Although I urge you to read Kelley's letter in its entirety, I thought I'd provide a couple of my favorite excerpts below:
I don't even want to believe in a God that will send me to hell because, despite the good that I do, I simply did not see enough evidence to convince me that he (or she, or it) was actually there. You want me to believe in you? Give me a reason. I understand that flies in the face of "faith," but I fail to understand why we should take some unseen being's word on that one simple fact when we as a species require proof and explanation for nearly everything else in life (or death).Excellent point. There is no reason to treat the existence of gods any differently than the existence of unicorns, fairies, or even a flying spaghetti monster. We base all other assessment of reality on evidence; the willingness of some to make an exception here reveals the truth about gods - they represent nothing more than infantile wish fulfillment.
I don't understand prayer. The Lord works in mysterious ways, sure, I've heard that. But I don't get why prayer needs to come into play there. Let's say I don't pray at all, and I end up in the hospital with some mysterious malady. I'm dying, and the doctors can't figure it out. Suddenly, I decide that the one thing I haven't done is pray for help, or salvation, or whatever I'm supposed to pray for. Is God supposed to hear my prayer and think, "Oh, Daniel doesn't want this thing to kill him. I never would have known if he hadn't prayed"? I mean, if he's going to save me, he's going to save me, prayer or not. If I get to go to heaven, I should get to go to heaven, prayer or not. If it takes a quick "amen" to change that, then God's a bit too wishy-washy for my tastes, anyway. If he's there, he knows his plan.
Tags: religion, Christianity, prayer, god, atheist, hell, faith, Georgetown