From: Tyler A. Wunder
To: Derek Clayton Nov-11-93 16:46:56
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
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
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,