Dated 1-18-96

>To start off, I am an atheist seriously considering converting to 
>Christianity.  I don't find God's power almighty or anything else extreme 
>and cultish in that respect, but this logic seems to demand conversion.
>  A person must have a reason for living, no matter how stupid or simple.
>  The lack of an afterlife knocks down the choices (logical ones) to 
>  1) the betterment of mankind and 
>  2) the seeking of self-pleasure.
>  There is a real problem with the betterment of mankind (the 
> theory the Atheist Manifesto seems to promote) in that a) we 
> will not be around to enjoy the perfect mankind that we helped 
> create and b) No matter how perfect we make mankind, it will 
> all end either when the sun goes nova, or, if we escape our 
> solar system, when the universe dies by crushing itself in a 
> big crunch or growing too big and fizzing out to nothing (the 
> theory that currently looks to be the most correct.

Hmmm. Sounds like you haven't given it much thought. Let me
remedy your BACKSLIDING :)

First of all, the idea that life on earth will end when the
sun goes nova or the universe goes into a big crunch are
THEORETICAL and UNPROVEN thus far. If they do happen, they'll
be so far off in the future that we couldn't possibly predict
them. You know that you will die someday, unless of course
certain science fiction concepts become a reality and give
your brain a nice Terminator Endoskeleton. You know that 
there is no such thing as a soul or spirit (maybe you haven't
figured it out yet... Just ask yourself this: Who knows more 
about the brain and consciousness, ancient men with their 
flat-earth and volcano-gods, or modern neurosurgeons, who 
have anylized brains and are now figuring out consciousness?)

You live your life already, knowing that it will end. As an
atheist, you know that when you die, there is no afterlife.
You know these things, but you continue living anyway? Why?


And who says you need to work on the betterment of mankind?
Fuck that shit. Work for the betterment of yourself. Move
to a cheaper state, grow your own food, build things. Start
a business. Make your dreams come true. 

> To seek self pleasure is an excellent purpose, but one that 
> can be obtained in many different forms.  My observations have 
> led me to believe that the happiest people are not those who 
> escape reality with the dope of their choice, but those who are
> strong in their beliefs of religion.

Seeking pleasure doesn't simply mean getting drunk or high all
of the time. Pleasure can be attained through personal achievement.
Take up a physical hobby -- build things, create art and music.
I took up cycling, and was biking 25 miles a day, whizzing past
all the others, and I'm much heavier than they are. It feels great
to conquer your fears, to overcome physical limitations, to build
your own furniture -- a constructive high. But best of all, I would
say that marriage and family are the best achievement you can
make, because you will be making little copies of yourself, whom
you can teach to be better than you. 

The happiest people are *NOT* people who have strong faith in 
their religion. The happiest people are those who live lives
that are less complicated. Living in a city complicates your 
life. Move away. simplify your existence and you will be
happier. Reduce your spending, do not rely so much on technology.
GET AWAY MORE OFTEN. Learn how to fly. Skydive. 

> Hence, wouldn't logic tell us that if we can achieve the 
> most bliss through becoming christian zealots that we should 
> lie to ourselves and convince ourselves that there is a God 
> who loves and died for us, blah,blah,blah.

Wouldn't you rather have other people love you than a fictional
god whose never *REALLY* there? Wouldn't you rather have a woman
adore you? Wouldn't you rather have people look up to you as
some kind of expert or person who can help? I have found that
friends -- real friends who don't let you down -- are far better
than any make-believe god. 

> I would like to hear your comments on any faults you may find 
> in my logic (step 2 isn't clearly defined, but I didn't want 
> to type 15 pages of reasoning).

If I dont convince you, try buddhism. Christianity is an anti-
human religion that wants you to fight all of your natural
urges and tendencies. Christianity wants you to restrain your
sex life. Christianity wants you to place unnatural limitations
on yourself. 

Depression is best cured with a mate, a vacation, and a new
hobby. So get this down -- go out and try to achieve something
new. You don't have to win a contest or anything -- just achieve
something you never did before. Climb a large hill witout resting.
If you are fat, lose weight. If you are skinny, pump iron. If you
are shy and single, start dating. If you can get beyond your own 
self-imposed psychological barriers -- if you can improve your 
willpower -- you can feel happier and more capable, and that will 
help you feel more satisfied with your lot in life.

I can give you all the personal testimonies for how I became what
I am and how I maintain my atheism, just like all of those Christians
say about their coming to Jesus. What good would that do? Just go
out and do something. When you start to feel good about yourself,
you'll understand.