Dear Whoever-You-Are that wrote this little fragment on my board,
(Original student memo not provided here.)
You are quite correct. If one defines "righteous" as "God-fearing," then it is self-evident that a person that believes that there is no god to believe in is not "righteous" by your definition, and you will find no righteous atheists.
The Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (1996) defines "righteous" as follows: (1) characterized by uprightness or morality. (2) morally right or justifiable. (3) acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous. (no mention of god.)
I realize that you do not accept the authority of Webster's Dictionary. I, on the other hand, do not accept the "authority" of your so-called "Bible." Your God, your Jesus, your Yahweh, your Allah, your spirits, your demons, your afterlife, your requirement to have "faith" (the silliest thing of all), and your Bible, with its ancient-past stories, are all fantasies. I see none of it. Prove your God in a court of law in the present, and I will listen. Do not tell me about the enduring nature of these stories as "proof" of their literal truth; anything can be made "enduring" when it is pushed down the throats of people by a tyrannical church for 2000 years.
Nevertheless, I wish to point out that I have NEVER heard of a person killed in the name of atheism. People kill in the name of their god, their anger, or out of no belief-system whatsoever. Never in the name of atheism. A true atheist is a very moral person.
You said that Abraham begged his god not to destroy Sodom if he could find a single righteous man in that place (Incidentally, Abraham apparently talked god down from finding 50 righteous people, to merely 10, but certainly not 1: better read your Genesis 18 again.) However, I wasn't there, so I don't know what happened other than that some Hebrew claimed that his god destroyed Sodom. If we ever invent time machines: thank you, but I'll place my bet on the probability that, if Sodom was indeed destroyed, that it was done so by the enemies of Sodom, not by some god. People have a way of crediting their god with what they believe is "good" and blaming demons on what they believe is "bad." Humans seem never to take responsibility for their own human action. (One of the many reasons why theism, in general, is so bad for the human race.) Furthermore, everyone seems to think that "God" is on their side, and not on the side of their enemies. Everyone believes that their god is the one, true god, and, of course, you especially know that this is true. (Right?) And after the conflict ends, the winners write the history books, and so, amazingly, "God's" side (which is any side) always seems to win.
Meanwhile, religious wars rule the Earth. From the obviously "Christian" Crusades, to wiping out the North & South American native peoples in the (so-called) name of Christian progress, to the current wars between the scumbag leader "believer" in Allah and the scumbag leader "believer" in Jesus. The only "god" in this case is called "oil." There is no other god. (And don't even bother mentioning all the crazy ancient gods, and the wars they caused: Nutcase A versus Nutcase B.)
Do not tell me about Christian "charity" and how superior it is to everything. How hypocritical it is to support capitalistic economics (the cause of massive wealth inequity), and then to "give" some charitable gift for some cause. Sounds like rationalizing, and latent guilt, to me. Why not vote for fairness for ALL, so you don't have to engage in your psychological self-soothing band-aid of giving charity. Do not resort to your little bag of Christian clichés and tell me that I'm an evil socialist that strips people of their motivation. (I, after all, would merely accuse you of being an evil capitalist that strips people of their dignity.) Perhaps a person that works twice as hard as I do should have twice as much as I do. (Perhaps.) Ross Perot has over 4 billion dollars; where as I have somewhat over 40,000. If you are telling me that he "earned" this because he worked 100,000 times harder than I did, than you really are much stupider than I thought.
Just in case your cultural Sunday-school brainwashing is so complete that you are otherwise incapable of imagining this idea on your own, I will spell it out for you. Ethical behavior, and notions of fairness, love, decency, and respect, all have perfectly natural explanations through the quite real mechanism of natural selectivity. A people that experiments in the belief that "Thou can kill whenever one wishes" does not live long enough to have their genes successfully passed on. Those groups that, for whatever reason, invent the idea that "Thou Shalt not kill" do live and do perpetuate their genes and, therefore, their ideology. It is no mystery. The problem is, [awareness-of-what-works-well-for-humans] gets codified as laws, and the laws are then attributed to "gods" in order to help legitimate and coerce people into following those laws (either out of a fear of "God", or a self-satisfied notion of superior free-will "agreement" with "God.) Believe in "Good" YES. Not in "God."
To be real honest with you, I only took the time to write this personal statement for the sake of those readers out there that still are educable. I realize that your circular reasoning habits have utterly insulated you from the possibility that this letter might possibly have any effect on you personally. I, too, 20 years ago, believed the nonsense that you currently do. But I finally admitted that the emperor is not wearing invisible clothing. The reason one cannot see the clothing, is because IT IS NOT THERE. (See the children's book, "The Emperor's New Clothes," in case this allusion went right over your head.)
Let me conclude with this. If by some amazing bit of improbable happenstance there really is a god that created a creation with people required to have a faith that supersedes their senses, then to quote from your bible. "I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God." (Luke 12: 8-9) So the next time you think of cluttering my memo board with your Christian clichés, all of which I know, at this point, please DO NOT BOTHER UNLESS YOU SIGN YOUR NAME. Your cowardice does not much impress me, either.

Jody Nagel
April 15, 2003
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