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Letter to Stephen Baldwin

Tomorrow (Saturday), I will be attending the Wizard World comic and sci-fi convention in Philadelphia. I attend this convention every year because I love sci-fi. This year I have learned the Stephen Baldwin will be at the convention. Stephen is the fundamentalist Christian Baldwin. So I thought I would write him a letter and hand it to him personally at the convention. I also hope to talk to him about his “extreme faith.” Here is the letter, feel free to offer suggested changed before Saturday:

Dear Stephen,
I understand that you are a bit of a spontaneous type of guy. You are not someone who does anything in half measure either. This is a great trait to have at times. But sometimes it isn’t such a great trait to have. Sometimes people ought to be thoughtful and look before they leap.

With this in mind, it is no surprise that you became a born-again Christian. Becoming a born-again Christian is a spontaneous conversion process. It generally happens when people are in an emotional state or when they have hit rock bottom. It rarely occurs through a long and thoughtful process. Leaving religion on the other hand does often take such a long and thoughtful process.

Stephen, I want to start you on that journey. Now I know that your gut reaction is to dismiss me right off the bat. That is perfectly natural and most atheists experienced the same gut reaction when they were religious. If you really have the one and only Truth, you should not have a problem examining that Truth in the light of reason. In fact, you should welcome sure an examination to further prove to me and more importantly to yourself that your faith is justified. So let’s begin.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Bible is not inerrant. As someone who grew up Jewish, I attended years of Hebrew School and learned all about how the Jews were slaves in Egypt and God helped them through the Exodus. This is often cited by many as historical and yet it never happened. The Jews were never slaves in Egypt and the Exodus never happened. If one of the “historical” and more believable stories in the Bible is a myth, it is a good bet that Genesis and some of the other less believable stories are almost certainly not true.

So let’s turn to the New Testament since after all, Paul tells us that the entirety of Christianity really does rest of the historical truth of the resurrection of Jesus. Interestingly enough, there is no real evidence outside of the Bible that Jesus even existed. The Bible of course has changed over time significantly sometimes even for political reasons. For example, the parable of “he who is without sin” was added much later to the Bible. The Gabriel Scrolls also show that there was an earlier draft to the Jesus myth based around someone named Simon.

But I digress; what about God? Well, let me put it this way. If I were God, I would have written the Bible to paint me in a more friendly and favorable light. Let’s face facts. The God as described in the Bible is a real jerk. All I have to do is open up my Bible to any page and see God smiting someone for something… or at least ordering the smiting of someone for something. Jesus is even worse with his massage of eternal punishment in Hell for those who don’t believe in him. I mean what kind of loving deity gives that kind of ultimatum? The insecure and immoral kind I guess.

This brings me to the big Ten Commandments. These are God’s Commandments. The most important top ten things God does NOT want you to do. Some of them make sense (but those actually predate the Bible). Some are very tribal and dated. Needless to say, there commandments were so important that God actually physically set them in stone (although like Joseph Smith’s Golden Plates they are no where to be found). Notice what laws God didn’t think were that important. There is nothing about slavery or rape and nothing about the rights of women or treating people with dignity. But there is a law against working on Saturdays. Guess what Stephen? I am here at this Wizard World convention for pleasure but you are working on this Sabbath Day. I know you fancy yourself as Job and everything, but even Job followed the Ten Commandments. According to the Bible, I would be well within my rights to stone you to death right now.

Don’t worry, I don’t believe in that sort of thing. I’m an atheist. The way I see it, morality is a human construct and it is both relativistic and absolutist. Morality is principle based and based on human empathy and compassion. Human beings are still learning about morality. While it can sometimes be hard to figure out what is right, it is often easier to discover what is wrong and for the record, stoning people for working on the Sabbath Day is wrong. Sorry God, score one for human beings.

Sure it would be nice to have an easy list of “thou” and “thou nots” but life isn’t always easy. There are no rules set in stone for us to follow. Morality is a journey Stephen, just like life. Your journey has taken you to extreme faith and now I hope that you will start your journey to extreme reason. Faith can’t be tested or verified by definition, but reason can be. This is why both you and I use reason every day. It is time to use reason and think deeply about faith. I encourage you to search the internet and learn more. You can start on my website where I write a daily blog discussing religion, DangerousTalk.net. Search the category drop down menu for articles on various topics.

I wish you and your family well and I hope to see you in Bio-Dome 2: The Eye of Braxis soon.
In Reason,
-Staks Rosch

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