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Apr 20

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The Columbine Letters

My essay on the Columbine massacre has gotten more e-mail response than all of my other Freethought Almanac blog postings combined. Columbine seems to have touched a nerve: almost all of the e-mails disagree with me. And I’m still receiving them! Here are what my correspondents say, the most recent first, and how I replied to them:

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Mon, 9 May 2005

I know you don’t know me and all, but I read your essay and I was impressed at the thought put into it. There was one statement I disagree with though. It was the last sentence. Have you ever read the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible? There is one passage that says there is a time for everything. A time to laugh. A time to cry. A time to be born, and a time to die. You see, God didn’t abandon Cassie or Rachel, in fact He was there with them through that entire trial. Just because He didn’t miraculously save them doesn’t mean that He abandoned them. It was just their time. Now Cassie and Rachel are in a better place. A place with no tears, sorrow, or pain. Maybe God used them to be an encouragement to the rest of us Christians out here. Maybe he knew that their stories would make us realize what a God He is and how faithful He is through trials. God was there. As I finish this e-mail, I just want to tell you that you’re in my prayers.

God bless and keep you,

[signed] A child of God

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REPLY: Tue, 10 May 2005

Thanks for your thoughts on my Columbine essay. I think Ecclesiastes also says there is “a time to kill,” which must be the part Dylan and Eric read, but no matter. The Bible is one “holy book” in a multitude. To say about Rachel and Cassie that “it was their time” makes about as much sense as saying the same about Dylan and Eric.

I wonder if you really believe what you wrote or, rather, if you think through what you say. As I’ve pointed out before, here are just a few points you might consider before you let God off the hook for causing the murder of 13 innocents:

Ecclesiastes 1-8 (KJV)

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

1. If God was with Rachel Scott and Cassie Bernall, and had the power to save their lives, and didn’t save their lives, how can he not be responsible for their deaths?

2. If Rachel and Cassie have gone to a better place, why do Christians not go there immediately and in great numbers?

3. Indeed, if Rachel and Cassie have gone to a better place, one without “tears, sorrow, or pain,” isn’t that also a place where there is no laughter, joy and love? Rachel and Cassie were ripped from their family, friends and mentors. They will never experience growing up, getting married, having children, and experiencing the thousands of good (and bad) things in this world—which is, if you are honest, the only world we can be sure of.

4. If God is trying to “encourage” his creatures, couldn’t he do so with less bloodshed? Is killing his followers the only way an all-powerful, all-wise God can get our attention?

5. Indeed, if “trials” such as Columbine show us “what a God He is and how faithful He is,” isn’t the murder of his followers a disincentive to moral behavior? If I killed my daughter, the last thing people would think is that I loved her!

6. If God was there with Cassie and Rachel when they were murdered, then weren’t the murderers Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris doing God’s work?

As for your prayers, I don’t think they’ll hurt me or help me. You see, if God knows everything, he already knows my fate. Isn’t it presumptuous of you to try to change his mind?

PS: You would do well to research the writings you reference. Ecclesiastes has been called “one of the strangest books that was ever included in a sacred collection.” Its author (probably a Jew living in the Greco-Egyptian city of Alexandria about 250-200 BCE) had to be an Epicurean philosopher: he believes in God, but is an Agnostic about survival of the personality (“soul”) after death. The word commonly translated as “vanity” (see 1:2 et seq.) is more accurately translated “senseless,” which is how the author views life itself. The author is a worldly pessimist, in any case, and encourages us to “eat, drink and be merry” (8:15) and to live for this life, not any life to come.

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Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005

First thanks for emailing me back. I honestly thought you wouldn’t! Now I think I have to clear up a few things. I noticed throughout the whole email you were verbally attacking me somewhat, if I said anything to offend you, I am truly sorry. I didn’t understand why you were such a smart alec with me. People who know me well know that I am a very passionate person. Columbine happens to be an area in which I am very passionate! I don’t understand why it happened and why there will never been any answers. When I said that I know that Cassie and Rachel said yes and that all others said yes, well you are right, I can’t possibly know unless I was there which Thank God I wasn’t! What I meant to say and worded it very wrong is this: Rachel and Cassie were confident in what they believed in and were not about to turn their backs on what they believed even if it meant there death! In saying how the others said yes as well, well to admit that came out of passion on my part!

As for the whole Religious arguments. Now i don’t know what your religion is exaclty as mine is Pentacostal. But I do however have my thoughts on what you wrote. Such as when you said that Jesus did not die for our sins, well i happen to think he did. Our sins by the way can be anything really. How we treat others Badly? How we kill, rape , and torture children, mothers daughter, sons every day? Also there are the seven sins ( watch seven with Brad Pitt, good movie and explains it all) If you have read the Bible as i assume you have becuase of what you wrote then you will know that jesus was sent to earth so that God may understand what it is like for us. He loves us so much that he came to earth to feel what we feel and relate on a different level.. When you wrote that your parents concieved you out of their love for each other you abviously misunderstood what I meant! I meant that life through Christ is not literal birth – its Spirtual life. And that even though your parents concieved you out of love your life as you live wasn’t through your parents! As for not getting into heaven immidiatly! well i think that God’s desire is that all people go to heaven. Out time on earth is so that people would have the CHANCE to accept his invitation to eternal happiness and glory and freedom from all the crap of this world. Yes life sucks big time, some more then others however we have the promise of everlasting joy which makes this time worth it.

On a lasting note, referring back to the Cassie, Rachel thing. I hope that their siblings or God forbid their parents never come upon your paper becuase they would probley not be all that amused about what you wrote. And that my friend is what I meant by not having compassion, and sounding cold. What if I told you that I knew Cassie very well and that what I read hurt me? would you have said things different? or would you have still been a smart alec towards me? I only pray and hope that your family would never have to go through what Cassie’s did because I am sure that you would think very differently about things. I know that its only my opinion and everything that I say doesn’t really mean anything to you! But I do thank you for reading my response and writing back, through what you write I can tell that you are intelligent and that helps in this world!

Thank You and God Bless

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REPLY: Fri, 1 Apr 2005

On the contrary, it seemed to me that you are much more intelligent that you demonstrated in your first e-mail. I had no intention of verbally attacking you—only your arguments. And, no, I would not respond any differently, even if you knew or were related to any of the Columbine victims. I did not write my essay to amuse but to point out logical fallacies and sloppy thinking, of which your two e-mails contain much.

I am grateful that you shared your views with me. I just wish you trusted your brain more than your passion because, logically, if God really is just and good, he’s not going to condemn me to hell for being honest about my beliefs—even you would have to admit he made me this way! I, like you, think there are few satisfactory answers to the question of “why did this happen?” But I think bringing God into it is worse than useless: it is a non-answer, explaining a mystery by invoking another mystery.

Believing things does not make them so; therefore, you cannot convince me that Jesus died for my sins, or even lived on this earth, based on your own passionate belief. Passion does not create reality: rational humans demand proof. As for suggesting that I “kill, rape, and torture children, mothers daughter, sons every day,” I don’t think you are serious: I’ve never done any of these things. And I needed no sky-god to threaten me with hell, nor a belief in a monstrous supernatural being who would kill his own son, to keep me from doing these things. I just think the whole “god kills son for other people’s sins” idea makes no sense. Why would you punish your son because of what other people have done? That’s like having a bad day at work and then coming home and beating your wife. It’s totally misplaced aggression.

As a matter of fact, if Jesus died for our sins, shouldn’t we be sinning constantly? You wouldn’t want him to have died for nothing, would you?

I confess I have no understanding of this “spiritual life” you’re talking about. This physical life is enough for me, but I disagree that it “sucks big time.” On the contrary, it’s all I will ever know and I love it so much I want to keep it as long as possible. And I have even less desire to continue my life in the Christian heaven of “everlasting joy.” It sounds like a morphine trip. How boring would that be? (And, if it wasn’t boring, I wouldn’t be me!)

My parents had sex: that’s what gave me life. One day I will die and my soulless corpse will rot in the ground and provide nourishment to the earth so that the world can continue to support life. I think that’s a far less selfish, far more altruistic, plan for my future than to spirit my (nonexistent) soul away into some celestial choir.

On the other hand, have you considered the possibility that God really isn’t the Supreme Egotist, who demands fawning worship, unquestioning obedience and denial of our senses and sensibilities? If a man had those characteristics, I would despise him. How can they be flattering attributes in a God?

Perhaps, instead, God loves honesty, integrity and rational inquiry? Maybe God loves a doubter more than a believer? Maybe God deliberately withholds evidence of his existence to compel us to take charge of our own lives, create our own destinies, reach out to our fellow human beings?

Just a thought.

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Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005

I have no idea when that paper was written or anything but i thought i might comment on some things that were said in the paper that I disagree with. True the Christianity religion was founded on a murder that being Jesus Christ, however if you read the Bible in depth you will read that Jesus knew of his sufferings to come and did it without fighting back. He died for our sins. Now I don’t know if you believe in God Jesus and all that stuff but I do! And i bellieve that he loved us so much that he sacrificed his life so that we may live. Comments on Cassie Bernall and rachel Scott not saying yes is another thing i don’t agree with. in my personal opinion every single person who died that day said “Yes”. They died for whatever reason and sacrificed their lives so that other school students in high schools might be safe. i believe it brings a kind of comfort for people to believe that They said yes to their killers right before they died. Almost as a one last Standing on earth before paradise.

This paper was written well, yes. But I think maybe lack of Compassion made the paper seem too Cold.

Name Withheld

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REPLY: Thu, 31 Mar 2005

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I am uncertain what you mean by my essay seeming “cold,” but if disconnecting my brain and my critical thinking skills would make me warm enough for your liking, I think I’ll pass.

How do you know that I have not read the Bible in depth, but simply come to a different conclusion than yours? Nobody can make reparations for an offense but the offender, so saying “Jesus died for our sins” (whatever “sins” are) makes no sense to me. The same goes for saying Jesus “sacrificed his life so that we may live.” There is no vicarious atonement: the very idea is morally repugnant.

Furthermore, I am alive, but I think I owe that state of being more to my parents’ conjugal joy than to some mythical “Christ” dying for me. Life begets life; death doesn’t. Or did you fail biology?

I don’t believe you can possibly know what Cassie and Rachel and the others said the day they were shot to death by two psychopathic teenagers, but it is much more likely they said something other than a remark welcoming their murders.

I’m just guessing, but so are you. The facts cannot be altered to provide comfort. To keep warm, I would prefer a real coat over an imaginary heat wave.

And if the Christian heaven is such a wonderful place, why do you not go there immediately? Or am I again demonstrating my lack of compassion by holding you to your word?

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Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2005

First of all, you misunderstood me. When I said all the kids killed at Columbine were the result of disobedience to God’s commandments, I didn’t mean the kids who got shot, I meant Dylan and Eric. They committed the evil act of murder.

You asked me to prove that there is a God. Well, I want you to prove that there is NOT a God. Go ahead and try, you’ll never be able to!

The proof of the existence of God is first of all in all His creation. If the universe was brought into being by a “big bang” or two atoms randomly bumping into each other, how do you explain the intricacy of the human brain? If you believe in the ludricous, totally irrational theory of god-less evolution, let me ask you this: if you made cardboard letters of your name, Ronald Bruce Meyer, and cut them up into 50 pieces and dropped them on the floor, how many times would you have to drop them until they fell into the perfect spelling of your name? One billion, two billion? You know the answer: NEVER! And you are foolish enough to believe that the magnificent order of the planets, the stars, the chemical and vegetable composition of billions of plants, animals and minerals, the mountain ranges, the incredible workings of the human circulatory system–have you ever seen a human heart?–the millions of complex nerves, each with its own specific purpose —the awesome construction of the human eye–that these are all the result of random chance? Would you ever look inside a gigantic computer used at NASA and believe that it just accidently fell together that way, without some kind of intelligent design? Of course not, that would be downright stupid and ignorant of you. So how can you possibly disbelieve in Intellegent Design of our universe? We are talking ASTONISHING ignorance! Even primitive tribes in Borneo and the remotest jungles of Africa know enough to understand that there is a Supreme Being who did all this.

The only reason there is evil in the world is because God gave us free will which we can use to choose good or to choose evil. Hell is for those who completely reject God and His mercy. Is He evil to have created Hell? No way. He gives us every means to choose good–it’s called Grace.

You ask why evil people live on. Any human being knows that there has to be justice. Those who do evil all their lives (Hitler, Charles Manson, BTK Killer, etc) will receive justice in the afterlife-Hell, if they don’t repent. Those who suffer in this life and never seem to get a break will also have justice meted out to them–in the afterlife of Heaven.

Look at it this way. You know you will NEVER be able to prove that there is no God. Now, I do believe in God and in Heaven and Hell, and being a Catholic, I have plenty of proof for this truth. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I’m wrong. So when I die, there’s nothing left–just annihilation, nothingness. Well, I’d never know that my faith was meaningless all my life. I wouldn’t know anything, because I simply don’t exist anymore. But let’s say that you’re wrong. So when you die, there’s not nothingness, non-existence–there’s Hell with its fire and agony and diabolical screeching and cursing of demons and damned souls, the foulest stench imaginable, terror and hatred, indescribable pain and suffering, constant self-remorse and self-hate–and it never ends; it is eternal and every moment you are aware that you have condemned yourself to this infinite misery from which you will never escape. Now if one of us is wrong, wouldn’t it be prudent to err on the side of belief…just in case?

Good Luck, you are really going to need it, my friend.

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REPLY: Sun, 13 Mar 2005

I see I’ve failed as a father to you. Oh, well…

“First of all, you misunderstood me. When I said all the kids killed at Columbine were the result of disobedience to God’s commandments, I didn’t mean the kids who got shot, I meant Dylan and Eric. They committed the evil act of murder.”

I misunderstand nothing: you are again contradicting yourself. You said exactly this: “The deaths of those kids at Columbine was the result of human beings disobeying the commandments of God…” If you meant, as you now say, just Dylan and Eric, then you are wrong: they took their own lives. If you meant, as you said before, all the kids who were shot, then God is a monster for allowing them to die. You will have to admit that at least Cassie and Rachel were innocent of disobedience to God. Where is the justice in that?

“You asked me to prove that there is a God. Well, I want you to prove that there is NOT a God. Go ahead and try, you’ll never be able to!”

You didn’t read what I wrote. I asked you to describe God, not prove any imaginary beings exist. Can you describe God without contradicting yourself and getting twisted up in contradictions? Here is your chance to convert me. I’m listening with an open but critical mind.

For God to exist, he must exist as something. If you can’t describe God, you can’t compel me to believe and, therefore, we have nothing to talk about.

“The proof of the existence of God is first of all in all His creation.”

You’re getting way ahead of yourself. You just assumed something (creation by God) that you haven’t yet demonstrated to be true. This is why I say you need a course in logic and critical thinking.

“If the universe was brought into being by a “bigbang” or two atoms randomly bumping into each other, how do you explain the intricacy of the human brain?”

And the alternative explanation is yours? Your explanation, “God did it,” is worse than useless: it’s a science stopper. It is no explanation at all, since you are invoking one mystery (creation) to prove another (God). Not helpful. Try again.

“If you believe in the ludricous, totally irrational theory of god-less evolution, let me ask you this: if you made cardboard letters of your name, Ronald Bruce Meyer, and cut them up into 50 pieces and dropped them on the floor, how many times would you have to drop them until they fell into the perfect spelling of your name? One billion, two billion? You know the answer: NEVER!”

Now you’re just showing how little you understand statistics. The universe doesn’t work in the way that you describe. I guess, in addition to the course in logic and critical thinking, you’re going to have to take one in mathematics and statistics. A little biochemistry might help (the chemical alphabet has a limited number of letters, which limits the “random chance” of combinations); and maybe a little anthropology (you have an appalling ignorance of the mechanics of evolution). But you might just have to miss your daily serving of Jesus Juice to really use your brain.

Perhaps I overestimated you.

“And you are foolish enough to believe that the magnificent order of the planets, the stars, the chemical and vegetable composition of billions of plants, animals and minerals, the mountain ranges, the incredible workings of the human circulatory system–have you ever seen a human heart?–the millions of complex nerves, each with its own specific purpose —the awesome construction of the human eye–that these are all the result of random chance?”

I never said anything about random chance. These things came about through slow but persistent evolution. And it’s not at all that random. Evolutionary dead-ends die; evolutionary successes survive; therefore, the supposed randomness you assume is not quite so random.

“Would you ever look inside a gigantic computer used at NASA and believe that it just accidently fell together that way, without some kind of intelligent design? Of course not, that would be downright stupid and ignorant of you. So how can you possibly disbelieve in Intellegent Design of our universe? We are talking ASTONISHING ignorance! Even primitive tribes in Borneo and the remotest jungles of Africa know enough to understand that there is a Supreme Being who did all this.”

OK, so if something so marvelously complex as a God designed the universe, who designed God? Order does not necessarily presuppose intelligent design: you’re just assuming that. Computer design is within our experience as human beings; universe design is outside our experience. You are, once again, assuming something that remains to be proved. This is called “begging the question.”

If universes and eyes are so complex as to require a designer, who is to say there is only one designer? Maybe there are two? Or dozens? Or millions? There is no logical reason to suppose there is only one designer.

There also is no reason to suppose that this designer is supernatural (i.e., a god). There is no reason to suppose that if there was a designer, that this designed still exists. And why assume that only good things are designed? Is cancer also evidence of a great Designer? Is the 26 December 2004 Indonesian tsunami also evidence of a great Designer? To be consistent, you must say yes.

“The only reason there is evil in the world is because God gave us free will which we can use to choose good or to choose evil. Hell is for those who completely reject God and His mercy. Is He evil to have created Hell? No way. He gives us every means to choose good–it’s called Grace. You ask why evil people live on. Any human being knows that there has to be justice. Those who do evil all their lives (Hitler, Charles Manson, BTK Killer, etc) will receive justice in the afterlife-Hell, if they don’t repent. Those who suffer in this life and never seem to get a break will also have justice meted out to them–in the afterlife of Heaven.”

Wrong. God himself/itself/herself put evil into the world. Haven’t you read Amos 3:6? Or Lamentations 3:38? Or Isaiah 45:6-7? And since God supposedly existed before man (and “free will,” whatever that is), evil existed before man. As we both agree there exists evil in the world, then we must both agree to the following propositions:

• If God does not know there is evil, he is not omniscient (all-knowing)

• If God knows there is evil, but cannot prevent it, he is not omnipotent (all-powerful)

• If God knows there is evil, and can prevent it, but doesn’t, he is not omnibenevolent (all-good)

• If the first two points are true, the existence of evil in the world means God cannot be good

If you claim that God is good, you have admitted that humans can, unaided by God, tell good from evil. But if humans can tell good from evil, and God acts in ways that seem evil, such as allowing those shooting deaths at Columbine, you cannot continue to claim that God is good: you’ve already admitted that humans can tell the difference!

Hell is not mentioned in the Old Testament, which contains your precious Ten Commandments; it was an invention of your “loving” Jesus and is thoroughly evil and reprehensible. Imagine! Prescribing infinite punishment for finite crimes! How do you reconcile such vicious cruelty with the supposed love and compassion of Christianity?

Hell trivializes “Christian morality” (an ironic concept in itself), by degrading it into a set of traffic laws. The rationale isn’t, “Obey and you get a better society,” or “Obey and you will help you neighbor and/or your family.” It is, instead, “Obey and you can keep your sorry ass from burning.” God is to be obeyed because he’ll kick your ass if you don’t. That’s hardly an elevated morality, but it is the essence of Christianity.

If there has to be a Hell for there to be a Heaven, I’d rather dispense with both, thank you.

As for “free will,” the concept cannot exist alongside an all-knowing (omniscient) God: if God knows all, the future is set and cannot be changed, hence there is no free will.

“Look at it this way. You know you will NEVER be able to prove that there is no God. Now, I do believe in God and in Heaven and Hell, and being a Catholic, I have plenty of proof for this truth. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I’m wrong. So when I die, there’s nothing left–just annihilation, nothingness. Well, I’d never know that my faith was meaningless all my life. I wouldn’t know anything, because I simply don’t exist anymore.”

You’re using Pascal’s Wager, one of the weakest arguments for believing in invisible, incomprehensible supernatural beings. But I can use small words to get you to understand how illogical the argument is. Just read my critique here and we’ll have something to talk about.

“But let’s say that you’re wrong. So when you die, there’s not nothingness, non-existence–there’s Hell with its fire and agony and diabolical screeching and cursing of demons and damned souls, the foulest stench imaginable, terror and hatred, indescribable pain and suffering, constant self-remorse and self-hate–and it never ends; it is eternal and every moment you are aware that you have condemned yourself to this infinite misery from which you will never escape.”

So, what you’re trying to do is scare me into believing? Are you aware that a belief is not a choice? It is, instead, a matter of being convinced. I simply can’t understand why God leaves it to your lame efforts to convert me. If God made me, he made my mind. He knows what evidence it would take to convince me, yet he refuses to provide it. He could convert me with a blink of his Almighty Eye, but chooses to see me in hell. If this “loving God” condemns an honest unbeliever, without giving him the slightest evidence of his existence, then he is evil and, rather than worship him, I feel justified in despising him!

“Now if one of us is wrong, wouldn’t it be prudent to err on the side of belief…just in case?”

You mean, lacking any compelling evidence, your suggestion is that I pretend to believe? Just go through the motions and hope to fool God? Won’t God see through that? I would. And I would rather err on the side of rational, logical thought, empiricism, and compelling evidence. But that’s just me.

“Good Luck, you are really going to need it, my friend.”

It isn’t luck! It’s the will of God. But I have more in common with God than you do: I don’t believe in a “higher power,” either!

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Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2005

Since every human being is made in the image and likeness of God (yes, even you!), everyone has an impulse for eternal life, even if he-or she-professes to be an atheist. There is absolute proof that the universe was created by a Supreme Intellegence, and deep down in your hardened heart, you know that. The only reason God allows evil is to draw out of it a greater good, such as the salvation of souls who would otherwise perish into eternal fire–yes, Hell does exist! The deaths of those kids at Columbine was the result of human beings disobeying the commandments of God, and it was THEIR actions which were evil. Since you don’t understand the concept of everlasting Life, Heaven, Salvation, you can’t comprehend that Rachel Scott and Cassie Bernal, who were devout Christians, regardless of whether they “said yes” or not, went to Heaven the instant the shots blew their heads off and will be there FOREVER! This earthly life is but a blink of an eye compared to eternity. “A thousand years in Heaven is but one day in the eyes of God”. The scary thing is that every person who does not believe in Hell will probably go there, and those who DO believe in Hell and do everything possible to NOT go there, probalby won’t. I sure hope you don’t end up there. Life without God is incomprehensible.

Name Withheld

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REPLY: Fri, 4 Mar 2005

Thanks for writing, but you really should lay off the Jesus Juice. It’s affecting your reasoning powers.

“Since every human being is made in the image and likeness of God (yes, even you!), everyone has an impulse for eternal life, even if he-or she-professes to be an atheist.”

This is a common but unconvincing statement. I might just as easily say you “profess to be a Christian.” Either you believe that I disbelieve or we have nothing to talk about. You assume as true that “every human being is made in the image and likeness of God,” yet I defy you to prove it — or to give me a coherent description of God. Without that, your statement is meaningless and, again, we have nothing to talk about. How can I be made in the image of nothing?

“There is absolute proof that the universe was created by a Supreme Intellegence, and deep down in your hardened heart, you know that.”

More assumptions. You have no proof that the universe was created, or, if it was, that the Creator still exists, or, if he/she/it exists, that the Creator desires our worship and obedience, let alone that we be Christians. Your statements are way out in front of the evidence.

And how do you know my heart is hardened? I’m open to evidence, but it appears you are not!

“The only reason God allows evil is to draw out of it a greater good, such as the salvation of souls who would otherwise perish into eternal fire–yes, Hell does exist!”

Evil is not a thing; actions are (in the popular sense) evil, but evil has no separate existence apart from human action. And only human minds can distinguish good from evil. Therefore, if your imaginary friend (God) permits evil, he is evil. There is simply no way around that. If we try to claim that God’s ways are not our ways, we have no rational basis for judging good or evil, and, consequently, no rational reason to believe God is good. You can’t have it both ways: either humans are competent to judge what is good and what is evil, or we are not.

“The deaths of those kids at Columbine was the result of human beings disobeying the commandments of God, and it was THEIR actions which were evil.”

There you go again, contradicting yourself. If those who died were “disobeying the commandments of God,” then Rachel and Cassie were not good Christians. They were among the dead, after all. Indeed, I find it distressing that you can make such a blanket statement about the actions and/or beliefs of such a varied group of individuals. Were they all so evil that they deserved to die? What about all the bad people who remain alive? And why didn’t God just kill Dylan and Eric before they caused such mayhem? Weren’t they “disobeying the commandments of God”? Or does God speak through gun-toting teenagers?

“Since you don’t understand the concept of everlasting Life, Heaven, Salvation, you can’t comprehend that Rachel Scott and Cassie Bernal, who were devout Christians, regardless of whether they “said yes” or not, went to Heaven the instant the shots blew their heads off and will be there FOREVER!”

I never said I didn’t understand those concepts. I understand them all too well. I think they are all horrible ideas and I reject them through lack of evidence, not to mention lack of necessity. Don’t you think, given a true choice, that Cassie and Rachel would have preferred to endure just a few more “horrible” years of life on earth before having their brains blown all the way to the moon?

And if heaven is so wonderful, why don’t you Christians just go there and leave us freethinkers in peace?

“This earthly life is but a blink of an eye compared to eternity. “A thousand years in Heaven is but one day in the eyes of God”. The scary thing is that every person who does not believe in Hell will probably go there, and those who DO believe in Hell and do everything possible to NOT go there, probalby won’t. I sure hope you don’t end up there. Life without God is incomprehensible.”

No, life is understandable; God is incomprehensible. Hell, created by your “loving” God, is a contradiction of enormous proportions. If God punishes me for using the critical thinking skills that are my birthright, then he is a sadistic monster and I should despise him. If he demands my love and worship, then he is an egotist of insane proportions.

But whatever else you may say about God, if he doesn’t believe in a higher power, then God is an Atheist. At least we have that much in common.

Except that I exist.

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Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2005 19:22:35

Sir-

i would like to say it is nice that someone has a site out where we can depate/protect our religion. i am a christian. i believe God has a plan for us-to an extent. i am a 17 year old junior in high school so i go to youth groups. something elso you could ask, “if God is there right next to you then how come all those people died due to the tsunami in December.”or “Why did God allow the tsunami to go on.”

there is a simple answer for these questions- i’m going to give two- “In Adam’s Fall, We sinned all” and “when a man makes a CD player he doesn’t intend for it to break, but things go wrong and they do break anyways”. maybe this doesn’t say anything to you or anybody, but God isn’t perfect- but i love in with all my heart anyways- i trust him and i want him to trust me.

thank you

God Bless all-

Name Withheld

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REPLY: Fri, 25 Feb 2005

Thanks for the quote from Letter A of The New England Primer from the 1777 edition (In ADAM’S Fall / We sinned all. ). But I’m really not old enough to remember it.

I’m rather alarmed that you think your god is not perfect. I thought that was part of the job description for “Supreme Being.” Without it, your god is no better than Zeus, Jupiter, Quetzalcoatl, Ahura Mazda, Odin, Vishnu or Osiris. But I’m guessing you don’t believe in them, or the 9,000 other gods humankind has invented over the ages. In truth, I simply believe in one less god than you do. That makes you almost an atheist!

If god has a plan, then nothing we can do—including believing in him, worshiping him, and doing good works or evil works—can alter the plan. In short, if god has a plan, there is no free will; if there is free will, then there can be no plan. You can’t have it both ways.

Your “stuff happens” defense of god will not work in the case of massive suffering by great numbers of human beings—not in a universe ruled by god, anyway. Your “simple answer” to why god allows bad things to happen to good people is not to the point. When it comes to the 26 December 2004 tsunami, or the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on the US, the difference between a world ruled by a god who is evil and a god who is absent escapes me. If I could prevent a death, and didn’t, would you think me a good person? Of course not! It is the same with your god and those innocent victims.

If I demanded that you beseech me for favors (which either are, or are not, already in my plan) and commanded your worship, would you not think me a monster? For that matter, you say you love a god who (according to your mythology) killed his own son. But if I did the same thing, you would think me evil, or at least immoral. How can you admire in a god what you would despise in a man?

Christians always say people like me have no moral foundation. I am reminded of a cartoon I saw in a magazine a year or so ago. It bears on whether god is good or evil. In this cartoon we see a drawing of the traditional anthropomorphized God: white beard, flowing robe, leaning out of a cloud and looking down on earth. The caption reads, “Unrestrained by a belief in a higher being, God drowns thousands in a flood…”

Maybe that explains the existence evil in the world.

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Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2005
Subject: Wow, you really don’t get it, do you?

You have no clue about the Christian faith, as is evident in your quote: “Of course I can question where God was! I have a brain and a moral sense. If God caused the deaths of Cassie and Rachel and the 11 others, God is a monster. Any other conclusion is morally bankrupt.”

God did not cause these deaths. What God does is allow mankind freewill. God’s plan, much like the infiniteness of the universe, is above our comprehension. And the ability of humans to choose their own destinies is part of this plan. It is horrible that these two girls, and the other students and teacher, died as a result of the choices of fellow humans, but I believe God intervenes when it is part of his plan to do so, and he does not intervene when freewill does not alter his plan for all of us. Obviosuly God had a plan for Cassie’s life. A former non-believer, it was her conversion, and then her profession of her faith as the final act of her time on earth, that has inspired so many others to strengthen their faiths and to do more good in the world. Nad it has inspired a home for orphans named in her honor. Maybe these things are exactly what God wanted.

To a Christian, a long life on earth does not necessarily mean a full life. Cassie probably led a fuller life than many 80 year olds, because she underwent a transformation and came to know and love God personally. Many people never do this, and die of old age with an empty soul. Now Cassie is in a better place, with God for eternity. To a Christian, death is not the end. It is only the beginning.

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REPLY: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 13:05:40 -0800 (PST)

You’re absolutely right! I have no clue about the Christian faith because I can’t make sense of it. Take this “free will” thing you mention. If, as you say, God has a plan, then there can be no free will. If God’s plan “is above our comprehension,” then we’re not qualified to understand and appreciate any of his other characteristics, either. And I have no clue how God can “intervene” in his own plan!

I have no clue how you can say it was “horrible” that Cassie and Rachel and the others “died as a result of the choices of fellow humans”—yet in the same paragraph say that their deaths were part of God’s plan. First, you’re trying to comprehend what you already stipulated was incomprehensible, and second, you’re doing exactly what you criticize me for doing: judging God’s actions. I take it you think it’s good that God allowed these people to be murdered; I think it’s bad. But if you’re right and I’m wrong, then our entire legal system is pointless.

I have no clue how you can know that Cassie was a “former non-believer” who underwent some kind of conversion that no one witnessed. No matter who or what was inspired by her fictional “deathbed conversion,” that that cannot make it true. I have no clue why God requires thirteen bloody murders to persuade people to build a home for orphans—for whom he could just as easily provide loving parents.

If Christians think the afterlife is so wonderful, I have no clue why they do not stampede to paradise straightaway. Perhaps they don’t really believe that the harps and wings will be there, waiting for them? I have no clue how you can come to know “personally” a God that you admit is “above our comprehension.”

I have no clue how you can say Cassie is in a “better place.” Neither of us has any first-hand experience with an afterlife, so you’re just guessing about beginnings and endings. As for souls (either full or empty), I have no clue what one is, where in the body it is located, and what function it serves. I suspect the soul is as imaginary as your God’s plan.

If he is all-powerful, all-knowing and supremely good, God could have prevented 13 deaths on 20 April 1999. That he didn’t shows that he is either evil or absent. Take your pick. If you have a brain and a moral sense, I have no clue how you can say, after Columbine, that God is good.

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Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2004 00:03:08 EDT

God was right there beside Cassie when she died. How can you question where God was? It was Cassie and Rachel and all the other students time to go, God did it for a reason. ANd how do you know if either of them said yes? Were you there?

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REPLY: Tue, 7 Sep 2004

So Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were killers for Christ, executing God’s plan? We should abandon our entire justice system? Nobody has to be responsible for their actions because God might be acting through them?

If God was right there beside Cassie when she died, and didn’t save her life, then God is worthless—he can’t even protect his own!

Of course I can question where God was! I have a brain and a moral sense. If God caused the deaths of Cassie and Rachel and the 11 others, God is a monster. Any other conclusion is morally bankrupt.

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Date: Sun, 22 Aug 2004

My name is [withheld] and I have recently chosen Columbine as the topic for an English speech at school. Strangely enough and due to the empathy I feel for both Eric and Dylan I chose to take the perspective of one who believes the boys are not to be blamed for their actions but the people who bullied them. A history of being the victim of bullying has most likely fuelled this. So for the last month I think i’ve been on every bloody site to do with columbine, which is how i found yours.

Although i had heard of the whole martyr thing before it wasn’t really anything to do with my speech, but thats not to say it didn’t interest me. I don’t believe in God. I am emailing to say well done on your essay, it was very captivating if i may say. I especially like your concluding paragraph, how you put right that the boys weren’t psychos, racists or anything crazy like any of the outrageous other claims i’ve found. I also appreciated the bit about the years of ridicule and social ostracism, because that’s pretty much what I believe and yeah. Good job, mate. Hope you appreciate the email, I always like reveiws of all the stuff i’ve written. If you want to have a go at me or anything, you can email me at [withheld].

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REPLY: Sun, 22 Aug 2004

Thanks for the kind words. I don’t think there’s anything I can add. Good luck on your English speech. As it happens, I teach public speaking.

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Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004

I will be praying for you. :)

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REPLY: Sat, 7 Aug 2004 04:29:58 -0700 (PDT)

Dear —

If by praying for me you mean asking a supernatural being to cause things to happen in the natural world that would not happen naturally, I think I’d rather you didn’t.

For prayer to work, God would have to be both perfect and imperfect at the same time. If God is perfect, your plea for intercession could not possibly change his actions toward me. As Epicurus, and even Mary Baker Eddy, once asked, how does one change perfection?

If God could change nature at will, then the order and regularity of the world that science attempts to explain would be impossible. Science would be pointless. And, if you think about it, so would human law: God could cause people to act contrary to their will (involuntarily). Law would be pointless if God could change a person’s behavior. In fact, if prayer worked at all, we would have to abandon our trust in our senses, the very senses, one would suppose, that God gave us in order to survive in the world.

Finally, if your prayer is meant to cause a God (who knows more than you do) to change my behavior or belief, can you explain to me why he leaves it to your poor efforts? He could convert me—and the world, for that matter—with a twitch of his Almighty Eyebrow!

Respectfully,

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Date: Thu, 05 Aug 2004

I think its rediculous that you try to say that God was not visible in Cassies life. God gives life and takes life. You should e thanking God that Cassie did not suffer instead she was emediately taken to her god and now sits by his thrown. As a child of God myself and like many others we know that it was not the two murders that killed Cassier Bernal but the Devil that took over those two boys. I am just taking a little guess and am assuming that you are not of any religion because any religion who believes in the Lord knows that god is the oonly way truth and the life and thats what he gave cassie everlasting life.

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REPLY: Thu, 5 Aug 2004

Dear —

I think you are a little confused. This doesn’t surprise me, coming as your e-mail does from a child of the imaginary sky-god, but I may not have much luck reasoning with you. But I’m an optimist by nature, so I’ll give it a try:

• If “God gives life and takes life,” how was the Devil responsible for operating through Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, “those two boys”?

• If you think Cassie Bernall “did not suffer” when she was murdered by gunfire, what, in your opinion, constitutes suffering?

• If it’s so wonderful to be taken “emediately” [sic] to God and to be seated “by his thrown” [sic], why don’t Christians rush like lemmings to their deaths without delay?

• As a matter of fact, if Cassie really was taken to God, and that really is a wonderful thing (for which we should be thanking God), then “those two boys” were simply carrying out God’s will and should not be blamed—indeed, they should be thanked!

• And if Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were doing God’s will, that couldn’t have been the Devil working through them—it would have to have been God himself (herself? itself?).

Whether or not I am “of any religion” is irrelevant to the facts of the Columbine massacre. I’m only guessing, but if Cassie Bernall had had a true choice in the matter, I think she would have opted for a few more years of “earthly” life before rolling the dice on the uncertain “everlasting” kind.

But that’s just my opinion. Thanks for reading.

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Date: Thu, 05 Aug 2004

[From the Same Correspondent]

I really feel pain for you and the fact that you dont think that there is a God. In a blink of an eye all who believe in him will not parish but have everlasting life. You want us to call the two young boys who committed thhese murders evil, but christians are taught that we do not condem others. You speak so strongly about how god is unfare and how god was not there when the murders were taking place. Christianity is not an escape from an answer it is the only way. Have you ever picked up a bible? I encourage you to read the book of Revelation it descriptively talks about events that are now happening and leading up to the revelation (this is the day that we christians believe our father will be coming to bring us home). I use to be like you irresponsible and did not want to take control of my actions and blamed everything that goes wrong in your life on God. Well my friend God plays and important role in every single persons life who breaths life on this earth. To say that god is someone who dosnt have high standards or is an underachiever is just stupid. The wounderful gift that god gives us is the ability to decide wether or not we want to change for the better and our job as christians is to help others realize that YES WE DO BELIEVE IN GOD AND THAT WETHER OR NOT SOMEONE TAKES OR GIVES US LIFE WE HAVE A CHIOCE IN WANT WE WANT OUR LIVES TO BE AND MEAN. CASSIE BERNAL WETHER OR NOT SHE STATED THIS WHEN THE GUN WAS POINTING TO HER HEAD DOES NOT MATTE BECAUSE GOD KNEW SHE WAS A CHILD OF GOD. THE LORD SAYS” IF YOU DENY ME, I WILL DENY. WHEN THAT PERSON OFFERED YOU SALVATION THEY WERE OFFERING YOU ETERNAL LIFE WITH THE SON OF MAN. TO SIMPLY DECLINE IT AS IF IT WERE A PIECE OF TOAST IS TO DECLINE ETERNAL LIFE WITH SON OF MAN. GOD LOVES YOU AND WHEN JUDGEMENT DAY COMES YOU WILL BE ASKED AND ACCOUNTED FOR ALL OF YOUR ACTIONS. SO THE NEXT TIME SOMEONE OFFERS YOU ETERNAL LIFE THINK OF IT AS A LIFETIME OFFER AND ACCEPT THE LORD INTO YOUR HEART.

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REPLY: Fri, 13 Aug 2004

The Devil oporated throught [sic] those two boys by killing innocent lives. The bible says that the devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy.

OK, but the Bible also says (Isaiah 45:7), “I [that is, God] form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” so it could have been God operating through those boys. And if their 13 victims were innocent, and God is more powerful than the Devil, why did God allow them to die? If I had the power to save their lives, and didn’t use it, wouldn’t I be blamed for their deaths? How can you worship a God who “kills innocent lives”?

Suffering is struggling here on earth in a life w/out God. People with belief in God do not dwell on the bad but look forward to the outcome a trial can bring.

I think you have no idea what you are saying. Suffering means to endure death, pain, or distress (as those 13 innocents did) and to sustain loss or damage (as their loved ones did). There is no reference to God whatsoever in the definition of suffering. There is a substantial minority of people in this world who don’t believe in God, and they can’t ALL be suffering; there is a substantial majority of people in this world who don’t believe in the Christian God, and I am confident that THEY are not all suffering.

Cassie knew God and the instant that her life was taken God was thee holding her hand and taking her home. She no longer suffered or had to endure pain becaus the moment you accept God as your Lord and savior he welcomes you as a child of god and takes all of the pain away.

But you contradict yourself: if Cassie “knew God” as her “Lord and Savior,” then her supernatural narcotic had already taken away her pain and suffering! So why was it necessary for God to have her killed? And how is being blown away by a teenager with a gun “taking her home”? I assure you, my home is nowhere near a grave!

Struggles will come but God uses those trials to make you a stonger child of god and to testify to others who have the same problems(another example San Diego Shooting). I also feell like talking to someone who does not believe in God or blames him for situations that occur instead of looking at it as a way to speak to those who are lost.

Let me see if I understand you by putting this in terms we both understand—human terms. A powerful person (let’s make this person a man, for the sake of argument) causes me great pain and suffering. He takes away my income, kills my children and my dog, gives my wife brain cancer and burns down my house. Then he tells me he’s only doing these things to me to make me stronger and so that I can “testify” to others. I’ll leave it to your imagination what I might say in reply, but it wouldn’t be printable!

People who do not know God can never judge him on a spiritual level or even comprehend why certain things happen they will just never understand, once you surrender your worldly life to god he helps you understand all of the questions you have of life(it is a wounderful peace).

I’ve been drunk before, and that was peaceful, but it’s hardly a productive state of mind. And I don’t think surrendering your intelligence and critical thinking skills to an imaginary sky-god is a productive state of mind, either. Who, then, would have the gumption to take out the garbage?

Once again Dylan and Eric were suffering ina life that they could not handle, in a life with ut God. The only way that lost souls feel like they can escape is through death. They did not know that God is someone who can forgive them for what they had done instead they took their own lives.

Dylan and Eric may have been unable to handle their lives without retributive violence—something your God is quite shameless in meting out, by the way. But I’m not so sure they were suffering for lack of God in their lives. If God had simply “taken them home,” that would have been fine for everybody—except their parents. But why did God allow all the collateral damage? Those 13 lives could have been saved if God had been on duty that day. If God has a point to make, he certainly has the power to do it without bloodshed. But, then, I forget: Christianity was founded on a murder!

I truly hope you find answers to what your are looking for instead of hiding behind your so called answers and solutions for why things happen( pick up a bible and you will be surprised that when ever a question is in your heart god is always there to answer). JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I.

Why do you assume that I am hiding? If God is watching, he knows I’m being as honest as I know how to be, using the very tools he supposedly gave me. Why do you assume I haven’t picked up a Bible—and then put it down in disgust after reading it? I came to the same conclusion that Thomas Paine did 200 years ago:

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”

Although I believe your “love” is meant as a kindness, I suggest you pick up a book of biblical criticism and try to answer its arguments with your mind rather than with your faith. You may be surprised how full your life can be when you stand on your own feet, rather than limping along on the crutch of a creed.

In hopes that you will open your mind, I remain

Ronald Bruce Meyer

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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2004

Hi Ronald

I just heard a commentary on Free Thought Radio about the Columbine School shootings. He said his information came from your website. I don’t know your opinion on the subject but the commentator said the shootings happened because of teasing by their fellow students. Others have said that they killed that day for one reason and one reason only they were sociopaths. I believe that is the reason for the deaths that day.

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Date: Sat, 10 Jul 2004

Mr. Meyer,

Do you believe in God Mr. Meyer? By the way this OPINION is written I would think not. Now you may say, Must a God believing person always go against this or for it? I would say for either one. But if a true Christian was to pick a side I think they would pick the side against this comment here. Now to be against you but to the simple fact of why Christian are who they are. They are chosen people of God and their mission is to somehow let people know there is a God. As Christian we believe God has a plan for everything. And if you look on the other side of this whole incident you’ll find how many people are seeking God. The same way Christ died for a reason is why this happened. Yes, there are people against God who say it was useless for Christ to die, but what about the people who are saved. Boy, it was worth it for them. I know that if Cassie was faithful to God she will rejoice everlasting and with those who believe after what happened to her. If she was faithful dying is nothing but winning.. For Christ is living and for Christ is dying, therefore no matter what happens you are with Christ. Is it painful? Yes, it is but it has done its mission. Check out the book her mother wrote. Has it touched lives? Yes, it has. Has it brought people to Christ? Yes, it has. But why mourn over someone who is rejoice with God in heaven. You may think I am an insensible person because I’m treating these deaths like nothing. All I know is that if they were faithful to God they have a better life now then me. Now if they weren’t…It gives us a chance to seek God before its our turn. Now, people say if God is good and merciful why are people dying all the time? Why are innocent people dying and starving? Let me put it to you this way: There was a barber and he was cutting a God believing person’s hair. The barber began to blaspheme against God and say such things as I mentioned earlier. The Christian sat there and said nothing. The barber was done and the Christian man left. Minutes later the Christian cam back and told him,” there is a homeless man sitting out there with a lot of hair, why don’t you go get him and cut his hair since you say you are a nice man and will cut any body’s hair?” The barber then responded, ” These people have to come to me, I can’t go out and get them and forced them to get a haircut. They know the barber shop is here but they decide not to come.” The Christian answered, “That’s exactly the way God is. He will not force you to love him or to let him guide you. It is your free will and up to you if you want God in your life. If you don’t surrender your life to him, he is not in it and if he is not in then how could he defend you from evil or terrorism.” He can’t.

Its up to us to seek him and believe me if we do he’ll never let us down. Now to the people that do believe and they die. Its for a purpose. “but its not fair?” Is heaven a great place to be in? Yes, they say it is. Will a faithful believer go to heaven? Yes, it is written in the scriptures. Then why would that believer fear to die? HE shouldn’t and all who believe in Christ and are faithful know not to be scared and that dying is nothing but a win in life. Check out Christ. HE died, suffered for us for nothing, but now he’s sitting at the right hand of God waiting to pick up his faithful ones and judge the world. But he these words have been heard and the word says its better if you hadn’t heard about HIM. So make a great day or not, the choice is yours. No hard feelings I’m JC.

Bye.

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REPLY: Mon, 12 Jul 2004

Dear Mr.—(or whatever your name is):

The jury is out on belief in God, but I do believe in paragraphs. Do you?

That said, let me see if I can parse your prose. You say Christians “are chosen people of God and their mission is to somehow let people know there is a God.” Why is it that God leaves it to you to convert me? Can’t God do it himself? He could make a believer of me with an all-knowing word or a wave of his all-powerful hand. God knows what evidence it would take to convince me. Why hasn’t he presented it?

You’re not making sense: if, for the “faithful dying is nothing but winning,” why aren’t all Christians lining up to enter the “winner’s circle”? Are they unsure about life after death?

As for your childish story about the barber and the Christian, I don’t see your point. Both the skeptical barber and the avowed Christian agree that the barber exists. Your story begs the question: the existence of God still remains to be demonstrated.

I really don’t have a choice about what I believe and disbelieve, and neither do you. Belief is based on being convinced. I’m waiting for God to convince me: even you would have to admit that’s how he made my mind, isn’t it? And I really can’t “Check out Christ.” If he ever lived, he died 2000 years ago. That his cult following survives only proves that he’s a great money-maker for priests and Bible salespeople.

And I think blasphemy is a victimless crime. Have a nice day yourself.

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Date: Thu, 27 May 2004

In regards to your comment on how could God let the dozen people die, if he hadn’t let anybody die, would it have opened the eyes of the nation on what can happen in the wonderful “public school system”??

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REPLY: Fri, 28 May 2004 03:43:34 -0700 (PDT)

Most people survive public school (I did); most public schools do a pretty good job of educating children (mine did).

If you are going to use one or two schools to condemn the whole public education system, would you allow me to use one or two corrupt preachers, or religious cults—or 19 true believers crashing planes into buildings—to condemn all religion?

Somehow I doubt it.

If God can do anything (all-powerful), he could have “opened the eyes of the nation” without bloodshed.

If God can harden Pharaoh’s heart, he can soften the hearts of killers. Or just stop the bullying that made them killers. Or just take away the guns that made their vengeance lethal.

On the other hand, ifyou had the power to save 13 innocent lives from murderers, and did nothing but watch, you would be at least morally culpable for letting them die—and possibly an accessory to murder.

That’s how I see God’s inaction on April 20, 1999.

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Date: Thu, 20 May 2004

In response to “Where was Cassie’s God when she needed him to save her life?”

Our God did save her life. He took her to her eternal home in paradise. You seem to be hardened to the truth about Christianity, so all i can say is this: What if your wrong?

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REPLY: Thu, 20 May 2004

Dear —

With a gun pointed at your head, you would choose death over life? Somehow I doubt it. We know about life; we only guess about afterlife. That’s a hard truth that seems to escape you.

Where did you learn to write—at a Christian school? The proper question is, “What if you’re wrong?”—i.e., “you are,” not “your,” the possessive of you.

And the answer is simple, depending on the nature of your god: If he is a vengeful God, who condemns an honest unbeliever, while refusing to offer me the slightest evidence of his existence, then he is unjust and unworthy of worship and I would rightly despise him.

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Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 14:46:09 -0500
From the Same Correspondent:

He condemns an honest believer? He’s trying to reach you right now! He’s giving you the chance, but you seem to condemn him for not keeping people alive forever. People die, Christian or not. And if you want a sign, look around you. What do you think all this was made by? By chance? I don’t think so

You’re saying that we guess about afterlife? I don’t. If you do guess, then wouldn’t you like to know, that IF there was a God and heaven, then you would be going there? I mean if it is, by some chance, and you must admit you think there is a chance, true, then you will lose your eternal life! What would you lose for believeing? Almost nothing, maybe a few hours spent at church, which you dont even NEED to go to to be a Christian. Think of the consequences of both choices, and I think you will find the better choice. I can’t chose for you, but I can help you. Don’t make the biggest mistake of your life….and after-life.

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REPLY: Sun, 23 May 2004 05:36:08 -0700 (PDT)

Dear —

Do you read what I write? I said God would be unjust if he condemned an honestunbeliever. If your invisible friend exists, he knows how to reach me. If the message isn’t getting through, perhaps there was no message to begin with. And no one sending it.

You did a great job of avoiding my question: With a gun pointed at your head, you would choose death over life? Of course people die all the time. If God is powerless to stop innocent death, God might as well not exist: he certainly is useless. And an egotist, to boot, if he demands worship for nothing in return!

I am not concerned with being wrong about the afterlife. See my first paragraph above. What would I lose for believing in an invisible friend? Time better spent on useful things. Money better spent on useful things. Self-respect for distracting myself from what I know (this world) in favor of what I don’t know (next world). And so on. If there is an afterlife, when I get there, I’ll believe in it.

How doyou know God doesn’t reward only those who use their intelligence and critical thinking skills? How doyou know you’re believing in thecorrect invisible friend?

Maybe you’re the one making a mistake?

PS: I don’t know if faith can move mountains, but I’ve seen what it can do to skyscrapers.

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From the Same Correspondent:

Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 19:49:29 -0500

Well, I can see this just isn’t going to go through to you. You just don’t get it. Your senseless debating means nothing to what I am try to get through to you! Good day.

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Date: Wed, 19 May 2004 01:45:08 -0700 (PDT)

Mr. Meyer

I read your argument on the columbine massacre. For me your philosophy is very funny & useless, if it is a philosophy at all. You know why? Let me explain it using an example then you will get your photo and philosophy there.

About your philosophy:-

There is an ant which is very talkative and philosophies its life other than the other ants. This ant thinks that it can do anything to change the world and one day it came to your house and shout to you like this

“Hey! Who the hell are you standing in front of my way! Move away! You are not there! I didn’t see you and I don’t want to see you! I can do anything I want! Nobody can stop me!

What do you feel? I am very sure, it makes you laugh and you think what a tiny creature with full of pride! If I put my finger on it, this creature will die soon in a fraction of seconds or I can crippled it or I can play fun by blocking its’ way to change its’ direction.

Though this creature speaks big words which is beyond its’ capacity.

THERFORE, God can do anything in you or the world because He is the only one who created it. He has all power in it. He only tolerates peoples like you to choose between the bad and the good on your own will according to his Word. He can force but man is not created like a Robot. He gave you a mind which understands evil thing and good thing. He is just waiting for you to decide for your life in this world and life after death. You should give positive eternal value for your life unless HELL will get you weather you choose it or not! There is only two ways!

I see your biography and watch that you are an Art graduate and I thought this man thinks that he is making a theatre on the stage.

BUT Life is not a theatre to joke on!

If you are a judge, you will not make fun on the court room. You will do your duty properly. Life is more than that. There are things to joke on and things you will never. You better make a distinction between them.

Whether you believe in him or not God is everlasting. He is Alpha and Omega. Choose for your own sake! NOT FOR HIM!

About Colombine massacre:

God knows everything, the bad or the good. Our mind capacity is limited & we couldn’t know everything. No man knows the exact reason why the awful thing happened to those kids, only God Know

But there is one thing When there is SIN The Price is DEATH Who is responsible for the sin The nation? The government people? The old or the young? The parent or the children? I don’t know but there is sin which made God angry.

May be it is a RED LIGHT to watch your steps for America peoples and ask God for forgiveness nation wide.

If you turned your face to God after Columbine massacre and asked for mercy, your two skyscraper buildings would not be collapsed with thousand peoples.

Unless you change your course from sin, who knows something terrible may happen in the future!

I heard that America peoples have a philosophy called “THIS IS AMERICA”

When someone asks why this happens, your answer is because” this is America” Let me tell you

AMERICA is a leading country in development from other countries in the world. (Assume) BUT NOT FOR GOD AMERICA is the top in technology from other countries in the world. (Assume) BUT NOT FOR GOD AMERICA is the top for everything from other countries in the world. (Assume) BUT NOT FOR THE LIVING GOD AMERICA may be the top for everything from other countries in the world because it is GOD’S will for this generation

BUT you will never and ever reach to GOD. When He decides You will become like the other forgotten ….Roman Empire, Babylon civilization……past history.

Personally for you:-

You are like a philosopher named Fredrich Nietzches who said in his philosophy “God is dead” But he himself dead INSANE.

Dear Freelance writer Take care of your philosophy and watch your mouth There is no free talk if you want to live in peace. You better ask God for forgiveness and give your life for Jesus Christ.

Job 35:1-8 Then Elihu said:

2 “Do you think this is just? You say, ‘I will be cleared by God. [1]‘
3 Yet you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me, [2] and what do I gain by not sinning?’
4 “I would like to reply to you and to your friends with you.
5 Look up at the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you.
6 If you sin, how does that affect him? If your sins are many, what does that do to him?
7 If you are righteous, what do you give to him, or what does he receive from your hand?
8 Your wickedness affects only a man like yourself, and your righteousness only the sons of men.

Best regards,

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REPLY: Thu, 20 May 2004

Thanks for the review of my philosophy and my commentary on Columbine.

If God can do anything in the world he created, that explains why God created evil (see Isaiah 45 and Amos 3). If I criticize your imaginary friend, don’t be alarmed. I’m certain that, if God is the vengeful monster you make him out to be, he will deal justly with me sooner or later.

But first he has to answer a few questions: If God is all-knowing, then he knew from before I was born what evidence it would take to convince me of his existence, yet chose to withhold it, so how can he condemn me for unbelief?

Here’s another: If I’m so full of pride, why is God the one demanding to be worshipped?

And another: If I demanded to be worshipped, you would think me arrogant and self-important; if I punished those who refused to worship me, you would think me a monster. So why does your imaginary friend get prayers for the same behavior that would draw derision on the head of a man?

And another: If God knows everything, doesn’t that mean he would know everything every human would do from birth until death? This robs us of any freedom of choice in our lives and cancels out free will. As far as an afterlife would go, that would also be predetermined, billions of years before you were ever even born!

Since God would have exact knowledge of everything he would ever do, that would render God impotent: he could never do anything other than what he himself would have already known he would do eons before!

I appreciate your wish for me to stop speaking my mind. Isn’t it a whole lot easier to silence my arguments than it is to answer them?

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Date: Sun, 16 May 2004
Subject: In Response to Q & A of Columbine

Dear Mr. Meyer–

I have just read your impression in re to the Columbine shootings. I have also read your readers responses (mostly if not all “Christian”).

I delight in your answers about an evil, absent christian god.

I for one, am not christian. I am a second degree, natural, practicing Witch. I tolerate christians and their opinions only because my religion teaches such–tolerance, Do as you will and harm none and due to the fact that to cause harm to one, it WILL come back at you three-fold. I am pagan, my religion has been long, long here before the Roman Catholic “christian” religion.

The thought of one god–in so much as it is male, without any acknowledgement to the feminine aspect, in itself is sacrilegious. I totally agree with freedom to speak and practice one’s religion, I also believe that ALL humans are entitled to this right–not withstanding that if you aren’t christian, then you have no rights.

This is the attitude that I have picked up from your responders to your Columbine article — If you are not christian, then you have no rights.

Best regards,

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Date: Wed, 5 May 2004

I would like to comment on your article. It was extremely well written and gave interesting, thought provoking view points. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, it is a refreshing change to recieve the truth. Thank you for publishing this. I deem is a sort of commemorative justice for Eric and Dylan. I did not know them personally, but i wish i could have. The world would be quite different if we had more blantantly honest people like them in it. Thank you again. I look forward to reading any more of your published works.

Body in Florida, Heart with Columbine,

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Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2004 22:19:47 -0700

maybe u should read some books on what really happened on April 20,1999. Cassie Bernall gave her life for God. maybe u should read the book “SHE SAID YES”. saying that the two murderers killed everyone because they lacked faith in GOD is obsered because they did believe in GOD. they werent the ones who believed in Hitler and worshiped him. what hitler did was wrong and no one should follow in his footsteps. saying that it is dishonest that the two killers lacked GOD in their lives is so not true. why would they kill so many innocent people if they believed in GOD. and why would they kill Cassie Bernall if she said she believed in GOD also??? we think that it was cool that you have this website but we think that you should find out what really happened before putting this info for others to read. How can u say, quote, ” Where was Cassie’s GOD when she needed him to save her life?” when really she gave her life for him? It was her choice to say that she believed in GOD. She wrote a letter to her friend the day that she died saying that if that if anything were to happen to me anytime soon, I want GOD to know that I love and believe in him fully. Why would she say that if she did not believe in GOD. don’t be mad at us but we think u should go to some other sites and get your facts straight before u publish them on the internet. go to CNN.com and type in Colubine Massacre and u will see some real facts on what happend. that is not cool to say someone didn’t believe in GOD when u for sure do not know them well enough ( not any more because there dead) to say that. if she said she did believe in GOD and they said they did why did they shoot her to death? all were saying is don’t go critisising other innocent people of not believing in GOD when u don’t know or not if they do. we’re not trying to take sides but even though thats your opinion we have to differ with u. they didn’t do anything wrong and now about 13 people died because of two people and their obsession with hitler. – all were asking is to think about what u published on the computer. maybe u should delete this page because it is offendive to the families of the victims who gave their lives up to GOD that day. ANYWAY THIS IS ALL A LIE!!!! even if you aren’t going to delete this page maybe ,no not maybe u should, get the facts straight and don’t say that those victims didn’t believe in GOD because buddy they sure did. We think that it is wrong what you are writing. The question came up of how you could write something so untrue and wrong about people who gave their lives up just ot say ” Yes, I believe in GOD.” Yes i said it the one and only powerful GOD!

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From the Same Correspondent:

Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2004 22:33:43 -0700

Yes we are writing more. Just because we ran out of room does not mean that we are not done. We think that GOD is real. We wonder what you think about him. If you can say all of this stuff about how thos people who were killed did not believe in GOD, well then I wonder if you really believe. We know that you have your own opinion, but we have ours. We were reading all the other emails that people sent ot you and we agree. Looking at your responses we think that when you said that” Mr. -:

Thank you for reading my opinion on the Columbine murders… [long requotation snipped] continue

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From the Same Correspondent:

Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2004 23:07:34 -0700

yes us again. We email you your response. We think that you should think about what you said. we are in middle school and are learning spanish: if u don’t think we are telling the truth about what we are saying get a spanish dictionary.

DIOS ES VERDADERO! GOD IS REAL.

NOSOTROS CREER EN DIOS. WE BELIEVE IN GOD.

QUIZA TU IRE PENSAR MASOMENOS QUE TU ESCRIBIR Y CONSIDERAR QUE NOSOTRAS Y MILLION DE OTRO CREER TAMBIEN. MAYBE YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU WROTE AND CONSIDER WHAT WE AND MILLIONS OF OTHERS BELIEVE TOO!

JUST PRACTICING SPANISH. WE HOPE THAT YOU TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION WHAT WE ARE WRITING. WE THINK THAT THEY OTHER PEOPLE WHO WROTE TO YOU ARE RIGHT. WE DID NOT AGREE WITH YOUR RESPONSE BUT WE THINK IT WAS NICE THAT YOU DID RESPONDED.

Neither of us has any direct experience with eternity, so we would be wise to leave speculation to one side and focus on what we know. If you are honest, you will have to admit that all we both know, really, is that Cassie will no longer feel joy or pain, love or hate, triumph or defeat – at least not as a human being. This life is all we can know. Suggesting anything beyond it is guesswork.

iF YOU BELIEVE THAT IT WOULD BE WISE TO LEAVE SPECULATION TO ONE SIDE AND FOCUS ON WHAT WE KNOW, THEN WHY IS WHAT YOU ARE SAYING UNTRUE. yOU DON’T KNOW THAT GOD WAS NOT WITH CASSIE AND THE OTHERS DURING THIS TIME SO WHO DO YOU SAY THAT HE WAS NOT PROTECTING THEM. GOD KNOWS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IN EVERYONE’S LIVES SO HE KNOWS WHEN IT IS THEIR TIME TO GO.

In fact, I think it is beastly to suggest that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris performed some kind of service for Cassie Bernall as agents of God’s plan. If I had ordered the killing of a young woman so full of promise, you would think me a monster. Can you seriously admire in a God what you would despise in a man? And don’t give me the “God’s ways are not man’s ways” argument – that’s just duct tape over broken logic; it’s admitting you have no rational answer.

RESPOND TO THAT LATER. HAVE TO GO. WE WILL DEFFINITELY WRITE BACK LATER. WE ARE NOT FINISHED WITH YOU. THANX FOR LISTENING. WE SURE DO HAVE A RESPONSE TO THAT LAST QUOTE. TALK TO YOU SOON. PLEASE DON’T THINK THAT WE HATE YOU BECAUSE WE DON’T, WE JUST STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. BYE.

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REPLY: As a matter of fact, they never wrote back! (But I wonder if they also believe that CAPS LOCK makes their argument stronger.)

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Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004

Forgive me if I failed to notice your advanced degree in psychology or the social sciences that would give you the empirical evidence on why these two troubled youths did what they did on 4/20/99. Oh, of course, you must have first hand knowledge of the ridicule they received – how is that, since your bio states you live in Maryland?

You are free to opine all you wish, Mr. Meyer, but you are clueless to the facts and have only the misguided liberal media to feed your misconceptions.

Cassie, Rachel’s and the others’ God was exactly where He was supposed to be – secure in the spirit and soul of his beloved children. And now, they live in the paradise He promised to them and all confessing Christians the day He died for all our sins… where will you be going when your time is up here on Earth?

[signed] a Columbine mom

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REPLY: Sat, 24 Apr 2004 19:37:04 -0700 (PDT)

Thank you for reading. Your sarcasm and vituperation have convinced me that your God is the one true God. All I need to know is if I can count on him, as Cassie and Rachel did, to save my life when a troubled youth points a loaded gun at me. The difference in this case between no God and a God who does nothing useful escapes me.

Perhaps you can explain how it is better to be dead than alive. Christians keep telling me how life after death is so wonderful, but they admit they have no “first-hand knowledge” of it—just as I have none of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. And when I urge Christians to get some first-hand experience, the afterlife being so wonderful, they seen strangely offended.

I imagine I will be where everyone else will be when I die: food for worms. If you can give me some “empirical evidence” to the contrary—and you’ll have to do better than that 2000-year old compilation of forgery and hearsay you call the Bible—I’d love to hear it.

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From the Same Correspondent:

Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2004

I do not wish to commence an ongoing correspondence with you, Mr. Meyer, but I do want to know if you truly believe that your mother, after her death was nothing more than fodder for the worms of the earth?? And as she raised her family, this was all so that she could spend eternity, not with the God who created her, but to provide sustenance for worms. No, I believe she knew that by proclaiming ‘Jesus is Lord,’ she would be saved from being a side dish at the subterranean cafeteria. I suspect she prays for you daily, and continues to love you.

Peace, Ron.

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REPLY: Fri, 30 Apr 2004

I think it is presumptuous of you to assume you know anything at all about my mother or what she thought of Jesus or any afterlife. I was asked to write and deliver her eulogy because I loved her, not because I agreed with her religious beliefs. But what my mother believed is not relevant here.

I believe life is far more precious because someday it will end; people are more dear to me because, when they die, they are gone forever. It may be repellent to you to think that the dead are food for worms, but that is how the world regenerates life.

As for the Christian afterlife, the thought of it is repellent to me. I have tried to think of what I could be doing, hour after hour, day after day, year after year—for an eternity—that would not eventually bore me to insanity. Your idea of an afterlife sounds like my idea of hell. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

No, we get one chance at life. That’s what I believe because I’ve never seen any evidence to the contrary. Your God doesn’t even protect those who believe in him (like Rachel Scott and Cassie Bernall) from the actions of those who would destroy the lives he gave them (like Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris). How come God gets off scot-free for nonfeasance?

I know you disagree, but consider: if I had the ability to save the lives of Cassie and Rachel and the others, and refused to, wouldn’t you blame me for their deaths, not thank me for sending them to God? If death is such a good thing to Christians, why don’t more of them seek it?

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Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004

Educate yourself with behavioral science and you (and alot of others)will come to a better understanding of the events that took place that day.First you have to disregard the fact that these two boys are murderers.That is incidental.I firmly believe that the tragedy would have never happened if it was up to these two kids individualy.The combination of two unsteady psyches is really the basis for their actions.Harris’s hatred and ability to control his temper,mixed with Klebold’s hot head worked into bad medicine.Everything that unfolded could have been provented if these kids were as smart as they thought they were.If someone hands you a pile of crap,who’s making you take it?Yourself.You don’t have to feel anything you don’t want to.Harris and Klebold were a couple of T.V.babies…The truth is that we may never have a full knowledge of why,how,who and it’s time to stop poining fingers.It happened.To quote Shakesphere:What is past and done should be past grief.Finger pointing will not help other youths with the same fanatsies of violence.Education,patience and understanding is the key.

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Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004
Subject: Halls of a tragedy

Ronald Bruce,

I do admire for what you had to say about the COLUMBINE MASSACRE and RELIGION. It is rare to find individuals, such as yourself, who express his or her thoughts clearly and truthfully. The Columbine tragedy was a horrific event that should not have happened. However, the choices Eric and Dylan five years ago,led up to the killing of innocent people. Society, as well as mankind, as been given a free will; they have the ability to choose between good and evil. On the other hand, choices can be destructive or they can bring a positive impact. To the normal person, not killing 13 people would seem like the ultimate good and moral choice. Yet to Eric and Dylan, their sense of perception and abilty to choose good was corrupt. In their minds killing seemed reasonable and justifiable. Whoever has the ability to choose between life and death; has the power to give justifable cause. Some crimes are reasonably wrong, yet society enjoys to pick and choose the choices of man and why they did what they did.

Basically, God does not revolve around OUR choices as humans do. He is not accountable for us; we are accountable to Him. Choices affect one another,good or bad, and I truly believe those choices do not surprise,nor shock God.

To conclude, I am a Christian and the comments such as, ” invisible friend, and “having to feel a direct experience to believe in eternity,” is not unreasonable. Sure, others can argue against what you have said, however, it is hard to prove God and even harder to say Ok heres a God who loves you; believe in Him, even though you cannot see Him.” It is hard and I do not know all the answers. I do not condemn you, nor will I argue against you. Yet God cannot prevent all tragedies; His best is bringing glory out of it. Rachel touched the world with her kindness and belief in Jesus, and maybe if hundreds would of died that day, she would have not been so keenly remembered. In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.

Blaise Pascal

I write this for the glory of God. God bless!

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REPLY: Sat, 24 Apr 2004

Dear —

Thank you for your kind words. You seem to have thought a lot about this sad event. Yes, the Columbine victims were innocent; they did not deserve to die. Yes, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were guilty; they chose to do what they did. Our very system of justice depends on personal responsibility in the making of choices.

If, as you say, the choices we make do not surprise or shock God, then God knows what choices we will make. But, instead of quoting Pascal to me, why not hear the words of Epicurus (341-270 BCE)? “Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to; or he cannot, and does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If he neither can, nor wants to, he is both powerless and wicked. But if God can abolish evil, and wants to, then how comes evil into the world?”

God took no action to prevent what “evil” took place on that day. My point in the essay was that religion neither caused nor prevented the Columbine murders—and that the opportunistic Christians who wish to hijack this tragedy to promote a religious agenda should look elsewhere.

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From the Same Correspondent:

Date: Sat, 1 May 2004

I would like to ask you a question. What events during your life has consquently added to your present disposition or lifestyle, without God?

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REPLY: Sat, 1 May 2004

It may surprise you to learn that I am not a believer for the same reason you are one: I am not convinced that God exists and you are.

I hate to disappoint you, but I wasn’t the victim of some traumatic event. I have simply discovered that there are plausible, non-supernatural explanations for the ways people behave and the way the world works.

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From the Same Correspondent:

Date: Sun, 2 May 2004

I am not disappointed to hear that you were not the victim of a traumatic event. It is a good thing! I simply wanted to know if some certain event convinced you there was no God. I personally have gone through traumatic events and yet still remained a Christian. I am certain you have heard of Madalyn Murry. I had found out through life experiences, one is either transformed from love or hate. Madalyn only made life miserable for those around her. Her son, William, was the son of this world wide atheist and after years of living in sin and hearing, “God is not real”( from his mother), he realized if living this life without God was miserable, what would if be like WITH God? Of course the life of William is exceptional, however, i realize those who do not look for God will not find him. I am praying for you and right now, that is all i can do.

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Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003

The question of “Where was Cassie’s God when she needed him? is a interesting question. I am a strong Christian and believe that Cassie died for what she believed in. God in fact was there in Columbine. I believe that it was God that kept that the bombs from going off and killing more people. I believe that God prevented Eric and Dylan from killing more people. It was Cassie’s time to go. There is nothing that we can do when it is our time to go. So I think the you need to believe in God and be prepared so when God comes for you, you are ready.

In Christ’s name,

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REPLY:

How can you possibly know what Cassie Bernal believed in or that she died “for” it? Her surviving friends deny the whole “she said yes” story, so even if she did believe as you say she did, she said nothing to the Columbine killers about it. Perhaps she thought it, but I doubt even you would claim the ability to read her mind.

How can you possibly know it was Cassie’s time to go? Was she a bad person? I thought Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were the bad people. Interesting, then, that they had to take their own lives!

If God was there at Columbine, he is (as Woody Allen put it) an underachiever. I think he should be put on half pay for poor performance. If God prevented the bombs from going off, why did God allow the guns to go off? Let’s put this in terms we can both understand: if I had the power to prevent all of the deaths, and didn’t, you would think me a monster, or at least immoral.

You’re telling me you believe in a God who was not only on the scene, but who allowed a dozen people to be murdered. Is he not then a monster? How can you admire in a God the very same behavior you would condemn in a man? Must I give myself a moral lobotomy to become a strong Christian?

I’m not sure I’ll ever be prepared for God, especially after Columbine, because I can’t believe such an evil entity exists. But God had better be ready for me, because he’s got a lot to answer for! Belief in God, or in anything, is not a choice: it is the result of being convinced. I am not convinced that God was at Columbine. Maybe he was busy helping Texas A&M win a game.

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Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2003

“Where was Cassie’s God when she needed him to save her life?”

She didn’t need God to save her life, and probably didn’t ask him to. Our time on this earth is but a blink of an eye to all eternity. Cassie is still living, but in another place for all eternity, without ever having to feel pain again. God was there, he took her home.

It sounds like you have little if any faith in the Living God, and Jesus the Christ. If you really think that God was not there, where is your hope? What are you looking forward to after this life? Do you really think that it is a coincidence that after 2,000 years of people trying to tear down the church and trying to destroy our manuscript that we are still here, still strong, still ready to die for our beliefs? Do you believe in anything so strongly that you would give your life up for it? We do. If you want to know more about it, I would be happy to share.

Thanks for your time, and your salvation is not out of your reach, you just have to ask for it.

In Christian love,

P.S. I, and many other I’m sure, would appreciate if you deleted your page defying God.

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REPLY:

Thank you for reading my opinion on the Columbine murders. I take it that if a teenager pointed a gun at you, as he did at Cassie and a dozen others who died on that day, you would have encouraged him to pull the trigger, secure in the knowledge that you would be translated to heaven and into the arms of Jesus.

Or maybe not. I know I wouldn’t, and I feel reasonably certain that, given a true choice, Cassie wouldn’t have, either. Most sane, rational people think death is generally a bad thing, but I am aware that Christians long for that “better world,” so if that’s your goal in life, who am I to gainsay it?

You cannot possibly know, in any empirical way, that “Cassie is still living, but in another place for all eternity.” Neither of us has any direct experience with eternity, so we would be wise to leave speculation to one side and focus on what we know. If you are honest, you will have to admit that all we both know, really, is that Cassie will no longer feel joy or pain, love or hate, triumph or defeat – at least not as a human being. This life is all we can know. Suggesting anything beyond it is guesswork.

In fact, I think it is beastly to suggest that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris performed some kind of service for Cassie Bernall as agents of God’s plan. If I had ordered the killing of a young woman so full of promise, you would think me a monster. Can you seriously admire in a God what you would despise in a man? And don’t give me the “God’s ways are not man’s ways” argument – that’s just duct tape over broken logic; it’s admitting you have no rational answer.

Perhaps I do have “little if any faith in the Living God, and Jesus the Christ,” since I have no idea who or what those names refer to. Unlike you, however, I don’t depend on an invisible friend to get me through life. When I have hope, it is based on confidence in my own intellect and my hard work. What I look forward to is making the world a more rational place when I leave it than it was when I arrived.

As for your Christian brethren having been around for 2000 years, so what? Judaism has been around far longer; animism and Pantheism even longer than that – and these beliefs are remarkably free of massacres, inquisitions, intolerance and anti-intellectualism. Religious belief isn’t a necessity for a moral life, anyway. The “transcendental temptation” is ubiquitous because it is carefully taught: it is a fact that every child is born an Atheist. Furthermore, I think dying for one’s beliefs is overrated and nonsensical. Who would defend my beliefs if I died for them?

I thank you for your offer of salvation, but I’m not sure what you’re talking about: could it be a made-up solution for the fictitious problem of “sin”? If there is an afterlife, when I die, one of two things will happen. If there is a loving God, he will forgive my honest mistake, knowing that all my life he knew what evidence it would take to convince me and that he chose not to present it – in fact, an omniscient God would know before I was born that I would not believe in things without proof. If there is a vengeful God, who condemns honest unbelievers, while refusing to offer me the slightest evidence of his existence, then he is unjust and unworthy of worship and I would rightly despise him.

As for your request that I delete my page “defying God,” I’m afraid I must decline. If God is offended (and not just you), He can delete it Himself. I know it would make things easier on you: it’s a whole lot easier to silence my arguments than to answer them!

Originally published May 2004.

About the author

Ronald Bruce Meyer

Freethought Almanac was created by Ronald Bruce Meyer, in collaboration with freethoughtradio.com, in March 2003. What started with a brief notice on the birthday of Albert Einstein, grew into almost 250,000 words on not only biography but history, philosophy, theology and politics — one day at a time. Freethought Almanac looks at these daily subjects from a godless point of view, that is, a point of view that is based not on fantasies, delusions or wishful thinking, but a view that is evidence-based.

Permanent link to this article: http://freethoughtalmanac.com/?p=7856