Friday, July 23, 2010

"Ye shall know them by their fruits"

Pictured is a letter to the editor which a newspaper in the US actually deemed appropriate to publish. The existence of this letter was forwarded to me by an e-mail from an acquaintance.

Whether you are a "believer" or an Atheist, I think most would find the tone of this letter exceedingly inflammatory!

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Which is why it is important to remain a Skeptic regarding ANY information that comes one's way.

From the Skeptic's friend, Snopes.com: ... it should probably be noted that, as at lease one writer speculated, it was a complete joke."

The real story can be read here.

As we Skeptics oft do say; It's important to always keep an Open Mind - but not so open that your brains fall out.

16 comments:

secret agent woman said...

I often check these things with Snopes, too. If the writer meant it as a "joke", she is sadly lacking in humor, She's expressing ignorance and hatred and there's not much funny about that. And I read the editorial, too. It made me think the editors of that paper are pinheads. Their statement that it was okay to print a hate letter about Atheists when they wouldn't about Jews, say, is that it is because Atheism is a choice is absurd.

Elisabeth said...

What an extraordinary letter. But quite typical. It suggests freedom but is actually all about forcing people to toe a particular line.

What then of all those America who in all conscience cannot believe in any god. What are they supposed to do, pretend or 'get out of America'?

I don't totally object to the letter being published for all it's bigotry but it should be accompanied by lengthy discussion.

Ideas such as these need to be challenged and thought through, otherwise, I agree with you, such bigotry borders on the dangerous.

Robert the Skeptic said...

SecretAgent That thought crossed my mind as well; why did the editor even allow the letter to be printed? From first-hand experience, I know newspaper editors exact strict control on what they allow in their columns.

Elisabeth I recall the "America, love it or leave it" mentality back in the Vietnam war days. To me, that response is a litmus test on the intelligence of the advocate. How about this: work to make the country even Better. But that subtlety is often lost on those of limited intellect.

On the other hand, that is the beauty of the 1st Amendment, people have the constitutional right to make utter asses of themselves.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

It is telling that the Snopes article statement refers to the fact that the letter brought out many supporters of its' bigotry. Although this specific letter may have been a hoax, the replies to it were not. Hate is rampant in our country, whether it is based on race, religion, socio-economic status, gender/sexual orientation or cultre. For all of the changes over the past few decades, there is still so much work to do.

Gorilla Bananas said...

The funny aspect of this letter is imagining what would happen if you tried to put its demand into practice. A lot of church-goers must be closet atheists, so they would be have to be interrogated. And genuine atheists might pretend to worship little dolls or fertility symbols in their homes. Or adopt the Jedi religion.

Next spoof letter: kick all the fat asses out of America.

TechnoBabe said...

Some jokes are funny. I guess I can laugh off stupid jokes too. I try not to be so uptight that I can't see humor in stuff like this. I personally am not an atheist and yet I stand behind those who choose to believe that way. I too check out stories that are emailed to me and usually snopes.com is the best source. Thanks for always pointing out things and keeping your mind open.

Robert the Skeptic said...

BackRow The bigotry is a factor, however most people usually keep their racial or religious bigotry to themselves. However, there seems to be no "political correctness" involved regarding Atheists - we're "fair game" and few hold their punches. Atheists are the top most reviled class in America.

Bananas Indeed many who go to church attend for the fellowship. And yes, atheists do have their little rituals as well.

Caution regarding shipping the fat-asses out of America - the largest foreign tourist destination for Americans is the UK; they like to go where they already speak the language.

TechnoBabe I am fairly tolerant of other people's religious views, that is, until they try to infuse them into public policy. Creationism being taught as an "alternate theory" is one that inflames me.

When I get one of those mass info-crap e-mails I usually "reply all" with the snopes.com refutation. People seem to believe all that crap they receive, I guess that's why the "Nigerian scam" continues to be profitable.

Mandy said...

I lurves Snopes.com.

Unfortunately most people don't want to hear it's a prank. They want to believe.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Whether or not it is a hoax does not exclude it from reflecting truth. Intolerance and hatred, and willing ignorance, frighten me about our country and the world. At times it seems that society is more tolerant of pedophiles than atheists.

Orhan Kahn said...

Freedom of speech has gone too far. God would agree. In fact, he does. Its in the Bible somewhere. YOU DO NOT NEED PROOF! Just take me at my word.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Mandy There is a marker of intelligence where subtlety in humor is beyond the comprehension of some.

Marylinn Indeed, many would equate the two; the "godless" being immoral and criminal because they reject the moral "code" (allegedly) handed down by the great spook in the sky. Interestingly atheists make up less than 1% of the prison population but 15% of the US population.

Orhan I am a big supporter of the 1st amendment. Unfortunately many here "self censor" due to fear to offend. A book was written by a university about the controversy regarding pictures of the prophet Mohammad; but the university chose to censor it's own book by leaving out the pictures discussed in the book... so they wouldn't offend Islam. What is the point of 1st amendment rights if they are not exercised?

Entre Nous said...

I'm sure the poor thing was serious in her opinion, pathetic as it sems, and the newspaper might have had other inflammatory letters prompting this woman to write hers.

It's sad to have to face the realization there are a lot of people 'out there' like this, scary to realize they may the the next to turn fanatic and start going postal.

Reminds me of the old joke that went something like... One out of three people will go insane every ten seconds so look around you blah, lousey at jokes and can never remember them correctly but you get the gist.

She just may be the one headed over the edge......

Orhan Kahn said...

Bill Maher sums it up perfectly in this clip.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Entre Nous Even though this was a sarcastic letter, indeed many people did not pick up on that and rallied around the opinion. Odd to me that the newspaper would print it for that very reason. Yes, lots of nuts out there.

Orhan Maher is a cocky bastard but he really hits the nail on the head most of the time. Perhaps in a couple of centuries Islam will pull out of it's Dark Ages as the others eventually did (sort-of).

Entre Nous said...

Whoa, I think I need to reset (like,er, a few gin and tonics and a vacation...). Since 9/11 I tend to take a lot of stuff seriously, just in case....

Robert the Skeptic said...

Entre Nous Mango Cosmos are my stress-reliever of choice. Yes, we missed taking a vacation this year. We won't do that again!