inherently active and can make anyone believe anything, depending
on what they're exposed to.  The Heaven's Gate people honestly believed in their
hearts that they would be transported to an alien spaceship following a comet when
they took their lives.  Why couldn't it be that they were right and everyone else
in the world was wrong?  Also, look at the 900 million Hindus in the world who
don't believe a word of what the bible teaches, if they've ever had any exposure
to it at all.  Are they all going to hell for never accepting Christ into their
hearts?  If I were a christian, I'd have to say yes, because the bible teaches us
that anyone that doesn't believe in Christ will be "lost".

My core beliefs are scientific: if it can't be proven by science, then it simply
can't be.  Why do we have no scientific proof that the world was created 6000
years ago instead of 5 billion, which geology and astrophysics can prove?  Why is
it biologists and archaeologists can develop sound theories about the evolution of
man from the apes from mountains of conclusive evidence, yet all we have proof-
wise of the Great Flood, the Creation, the Garden of Eden, the Resurrection, and
all the other "miracles" is a book written in many different styles and voices?
(I'm a fiction-writing minor, and if god really DID write the bible, he is one
hell of a bad author.)  I strongly believe that we, as humans, are still little
more than walking sacs of DNA and elecrical pulses.  Our minds are small and our
imaginations are lofty.  We are the only species capable of creating a god, and
the only one with the audacity to claim to understand the workings, thoughts, and
wishes of a being so utterly powerful.

I never claim to believe that there is no god --- current evidence is
overwhelmingly against it, but we've seen so little of the universe and we still
understand so little about everything and anything, that it's possible that there
is a god, or gods, somewhere.  My own belief is, though, that if he or she or it
or they do exist, then we cannot begin to understand what they do or think.  And
it's simply human arrogance to claim that they would care at all what humans do --
especially day-to-day things like lusting, hating, stealing, etc.  More likely,
the religious leaders of old made these things taboo because they work against the
community.  Lust, an emotion that exists primarily to encourage reproduction and
proliferation of a species, was turned into a sin because, when unchecked, it
creates uncivility.  Stealing is a direct effect of greed, which originated as an
instinct to make one's own life better, but is a sin because it too is bad for a
community -- which is what the leaders needed to maintain their base of power.
Homosexuality, which probably originated as a natural population stabilizer, was
made into a sin because homosexuals don't produce little babies which grow into
good little religious followers that perpetuate the belief system and the base of
power.  My subtle though still-apparent hostility towards religion and christianity
specifically comes from the fact that it's done much more harm than good.  The
christian church was directly or indirectly responsible for the Dark Ages, the
Black Death, the pillage and rape of the "holy land" during the Crusades, countless
wars, countless witchhunts, and countless murders, lynchings, and brainwashings.

And, by the way, I severely resent accusations by christians that homosexuality is
a disease that can be cured... anyone that thinks this way is sick and obviously
has no idea what it's like.  Most things that christians say are ignorable and
mostly harmless, but this is just simply wrong.  Anyone that is "cured" of
homosexuality is either A) not really a homosexual, just someone who has emotional
issues that should be dealed with by a licensed psychiatrist, not a priest, or B)
not cured but brainwashed, something that will turn them around later on.
And by the way, the bible never explicitly states that homosexuality is bad (New note:
Actually I now realize this isn't true)  -- Sodom burned because the
people were rapists, thieves, and all-around unsavory types (yes I've read the
bible, all the way through, and after being thorougly confused by the incessant
stream of irrelevant side characters and plots, confusing and conflicting morals,
and unrealistic and wooden narration, I determined that if people didn't have the
capacity to believe in it, they wouldn't waste their time publishing it, and would
probably opt for, instead, the King James version of Thinner Thighs in 30 Days.)

My best friend's own beliefs seem similar to yours, and we've had these
discussions of religion and christianity many times.  He too was originally like
me (to some degree) before he was sent to a christian high school camp for 2 years.
He came back believing in the bible, claiming that god had come to him in his
sleep.  I'm more likely to believe that he cracked under the pressure of having
the bible drilled into him every day.  I resent this merely because he honestly
believes it all now.  In a moment of weakness, miles from his family and home,
surrounded entirely by religious dogma, it was all he had to turn to.  Of course
he believes it, because as a human he's not infallible, and it made him feel good,
loved, wanted.  I fully agree that the idea of someone watching you and caring
about you even when you're alone is very appealing.  But that's the way man
designed it to be.

     Chaensaw Messiah