Ground Rules For The Eloquent Atheist

We have had a few comments over the last few days from Jonathan Blake regarding the Mormon series that we ran recently, in four parts. More than anything else, that series was a light-hearted reminiscence about a non-Mormon growing up in Mormon territory. It is probably the most even-handed, friendly, and good-natured handling of the Mormon religion that you are ever going to see on an Atheist site.

Mr. Blake, however, insists upon arguing about a few points of religious “history” and Mormon “philosophy” ad infinitum, apparently not understanding that we should not and do not care about the small points until the broad issues have been settled. As an example of a broad point I submit the following for Mr. Blake’s consideration: “There is no god.”

Yet Mr. Blake insists that we concern ourselves with the material out of which the magical Mormon royal undergarments are made. Now, Mr. Blake has sufficient unmitigated gall to tell me that I do not understand his point. It is far beyond time that we lay down some ground rules for behavior on this site.

From my perspective, Mr. Blake, your point is that I interpreted some part of your imaginary god fantasy incorrectly. I am not going to argue your fine points with you any more than I am going to argue the philosophical merits of the type of shoe worn by the tooth fairy during bedroom, under-pillow visitations. I consider those two areas of discussion to have absolutely equal merit.

He is worried, apparently,  about how a few meaningless details may be interpreted by the enlightened secular reading public and perhaps somehow show Mormonism in a bad light. Please, Mr. Blake, the enlightened secular reading public has already dismissed your beliefs on the way to becoming the enlightened secular reading public. You have some truly heavy lifting to do before you will ever lure us into the minute details of your particular religious fantasy.

I am not too sure how Mr. Blake was able to misunderstand my request that he supply scientific proof to back up his assertions about the most basic underpinnings of his religion before we begin to talk about the fine structure of his beliefs. For example, I asked that he do the following:

1. Bring the golden plates which differentiate his “religion” from, say, Lutheranism, into the CNN studios and submit them for scientific analysis.

2. Come by the studios of ABC news with his god and have a talk with the anchorman of the day about his god’s existence and what that means to the common man.

Neither of those requests are too outré, but I suppose that I would settle for any number of miracles, even some much simpler that those to which Mr. Blake ascribes. Loaves and fishes are not required; just make a dozen or so Tootsie Rolls appear on national television under scientifically controlled conditions. Or perhaps just have the son of his god come by and explain one more time just why it is that shellfish are an abomination, or perhaps why women are inferior to men.

I want Mr. Blake to understand that I am not going to publish any more of his comments until he proves the bases upon which his beliefs are built. I will settle for any of those proofs that I have discussed on the paragraphs above.

Mr. Blake, there is no god. Period.

In addition, I want all of our readers to understand that those are the requirements that I place on any such discussions about the fine points of any religion. Until you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that your god exists and that all of the claims of your particular holy book are true in actual fact, after full and complete examination by the scientific community, we are not going to sweat the small stuff on this site.

I want you to feel perfectly free to build your own internet sites and talk about any part of your particular religious fantasies that you desire to discuss, in whatever detail that you desire to delve into. At the same time, I need you to be aware that we are not going to discuss your religion here. We have heard all the arguments, we have read all of your books, we have analyzed all of your claims, and we have done so in great quantity and greater detail. We have come to the conclusion that all of them are worse than incorrect.

There is no god. Period.

Without a god, the various strands of your religions just unravel and evaporate. You have no proof on your side. The only logic that you have is badly flawed, and not logical at all. Your “proofs” are child’s play to unravel. Your “facts” are no such thing at all. Of more importance, I do not have to prove you wrong. The ball is in your court, where is has been for thousands of years, for the Greeks gods, the Norse gods, the Roman gods, and all the rest of the gods: Bring me some proof or stop yammering incessantly at me about your fantasies.

All of that said, I’m sure that Mr. Blake is a nice enough fellow. I have known a lot of people through the years during which I have existed, and many of those people believe or believed in one god or another. A lot of those people have been my friends for a long time. As long as they stay out of my face about religion, and as long as they refrain from activities such as the Spanish Inquisition, The Crusades, or any Jihad of any kind, I have little or no argument about religion with my friends. That group, by the way, includes a number of Mormons.

But should they start believing that the Earth is only 6,000 years of age, or that creationism is superior to evolution, or should they decide that they have some sort of right to proselytize in my presence, essentially trying to force their mystical beliefs in fantasy on unsuspecting and perfectly innocent people, they are in for the tussle of their lives, and they know it.

There is no god. Period.

While you are here, please keep your fantasies to yourselves.
Michael W. Jones
The Eloquent Atheist

About Michael W. Jones

Michael has been an Atheist since an epiphany in a Baptist church at age 12, was a Unitarian until they became a christian denomination, spent most of his life developing software, and is now earning almost no living at all as a writer. :) He lives in Williams Township, PA and is contemplating what's next after Tucker the Weird Dawg. Michael is a co-founder and the managing editor of The Eloquent Atheist on-line magazine.


Ground Rules For The Eloquent Atheist — 4 Comments

  1. Just a few more thoughts about this matter: Bryan Woodhouse’s essay had various disclaimers throughout about his knowledge or lack thereof regarding details of the Mormon religion. As Michael Jones has pointed out, this essay is written as a memoir, and it is as much about being an “outsider” to a dominant religion as it is about the religion itself. It is not a “history” of a religion, but rather a telling of personal history.

    –Marilyn Westfall
    Co-Editor, The Eloquent Atheist

  2. Thank you, Glendon. We appreciate both your support and your good sense. It does no good for two people to discuss how many angels can dance on the head of a pin until they have mutually agreed on the existence of angels.

    Of course, now you do have me coveting a glance at the tooth fairy. ;o)

  3. Michael and I are offering some final thoughts on the matter of ground rules for our zine, vis a vis the flap over Mormon history vs. memoir.

    If you post comments, be aware that Michael and I may likely have no prior knowledge of your theological or philosophical stance, your past writings, your web or blog site, your affiliations, and your biography. Such was the case with Jonathan Blake. It is clear to us now that he is indeed an atheist and an ex-Mormon.

    If you initially post hostile or snarky comments, that’s a red flag to us; we will likely cut you off from further posts in a short time.

    If we feel that you are piggybacking on our site, using it to promote your own editorials or essays, we will not allow this to go on.

    If we perceive that you are treating our authors with hostility, rather than offering constructive opinions, we will stop publishing your comments.

    The essay “Mormon Heaven” is not published under “history,” but rather under “essay.” It is a personal essay—a memoir—with various disclaimers made by its author, Bryan Woodhouse, concerning Mormonism; he is not a scholar of the religion. He also indicates that he is writing about events in his life from decades ago. We stand by his work as a personal essay and reminiscence about growing up as an outsider to a dominant religion.

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