On December 16, Lynn sent me this e-mail:

Okay. Sorry about the delay - I just returned from travel. The Christmas holidays are going to disrupt everything for me anyway. No fair looking at the my final statement (which I'll try to send by Friday) until you have sent yours (and I won't look at yours until I've sent mine).


Well, I prefer to call the shots regarding my own web site, and I was dismayed that Lynn would assume that I needed to base my final statement on hers (hence "no fair looking..."). So I wrote mine and e-mailed her on December 22:

"I've finished my final statement; when you are finished with yours, please send it to me and I will post both of them on my website as soon as possible as well as e-mail you telling you when I have done so. Have a nice holiday!"

Well, I've waited a month and haven't received a response. So I'll have to present only one final statement.

This debate started out as you decided that my reasons for not being a Christian were not the real reasons. Your example? I do not trust any faith that has to be resurrected by a ruthless emperor in order to survive. You say, "by a miracle Christianity is saved." And thus began a long debate in which you continually pegged myself and other atheists as being specifically against the Christian god, as well as making several other general and factually unfounded points about Christianity.

You believe that "by a miracle Christianity is saved" because you have already assumed that the god of the bible exists. You claim that "if you read the Bible with the eye to finding contradictions, you will indeed find what seem to be contradictions." This is your first claim that atheists are against Christianity with a passion to disbelieve. But I assure you that atheists are not out to find the contradictions in the bible anymore than we're out to find the contradictions in any other holy book. I assure you that atheists do not have a passion to disbelieve; instead, we are passionate about the subject on which we stand. You seem to think that we're immediately against the bible the minute it's handed to us to read. But did you ever think that maybe the contradictions we find only fuel the fire? Many people looking for some sort of guidance in the form of religion may turn to the bible, and then find that it's completely convoluted. Many people start out reading the bible with some hope, but also some skepticism (after all, not all of the holy books can be right). This is opposed to yourself; you have already assumed that the god of the bible exists. You turn a blind eye to every other religion in the history of man and automatically assume that the Christians must be right. Why? Could it be because you believe that truth is democratic?

Several times throughout this debate you attempted to back up your claims by quoting famous people. You wrote, "Napoleon knew of power when he wrote 'the Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all who oppose it.'" You quoted Immanuel Kant, Bertrand Russell and Leo Tolstoy. Perhaps you did it inadvertently, but you made it sound as if you believe that because famous people believe it, it must be true. To top it off, you wrote, "there are estimates that in China today, twenty thousand Chinese a day are being converted to Christianity." And this means what? That twenty thousand Chinese a day can't be wrong? It really doesn't make any sense.

Your second misconception about atheists being against Christianity lies in your statement that "we are simultaneously drawn and repelled" when we first hear about god. Nowhere within this debate did you ever state that you were once an atheist. So I wonder how you could possibly know where an atheist stands when regarding the Christian god. You are again only assuming this from a Christian's point of view, and that is definitely flawed. It is flawed because you automatically assume we are all drawn and repelled to the Christian god. First of all, you haven't included the hundreds of other deities into your assumption, and second of all, you have assumed that all atheists are drawn and repelled to a deity or deities in the first place. Perhaps a more fair statement would have been: "When some of us hear about a deity, we are simultaneously drawn and repelled." Other statements you made that assume atheists are going out of our way to disbelieve in Christianity include: "Do you reason that God (if He exists) lacks the power to force us to believe?" "If you don't want to come to know God…" and "If you want to find God, I can offer you hope, but if you don't want to find God, nothing I can possibly say will do anything at all." To this I say that I do not believe there is a god to come to know and subsequently, I would not want to find something that does not exist. Doesn't that seem pointless? However, your most baffling assumption about atheism is that it's a version of polytheism. I hope that I cleared that up earlier in the debate.

Many times you stated that most Christians were just atheists pretending to be Christians. You eventually decided that most Christians are atheists who really believe they're Christians. You never provided any information to render this a true statement. Rather, it seemed you were simply judging other Christians that didn't worship the same as you as atheists in disguise. I think this is a terribly unfair and unfounded thing to say about other people who are the same faith. How can you possibly say that someone is worshipping the wrong way when you have absolutely no way of telling that you are doing it the right way? Christianity has changed so much over time and has produced so many offshoots (all can justify their beliefs in the bible), that you have absolutely no authority telling someone that he is an atheist pretending to be a Christian. Some people go to church three times a week and take the bible literally. Are they true Christians? Some people are much more comfortable with having a relationship with their god in nature and on their own time. Are they true Christians? Do you have to attend church regularly and read the bible word for word to be a true Christian? Apparently; you describe your god and his son as if they are tyrants: "Jesus is relentless. If you become His follower, He will tear down everything that is not built upon Him. Your friends, your ideas and hopes for the future, family, your career, your ideas about right and wrong, your ideas about happiness. He tells me and you that there is nothing that we have ever done, apart from Him, that is good; that all of our 'rightneous' is 'disgusting and filthy'. The basic, fundamental sin is that I have a right to myself and He is determined to tear every bit of that out." What a terrible thing for a belief system to be based on.

Several times I asked you why you would believe in such a thing, but you never really provided a satisfactory answer. You either didn't want to answer, or you don't really know. For instance, you stated that you're "looking for truth", and "Christianity and the Bible are good places in which to begin to search for that truth." Who told you this? Sure, you began with Christianity and the bible, but you obviously ended there too, without giving any other religions a second thought. You never gave Jupiter a glance, nor Mithra. Why? You even admitted that you weren't shopping around for a religion because it implied a "preferential choosing amongst a number of essentially equal commodities." You have automatically decided that other religions aren't equal to Christianity, and I believe this is a big mistake. After all, Christianity is decidedly unoriginal. You admitted that yourself. But you also noted that "Christianity is much richer and complete than any of it's earlier predecessors." How can that be, when it's plagiarized? You asked me to provide a list of writings that would be challenges to the bible; you wanted the opportunity to look them over. I provided a list of religions that are challenges to Christianity - the ancient Egyptian religion, Wicca, Voodoo, or any of the religions of the Native Americans - that don't have holy books, but hopefully you realize that religions don't need holy books to make them rich, complete, and true to the people who believe them. Have you looked into any of these religions yet? You seem to believe that the first and only religion you looked at is the true one. Why? Just because your grandfather's essay on forgiveness popped up when you were searching for forgiveness? Before you became a Christian, these things were called coincidences. Now they have automatically changed into the "engineering of experiences". Nowhere within the debate had I found a satisfactory answer to why you became a Christian.

For these reasons, I remain unconvinced. The act of becoming a Christian isn't always necessarily a thoughtless process, but more times than not, it seems to be the first and last religion people settle on when they feel they need religion in their lives. They can go through their lives never knowing that another religion out there can provide them with more than Christianity, and seem just as true. Similarly, they can realize that they do not need a religion to run their lives and can live just as happily.

I very much appreciate you carrying on this debate with me. It has been an interesting look at what one Christian believes as opposed to what others believe. Every Christian I have debated with, either in life or on the message boards, has had a different opinion as to what they should believe. Thank you for the opportunity to debate with you and ask you some personal questions about your faith. Good luck in the future.


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