So I can already tell..

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So I can already tell..

So I think I can already tell where the Blasphemy Challenge has its opposition. I watched the coverage by WSLS in VA on Youtube and there it was.

The coverage is going to portray atheists as a majority (haha) and the religious that are offended as victims. I even went so far as to email the anchorwoman who covers this, and what I got back was really interesting.

This was the first email I sent her, I apologize about the formatting.

-----Original Message-----
From: (my email)
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 10:22 PM
To: Hatcher, Angela M.
Subject: About Challenging the Blasphemy

Dear Ms. Hatcher,

My name is (my name), and I am a sophomore at (my school) in (city). I saw the report you did on WSLS about the
Blasphemy Challenge, and I take issue with the coverage that it was
given in a few different ways.

I got the impression from your report that the Blasphemy Challenge was
widespread, and that these Christian teens who were responding to it
were victims and vastly outnumbered. From my experience, this is not
the case at all. In fact, atheists are a minority in this country
while Christians make up a large majority. There is no one to defend
here for the Christian teens and the man that started, there are hundreds of millions of
Christians who share their beliefs all over the country. The idea
behind the Rational Response Squad's idea is to unite a group that
thinks a certain way behind an idea that they (we) all agree on.
It is much harder to find an atheist in this country than it is to
find a Christian, and I think the tone of your report intimated
something different.

Also, the assumption that the people who were Challenging the
Blasphemy had pure intentions and full understanding of what they were
doing, while the "Blasphemy Challengers"
were presumed to be doing the act out of misunderstanding or ignorance
was another problem I had. It's interesting how the Blasphemy
Challenge itself got no airtime on your program, but a group that is
opposed to it gets a segment and an interview.

I just thought it was important for me to email you to tell you this:
I cannot account for everyone, but when I take the Blasphemy
Challenge, I will not take it because I am lonely, because I am
misguided, or because I get a free DVD. I will take it because I do
not believe in a god or any variation on it. I had spent 12 years
pretending to believe in God because that's what my parents, Rabbi,
and Catholic High School told me was right. But through thorough
self-searching and countless hours of reading, I've come to the
conclusion that belief in God is not for me.
Normally that would be enough. Before September 11, religion was
mostly something that people kept to themselves and private, and I, as an atheist, have no problem with religion in someone's heart. The trouble I have with it is when it becomes legislated, when it becomes
tax-free, when it changes the FDA's rulings, and the lack of it makes
someone completely unelectable in the United States. Too many people
are afraid to admit that they do not believe in a deity, and many
don't because they are scared of public and private retribution. They might lose their jobs, they might alienate friends and family, and they might even be threatened with violence!

So please, do not belittle this honest attempt at making our minority voice heard. This isn't a cry for help, it's more of a refusal to keep silent about what we think.

Thank you for your time and patience. I'd love to hear what you
think, my email address is (my email address).

Have a great weekend!
--(my name) '09

On Thu, 25 Jan 2007 22:45:44 -0500
> wrote:
Actually Mr. (my name), you are mistaken when you write, "It's interesting
how the Blasphemy Challenge itself got no airtime on your program, but
a group that is opposed to it gets a segment and an interview.". This
story was a follow up to a story we did on the Blasphemy Challenge
itself. You probably wouldn't know that since you're not in our
viewing area.

It's not hard to find an atheist. I've been getting plenty of emails
from them. All of which also misquote what we've said on the news.

You want to know what I think. It's not my place to tell you. I'm a
journalist. What I think, feel or believe isn't what makes air.

Thank you for your email.
Angela Hatcher

-----Original Message-----
From: (my email)
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 11:38 PM
To: Hatcher, Angela M.
Subject: Re: About Challenging the Blasphemy

Dear Ms. Hatcher,

I apologize then, you're right, I'm not in your viewing area and I
shouldn't have assumed it didn't make it on the air before this. I
should have done the research and seen the original story, which I just
did. I actually liked it a lot.

I can't defend anyone misquoting what was said on the news, but do you
think that the reason you're getting emails from atheists from all over
isn't that there are so many of them, but because people like Richard
Dawkins and the Rational Response Squad are giving them the confidence,
and the internet gives them the means, to gather together and express
their ideas?

And maybe it's because I don't know too much about journalism that I
don't understand, but should I assume that nothing a reporter says, or
the way that they say it, has anything to do with what they personally

I don't mean to pester, I'm just inquisitive. Let me know if I'm
bothering you, and I'll stop.


And this was the final thing I got from her:

I do not engage in debate, about any topic, with viewers and you're not
even a viewer. Please stop emailing me.
Angela Hatcher


So there it is. This is what we're fighting. They're going to portray us as lonely, weak, ignorant, in need of saving, basically. And we're the majority, and we're elitist and oppressive. Christian teens are just fighting back against a rising trend, etc. What can we do about this?

If all else fails, if all turns to dust, set sail on a ship built from trust.

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Thanks for writing her and

Thanks for writing her and then posting it here with her responses.  I found that very inspiring. Laughing

It is as you say, that atheists are not high in number but they are starting to speak out.  silence=death or so I've heard. 

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The girl said she was saved

The girl said she was saved from her sins when she was 8 years old...what sins is an 8 year old capable of?

 I believe that's a follow-up to the clip they have on this site.  It did seem they lavished on the christians a little more, but that might very well be my bias, and at any rate, they aren't fully at fault.  They probably figured their viewers would take well to that; journalism purports to be objective and impartial, but there is still a bottom line to meet.



There are no theists on operating tables.


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reporters are biased

This does not surprise me. Reporters try to pretend they are unbiased, but their personal bias glares through on constant basis. Look at what Terry Moran wrote in her blog about the Blasphemy Challenge that aired on Nightline. What an arrogant, biased bitch. It sickens me that people like her even dare call themselves reporters..they are nothing but propagandists and opinion pushers.


Spitting in the face of God
Last night on Nightline, John Berman filed a provocative story about a group of militant atheists who call themselves "The Rational Response Squad" and who invite people to denounce God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit on-line in "The Blasphemy Challenge."

John's story was fascinating--either infuriating, inspiring or just good fun, depending on your point of view. You can watch it on line here--just go to the video link on the page. The piece sparked a wide-open, passionate debate on the Nightline message boards; if you want to join in, click here.

A lot of people out there are talking about proof--proof for or against the existence of God and the truth or falsity of the Bible. Take a look at this thread here. It's a real donnybrook over the question of evidence--can you prove the existence or non-existence of God?

A poster called drakunis has weighed in on the side of rational, scientific denial of the existence of God:

"I challenge you to look through your good book, and all of your "evidence" and come up with something that is measurable by science. Welcome to the new world, science is your king. Science can answer almost all of your questions yet you turn a blind eye simply because you are afraid of the truth, there is no god, when you die, that is it. It's the same as before you were born, nothingness, yet you wont know it, so don't fear it."

That's basically what Brian "Sapient," the co-founder of the Rational Response Squad kept telling John Berman in one form or another. But it's always struck me as the height of human hubris to raise up Western scientific rationality--the invention of the last few hundred years and a product of the relatively puny human mind--and make it the measure of the universe. It's true our little minds are all we have, and we must live by our wits and trust them as far as they can take us. Irrationality is no answer. But neither is rationality. There are simply too many "unknown unknowns," as Donald Rumsfeld liked to say.

For many people who believe in God, faith is not a syllogism. It's not some kind of falsifiable equation. It's an experience, a state of being in relation to all that is outside us, seen and unseen. All religions seek to capture and express that near-universal human experience, that reverie at the edge of our lives, the sense that "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Nonsense, say the skeptics. Maybe. But is everything in your life knowable by way of syllogism and equation?

Another point. It's raised in the thread here by paloverde3:

"why only Christianity?

"In the interview on Nightline, No mention was made of Buddha, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism etc. When Brian (an ex Catholic) was asked how long the challenge would go on, he said, "As long as there's Christianity." If your an atheist, then everyones worship of God should be a target shouldn't it?"

Yes, it should. It's easy to blaspheme the Christian God these days. If Brian "Sapient" and his fellow atheists on-line REALLY wanted to show their commitment to principle, would they be willing to take on other religions and their gods? Would they take on Buddhism? Islam? I doubt it would be anywhere near as popular an idea. And what does that tell us about Christianity, Islam and western atheists? Is tolerance of blasphemy (and the fact that Nightline aired the story at all shows that it is tolerated here) a sign of vigor or decadence, strength or weakness in a religion? Are we more careful to respect the beliefs of people from other cultures than we are of our own neighbors? Maybe this kind of blasphemy contains less universal truth than parochial spite.

Blasphemy, at the end of the day, is an old trick. People--young people especially--have been at it for centuries, seeing in insults to God a vivid way to rebel against the authorities in their lives. The British poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was "sent down" (expelled) from Oxford in 1811 after writing a pamphlet entitled "The Necessity of Atheism." It began with the line, "There is no God." The great surrealists Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali shocked audiences almost 80 years ago with their portrayal of Jesus as a participant in one of the Marquis de Sade's orgies in the film L'Age D'or. There may be no God; there may be a God. But it seems to me a little humility in the face of the question--from both sides--might give us a better grasp of what we can--and cannot--understand.

And in that spirit I offer a few lines from the great poet Czeslaw Milosz. He wrote this poem not long before he died in 2004 at the age of 93.


If there is no God,

Not everything is permitted to man.

He is still his brother's keeper

And he is not permitted to sadden his brother,

By saying there is no God.

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I'm still more heartened

I'm still more heartened than disheartened. Atheism is becoming a buzz word, and that can only inspire more atheists, one way or another. If the popular reaction is vehemently anti-atheist, then it will inspire indignation and atheists will push back. If the popular reaction is more tolerant, then it's a sign that we're making progress.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin
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Here's another thread about

Here's another thread about these "Challenge Blasphemy" people:

The gist is that I, and a few other people, were posting to their forums. They eventually banned everyone that wasn't a Christian.