We can’t remember writing about a situation like this before. We’re writing about three letters in The Citizen of Auburn, New York, the first of which generated two creationist responses.
Here’s the original letter, which appeared on 10 February: Religion nothing more than a placebo, written by Thomas Hanley. We don’t know anything about him, and his letter wasn’t that good, but he certainly stirred things up in Auburn. He made a big chronological blooper (which went unnoticed by those who responded), and it was this:
As far as the “overwhelming majority of Americans” believing that there is a god, at one time the overwhelming majority of Americans believed the sun revolved around the earth. Science came to the rescue and trumped the religious dogma of that time.
Anyway, there are two responses that now appear in that same newspaper. All three letters have a comments feature at the end. We don’t know who any of the letter-writers are. The creationists don’t appear to be politicians, preachers, or other public figures, so we won’t embarrass or promote them by using their full names. Excerpts will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
The first response is Stand up for your belief in God. It was written by Jimmy, who seems to have written an even earlier letter that triggered the Thomas Hanley letter. He says:
It never ceases to amaze me how those who preach there is no God can show such anger, hatred and disdain toward something they don’t even believe exists. Thomas Hanley ridicules people of faith as the “Witless Majority,” convinced that we must beg God for favors.
Jimmy is amazed. Then he tells us:
I doubt there is anything Mr. Hanley can say that will convince believers there is no God, just as I’m sure we’ll never convince him that there is. Science can’t prove or disprove the existence of God, nor can it explain the purpose of life or why we are here.
Yes, those are terrible failings of science. Now here’s his killer argument:
In order to know for certain that God doesn’t exist, one must possess infinite knowledge. But no human has infinite knowledge. To have infinite knowledge, you would have to be God himself, and how can you be God and atheist at the same time?
Good point! And here’s another:
If Mr. Hanley is correct that God doesn’t exist, then when we die we’ll simply be thrown in a box six feet under, never having known the true purpose of life or having discovered the answers to life’s many mysteries, and that will simply be the end of it. But, if by some chance Mr. Hanley is wrong and God does exist, what then?
That’s enough. Now we’ll move on to the next letter, written by John. It’s titled U.S. founded on religious freedom. John says:
I write this letter in response to Thomas Hanley’s unsubstantiated atheist arguments about the existence of God. There has been no proof that God does not exist, scientific or otherwise. The reason for this is that man was the last thing that God created, therefore no missing link has been found to connect man with the theory of evolution.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! So that’s why there’s no missing link! We’ve never encountered that argument before. Let’s read on:
Oh, by the way Mr. Hanley, I don’t know what school you went to but a theory is an assumption, a speculation. It is not supported by scientific fact. Sorry to burst your bubble.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He continues:
If it weren’t for the people seeking freedom from religious persecution, who helped settle this country, you wouldn’t be able to voice your atheistic views.
Yeah, those pilgrims were fanatical about religious freedom — see Salem witch trials. Here’s more:
God isn’t a man in the sky. God realized that his creation, man, was imperfect and that man needed a set of rules to live by to live in peace and thus handed down The Ten Commandments. Do you not agree that if all mankind followed the Ten Commandments there would be peace on earth? What other being would have sought to right our imperfections with the perfect set of rules to do so.
Yet another original argument. John is good! Here’s how he ends his letter:
May God have mercy on your soul. Oh, that’s right, you don’t believe you have one.
Wow — that was an amazing put-down! We hope things calm down in Auburn, New York. We can’t handle any more of this excitement.
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