(1152) Sun 22 Dec 96 13:37 By: ROBERT CURRY Re: Losing Faith in Faith I've been enjoying D

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(1152) Sun 22 Dec 96 13:37 By: ROBERT CURRY Re: Losing Faith in Faith I've been enjoying Dan Barker's book, LOSING FAITH IN FAITH, since it was brought to my attention recently by Michael Hardy's mention here that he is reading it. It contains an interesting combination of autobiographical stories (the subtitle is "From Preacher to Atheist"), critical articles which have appeared in *Freethought Today*, and fascinating essays on the transition from religious believer to freethinker from the perspective of having traveled that road both intellectually and emotionally after having been deeply committed to Christian dogmatism for years. Several of the chapters remind me very much of certain issues, and sometimes of certain individuals seen here in HolySmoke. For example, Chapter 34 -- entitled *Blind Faith* -- is a dialogue which creatively and effectively summarizes many of the discussions one may find here from time to time. I was also reminded of Brother Jesse's belief that if he did not have his faith in the existence of a god, then he would have to be terribly selfish (or perhaps worse). Chapter 32 begins as follows: "Dan, if I were an atheist like you, you would be dead," said a sixty-year-old Christian professor towards the end of an informal but grueling five-hour debate I was having with five fundamentalists in a San Dimas living room. "Why would I be dead?" I asked, in a voice which was getting hoarse. "Because I would kill you," he replied with a smiling gaze. "Why would you kill me?" I asked, astounded. "Because if it were not for the moral restraints of the Bible, I would be a wild animal, stealing, raping and murdering," he explained, his wife and daughter listening. "You had better thank Jesus for his love and protection." I was stunned to hear such talk from such a nice looking person. "If you wish to be a murderous criminal," I said slowly, "you will soon find that it is not in your best self interest. There are many people like myself who respect life enough to protect ourselves from people like you. We have laws -- and we have other methods of self defense." I hope his threats were truly rhetorical. They do show how aggressively Christians tackle the question of morality, and how godlessness is still equated with evil. Sound familiar, anyone? --- PPoint 2.00 / QWK --- InterMail+GE/2+PCB/2 * Origin: The 128th Parallel Seminole,Fl 28.8k 813/397-1339 (1:3603/210)

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