Rev. Austin Miles
December 31, 1994
Thank you for the copy of your first Connecting Link newsletter. I wish you, your ministry, and your newsletter success and all the best. I have read both of your books and I am very happy to see them readily available to people who have been in the same abusive situation you addressed in both books.
Concerning subscribing to the newsletter, I'm ambivalent. I support the effort to decrease the great deal of hate, anger, greed, avarice, and fear that is rife within the body of Christ: if your newsletter is one tool to achieve this end, it is in my best interest (and the community's best interest) to support it.
The ambivalence comes not from your apparent goals, but from your methods. When I read your newsletter I sincerely thought it was a parody such as one highly skeptical and critical of organized religion might write.
I'd like to critique the newsletter for several reasons, chief of which is my desire to see your newsletter become an effective tool towards addressing the "hatred," "evil," "revenge," and "division" that infects the body of Christ like a cancer.
Page One hits the problem squarely on the head: what you did not address is the possible causes for the hate, anger, fear, and vindictiveness. To denounce something is perhaps the first step--- but then what? If a heart surgeon opens up a chest and exclaims "Ah, ha! There is the problem!" and walks away from the operating table, what has been achieved? I have an opinion on why the body of Christ is diseased as much as it is, but yours will differ radically, so I will keep it to myself.
Page Two addresses Mister Steve Allen's comment about God creating carnivorous animals. Socrates and his student Plato asked the same question, and of course Samuel L. Clemens included the question in one of his plays. Socrates, having been put to death by the religious leaders of his time, would no doubt be appalled to learn that hundreds of thousands [perhaps millions] would be put to death by religious leaders of Christianity for asking the same types of questions--- he above all others would know just how little history teaches us.
You posit that God did not create carnivorous animals. (Genesis One says the Gods created the animals, while Genesis Two says God created them.) Are you suggesting a rate of evolution far faster than what we observe? Besides teeth and claws, meat-eaters have shorter digestive systems, better night vision, and stealth capabilities (just to name a few traits vegetarians lack). To put it clearly, I do not see how your "answering" the ancient "carnivorous animals question" with "it was magic" helps you achieve what I thought your newsletter was meant to achieve: addressing the sick body of Christ.
Concerning the question on Page Three, "Who wrote the book of Job." The Book of Job is probably the oldest, or at least one of the oldest, in the Bible. A Bible scholar friend contends with most of his peers that the Book of Job was a Gentile work. He personally thinks it is Babylonian, but I think it was taken from the Babylonians and then improved upon by the Greeks. The Hebrews might have incorporated the book later, using "Job" as the anthropomorphic conglomerate of the entire Hebrew culture (which it later did with Judah and Judas). As you pointed out, Moses didn't write Job for the simple fact that, if Moses lived at all, it was after Job was written.
Of course the other books attributed to Moses probably were not written by him either, as they address some events that took place hundreds of years after he died. The book that mentions Moses's death is often attributed to him as well. Go figure.
Concerning Page Four and "Why There Are Atheists," it was this part that made me wonder if the newsletter was a parody. Non-theists lack belief in Gods for the same reason they lack belief in Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus. The actions and bizarre behavior of Christians IN NO WAY addresses the existence or non-existence of Gods. It is NOT a Christian "credibility" issue: it is a deity credibility issue. Non-theists already think that people with imaginary best friends (Gods, Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, Jehovah, whomever) act oddly.
The question "Why There Are Atheists" is false, since atheism is the default (everyone is born atheist, after all). The valid question is "Why There Are Theists." (Which I will not go into.)
I am familiar with the Camping "rapture" circus. Do you truly belief that Camping's foolishness will cause someone to lack belief in Gods? At best it will cause some people to have lack of belief in Camping. He is just one of literally hundreds of people who shot themselves in the foot with "end of the world" claims.
When the Church of God's reverend Jim Jones butchered over 900 people (300 of them children), do you actually believe that it had any effect on people believing Gods exist? Those inclined to believe in God didn't stop believing in God: many used the event to SUPPORT their belief in God's doctrine of "free will," and thus saw CONFIRMATION of their God in the Jonestown massacre.
The abuse you suffered from by the body of Christ may have caused you to doubt the existence of Gods. Such is not the case for 99% of the non-theists I know: lacking belief in Gods is not connected to the abuses perpetrated by people who have belief in Gods. The connection doesn't exist. Non-theists observe that Christianity has no connection to Gods: the behavior of the latter IN NO WAY affects or effects the former.
I'll put it another way. If you see a phrenologist in the news for sexual scandal, does this event make you believe phrenology is false, or was it the lack of evidence for phrenology that engenders your lack of belief in phrenology?
Last column of Page Four you used the words "paves the way to Atheism[sic]." How does the fact that Rev. David copulated with Ms. Krone in any way address lack of belief in Gods? People copulate: theists do it, non-theists do it, the birds, bees, and fish do it. Some Gods do it, other Gods do not.
Finally, the copy of your letter to The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. I called the local ACLU to see if they had any information on the issue. The person I talked to said she would check and let me know, though I have not heard from her yet (that was Friday evening). She said that if the Commission was considering such a policy, they, the ACLU, would oppose it with every legal means possible.
My first question is, what is your source for the rumor that the EEOC is considering a policy to "forbid" the "name" of God or Jesus in the workforce? I keep my eye on religious liberty issues, and I have not seen any such policy being contemplated. I wonder if this is a modification to the false rumor that has been kicking around for the past 15 years concerning the "FCC petition by Ms. O'Hair" that I see now and then.
My second question is, of course, why did you mail such a letter to perhaps hundreds of people, without any explanation, sources, or any references? It is an extra-ordinary claim you have made--- I consider it HIGHLY unethical and immoral to send out such a mailing without ANY factual support: are you in danger of becoming what you despise in the body of Christ?
To conclude, if your goal is to help heal the body of Christ, you will get my support and my check to subscribe to your newsletter. However, your newsletter's first issue makes me doubt that this is one of your goals. Therefore I have a request: I would like a copy of your next issue. If it eleviated some of the ambiguity and ambivalence, my subscription check will follow, and gladly so.
Go Back to Shy David's Austin Miles Page.