By: DAVID RICE Re: Taking Fundies to Task A.S.R.C. Rev David Michael Rice P.O. Box 13670 -

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By: DAVID RICE Re: Taking Fundies to Task A.S.R.C. Rev David Michael Rice P.O. Box 13670 ------------------- Columbus, Ohio ---------------- 43213 ----- January 5th, 1996 To Dennis Conley, Editor, The Believer's Chronicle I have received your undated letter today, Friday the fifth. I am somewhat at a loss to understand why you felt the need to castigate Mister Till in a letter you have presumably mailed to each one of your 1,586 subscribers. (At the first-class rate used to send the letter I have received, it would have cost you $507.52 in just postage, let alone any refund for issues not received by subscribers.) I cannot imagine why you would send such a letter to anyone other than Mister Till. Enclosed please find the returned check of $14.17 (from you). When I sent my subscription check, I had made a personal commitment to pay for the right to read your newsletter. Now that the newsletter is defunct, perhaps as a personal favor to me and my sense of commitment you will keep the check and use the money in some worthwhile endeavor. You could send it to the American Civil Liberties Union, or the Institute for First Amendment Studies, or to Planned Parenthood, or some such organization. Well over two weeks ago I received from Mister Till what could be called an "advanced copy" of his letter to you, though what the entire contents was, I do not know. He voiced his concerns about just how large your readership was, and he expressed his doubts that it is as large as you report. Surely you must understand that a busy man like Mister Till should not expend his valuable time writing for a newsletter than may have few readers. Mister Till's The Skeptical Review appears to be a full-time job in itself, let alone working on his daily Internet correspondence and fulfilling any traveling and speaking commitments Mister Till may have. If The Believer's Chronicles has, let one say, 80 or 90 readers, I cannot see how it would be worth Mister Till's time (or anyone's) to write for them. Before I address the second letter (the one with your check) you have sent to me, I would like to discuss the first letter (not dated either) that I received on or around November 23. You asked me how I had heard of The Stupid Christian Chronicle. I read about The Stupid Christian Chronicle in Mister Till's The Skeptical Review, of which I am a subscriber. The submission requirements for The Stupid Christian Chronicle, as reported by Mister Till in The Skeptical Review, were odd enough to make me want to see if he was mistaken (that is not the only reason I subscribed to The Stupid Christian Chronicle: I subscribe to many religious newsletters). As I said, I cannot conceive of why you would send the second letter I have received from you to anyone other than Mister Till, since your complaint appears to be with him. Most of your readers will never see Mister Till's letter which you are responding to, as no doubt few of them subscribe to The Skeptical Review. Mister Till brought up many perfectly valid questions and criticisms: you could have honestly answered them, or you could have told him you choose not to answer them. Instead you resorted to special pleading, evasion, and the ad hominem. Rather than deal with Mister Till fairly and rationally, you appear to have chosen to use him as an excuse to abandon publication of The Believer's Chronicle. I question your sanity when you write that "Satan" was responsible for you throwing in the towel. It may please you in a megalomaniacal way to believe you have such powerful enemies as "Satan" (and Mister Till), but surely you do not expect your readers to share in your hallucinations and delusions of grandeur. I suggest that if you really believe "Satan" had a hand in your abandoning the newsletter, perhaps you could benefit from psychotherapy. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I can see when someone is in trouble as you appear to me to be. Your blaming "Satan" for your decisions does not appear healthy to me. Needless to say, I think Mister Till had NOTHING AT ALL to do with your choice to no longer publish The Believer's Chronicle. That lame dog won't hunt. Over the many years I have read Mister Till's articles, I have found him to be, without exception, extraordinarily fair to Bible Inerrantists--- he goes to great length to provide space for Inerrantists to express their beliefs and to address criticism. I have never met Mister Till, nor do I owe him any favors: therefore, when I say that I find his honesty to be impeccable and his motives to be fair, just, and virtuous, I do so out of the respect he has earned. If more Born Again Christians and Bible Inerrantist were as intellectual honest and fair as I have always found Mister Till to be, I dare say a great many non-believers would not look at Christianity and Christians with such well-earned disdain. Sling as much mud at Mister Till as you wish: I will not buy it unless and until you produce some evidence that it is justified. Be ashamed, Mister Conley. You have refused to explain which parent publication The Believer's Chronicle calved off of--- that refusal is absurd and irresponsible! I have never heard of such behavior of a publisher outside of samizdat. Your story about a division among the ranks of A.S.R.C. being responsible for your silence on the issue seems weak to me. Perhaps you have acquired the proprietary mailing list of the parent publication and you don't want them to know. Perhaps the parent publication was worth Mister Till's time writing to, but not yours. So you see why Mister Till's inquiry concerning the parent publication is a valid one. Why have you not, as far as I know, told Mister Till who the parent publication is? Why do you wish Mister Till to be unable to contact them? As for the size of your readership (ex-readership), again Mister Till had excellent reasons to question you on the issue. Instead of giving the man some kind of good-faith assurance (the post office would be quite happy to give you a receipt that you could have mailed to Mister Till), you chose to insult and belittle him in a letter that was presumably mailed to over one-and-a-half thousand people. I, too, find myself skeptical of your claim [of] over 1,500 subscribers. As to your newsletter, I found the "believers" to be ignorant, childish, arrogant, obnoxious, and grossly ill-informed--- to such an extent that I pause to wonder if the newsletter was an elaborate put-on (i.e. con job) to make people who believe in God to appear foolish baboons. The article on numerology was sufficient to demonstrate your complete lack of sincerity. Concerning the grossly foolish, inane, asinine numerology article, if one is to take the author's word for it, God has used the "power in numbers" to show us that the Messiah Jesus is The Beast of Revelation: multiply the English alphabet's sequence by nine (A=9, B=18, C=27, all the way to Z=234). Adding up the word JESUS, we get 666. MESSIAH also reduces to 666. Now, would you publish this Novian numerological technique along with the other one? Why or why not? Needless to say, one can manipulate numbers to perform all kinds of mysterious tricks--- does that mean God is responsible? Or does it means that ignorant fools are too stupid to think critically? Innumeracy is a social problem that is exasperated by editors like you who choose to fuel it. (You may pick up a book about the problems of Innumeracy at Prometheus Books.) To conclude, I found your behavior towards Mister Till to be dastardly and your braggartly rationalizations to be discreditable. If your goal was to make yet one more Christian look the incompetent, arrogant, irresponsible, ignorant, self-righteous, bumbling dullard, you couldn't have done a much better job. Just what WAS your goal for your newsletter? To make believers appear to all be imbeciles? ... "Leave it to an ATHEIST to decide there is no god." -- net.fundy * --- Silver Xpress Mail System 5.4H1 * Origin: "And furthermore, 'Don't call me brother.'" (1:124/9005)


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