To: Derek Clayton Nov-11-93 16:46:56 Subject: hey G'day Derek: Se

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From: Tyler A. Wunder To: Derek Clayton Nov-11-93 16:46:56 Subject: hey G'day Derek: Seeing as you don't get email very reliably, I thought I'd send you something which I'm going to submit to the Imprint. It's in response to a previous letter regarding Nickerson's column written by Kevin Fergin. Suggestions are appreciated. Kevin Fergin was enraged when he read the premiere article of the Village Atheist (was rage in the Sermon on the Mount?). In particular, Fergin took offense to Nickerson's referring to his god as a "hoary old bugger", and wondered "if Mr. Nickerson knows that if he had made this same remark in the time of Christ, he could have been punished by death." What exactly does this comment mean? That Nickerson ought to be executed for his comments? Hopefully not. That he ought to feel lucky that we live in a society that allows him the freedom to be an atheist, and that if he wants to continue enjoying his religious freedom that he ought to keep his mouth shut? This sounds somewhat akin to the hardly-generous sentiment that it's acceptable to be gay so long as you act heterosexual in public; if anything, it seems very much like a veiled threat against calling God anything besides "Lord and Master". Is this somewhat disturbing, or is it just me? Next, Fergin was offended at the suggestion that there was a relationship between Protestants and Branch Davidians, as "...one is a religion, another is a cult." Without getting into technical distinctions between the two terms, it seems a little naive to ignore Nickerson's point: that the Branch Davidians and Protestant Christians do share at least the common link of being theistic. Fergin also calls Nickerson a hypocrite, because Nickerson is distressed by the hatred between battling religious groups, yet according to Fergin, Nickerson "[promotes] the same hate that has started these [religious] wars". Oddly enough, I read the article which offended Fergin, but as I missed Nickerson's general call to arms against all theists, I must assume that I'm not wearing the same Read Between the Lines glasses that Fergin has... Seriously, does the fact that Nickerson finds religion -- Christianity included -- absurd mean that he spawns hatred for it? What if I were to begin a column in the Imprint which expressed my disbelief in the validity of horoscopes? Would my telling people that I have no respect for horoscopes mean that I'm promoting hatred for horoscope believers? That I even hate horoscopes? In short, does feeling that a position lacks credibility and that people ought not believe it mean that the position is hated? That hatred is being fermented against the adherents of said position? Clearly not, and to believe as Fergin does seems a little paranoid...ok, a lot paranoid. If faith is so weak that it cannot stand any scrutiny, or that any vocal unbeliever is a threat to the believer and to his creed, is the faith worth having? As a final reminder to Fergin and those of like mind, we do NOT live in a society which punishes disrespect for God. I may quite freely call him anything I like, and quite frankly the ultimate exercise in wish-fulfilment might be the most appropriate designation. It's doubtful that Fergin will ever come to this conclusion, but hopefully he can come to recognize MY right to come to this conclusion. Of course, "hoary old bugger" isn't without it's charm, either.

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