I have received many responses since I decided to come out as an atheist.
Every week I receive one or two emails or blog comments.
Naysayers outnumber well wishers by about four to one and they tend to make very similar statements of dislike towards me: dislike to the point of wanting to see me harmed (usually by God) and a rather gleeful expectation that they will enjoy watching me being so punished.
They rarely engage in any of the issues with me and when they do they can't respond other than to say that I am wrong and I will find out the hard way.
Apart from the unecesary personal hurt that these communications cause me there are a number of areas in which my critics have either misread or misunderstood what I have been saying.
Firstly they assume that I have purposefully rejected God.
In fact I have not rejected God, just discovered that he does not exist, which is not the same thing at all.
If I knew that God existed and rejected him then that would be a very illogical thing gto do, but I don't believe there is a God or indeed any need for there to be a God in order to explain existence, with one proviso: It is possible that a superior being does exist somewhere in the cosmos, but if he does exist then he would have to be the culmination of some sort of evolutionary process himself. The chances of God existing by chance is very unlikely, and if he did exist he could not be the God of the bible.
Secondly they assume that I believe that everything came into creation by chance. This is not the case. I believe in natural selection which means that the environment in which creatures have to survive causes them to adapt and change over long periods of time. This is something that Darwin saw in microcosm when he visited the Galapagos islands and saw the adaptations of birds beaks for different survival purposes. This is natural selection or as I like to call it logical selection.
Thirdly, they believe that I think life is pointless, without meaning and without hope. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have found life to be far more meaningful without God. I have a greater understanding of my role in the world and a feeling of being part of something significant: the human race. I have become a kinder more understanding person and this might explain why I find some of these critical emails so surprising coming from people who tell me that God loves me (while they obviously don't).
So what can I make of this? I think that what these people are doing is defending their own belief system to themselves rather than trying to persuade me to believe. In fact they seem more interested in watching me suffering in hell than persuading me to avoid going there. Therein lies the heart of the issue. Christians seem to require a lot of bolstering of their own faith and can only cope by feeling slightly superior to those with whom they disagree. Rather than trying to win the argument by reason they rely on the fact that their dad is bigger than my dad and will get his revenge while they hide behind his legs sniggering at me.