Christian Company Receives Brilliant Smackdown from a Polite Atheist July 24, 2009

Christian Company Receives Brilliant Smackdown from a Polite Atheist

Dale McGowan‘s working on a website for Foundation Beyond Belief, an organization that will focus on humanist generosity and allow for charitable giving from atheists.

One web design firm Dale looked into sent him this letter in response to his inquiry:

Hi Dale,

I appreciate the time you took to fill out our website questionnaire. Unfortunately, I don’t think we are a good fit for developing your website as we are committed Christians. I think it would be difficult for us to give our all to a website promoting values and beliefs with which we don’t agree.

Thanks again for your time. I hope you understand my reasons for declining your request.


Dale’s response is a polite, respectful, silent-but-deadly slap-in-the-face that is an absolute joy to read.

I don’t know how anyone could’ve phrased it better.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Wendy

    I’m so ticked off FOR him. It’s just so farkin silly.

  • mikespeir


  • Todd

    That’ll leave a mark.

  • The response is brilliant and paints them as the hypocrites that they are.

  • Kiera

    Wonderful response.

    Too bad those guys won’t “get it”.


  • Luther

    If God had meant Atheists to use the Internet, she would not have created it. Scientists and engineers would have. A little faith and we could all live without anti-virus protection and use prayer to protect us.

  • Now that’s atheipwned!

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Enjoy that smackdown, I did.

  • Rob


  • AnonyMouse

    Marvelous. Succinct, polite, and baldfaced insulting. I’m sure it’ll get him branded the “Fifth Horseman” or something.

  • From the secular perspective, Foundation Beyond Belief deserves every positive good adjective possible. It provides a mechanism for giving without the accompanying baggage that religious institutions bring.

    Many Christians, though, view the world as a competition for people’s eternal souls. (Christians go to heaven, all others go to hell). In order to save the most number of people, Christianity has tried to co-op everything the human species finds important (including charitable giving). For those that prescribe to this “soul competition” a lone atheist, keeping to himself poses no competition. Just one soul is lost. But an Atheist that starts a foundation that starts to decouple what Christianity has attempted to co-op, posses a real threat indeed to the soul competition. I would imagine that in their deluded mindset, they had no real choice but to decline work on a secular charitable giving website. This mindset considers good works as only a means to an end (saving souls). For them good works by themselves are not important. They may even think of “good works” without evangelism as supporting their notion of the Anti-Christ.

  • Gold star for Dale. I wish I would be that erudite while responding to knob jockeys.

  • ThatOtherGuy

    @ Jeff:

    Yours is an excellent, excellent post.

  • Revyloution

    You’ve all got it wrong. We need to encourage people like those web designers to take a more hard line, literal interpretation of their faith.

    As they turn down more business and refuse to join secular organizations, they will continue to be walled off from the larger society.

    The Southern Baptist Convention is a perfect example. They refuse to allow any woman to have authority over any male. This has shrunken their numbers, weakened their power, and even caused them to loose some of their high profile members (Jimmy Carter is a great example).

    The harsh reality is that the Fred Phelps’ of the world are the people who actually read their holy text and try to live their lives by it. We need to hold those loons up as an example of perfect Christians.

    Non-belief has momentum right now. When I meet moderate believers, I gently try to show them that those loonies are trying to live their lives by the bible. The more they loose faith in the bible, the further they slide from belief in zombies that grant admission to eternal bordom paradise.

    As a personal anecdote (which is not evidence, but is always fun to hear) I’ve watched my brother in-law slowly loose his faith over the past 12 years. I won’t take all the credit, but I know my influence played some part in his leaving the faith. During my last visit, he talked with me privately about loosing it. He told me that it was the gradual realization that the bibles stories had no basis in reality. One down, two hundred million to go.

  • Apparently embedding images is disabled.

    This came to mind.

  • Siamang

    They’ll have the last laugh when Dale’s burning in hell.

  • Tom

    Since I believe discriminating on the basis of religion is illegal in all 50 states, I wonder why he didn’t, instead of writing a pithy letter, turn them into his state’s nondiscrimination agency, so something could actually be done about their bigotry instead of just being witty about it.

  • These are the people who would have a problem with the bus ad in your next post.

    And now I know to check out the Foundation Beyond Belief, so thank you!

  • rationalboy

    Dale is God! Wait, that doesn’t really work now does it? He’s awesome though!

  • Guest Pest

    Speaking of religious charities… Mayors, rabbis arrested in NJ corruption probe

    from the article:

    The public corruption uncovered by the informant led him to the separate money-laundering network by rabbis who operated between Brooklyn, Deal, New Jersey, and Israel, authorities said. They laundered some $3 million for the undercover witness between June 2007 and July 2009, authorities said.

    “These complaints paint a disgraceful picture of religious leaders heading money laundering crews acting as crime bosses,” Marra said. “They used purported charities, entities supposed set up to do good works as vehicles for laundering millions of dollars in illicit funds.”

  • In my earlier post I mentioned that Christianity tries to co-op everything that the human species finds important. Well I just got back from a funeral of someone I used to work with and the Baptist pastor really outdid himself in co-oping this time of family grief to evangelize to the larger audience in attendance. To drive home his demonization’s belief that entrance to heaven is ONLY provided by the act of believing, he listed off what everybody in our society considers good behavior… Like being a good father, a good husband, a good friend, lending strangers a helping hand, charitable giving, etc… Then he goes on says that NONE of those things will get you into heaven. Only belief.

    I wish these fundamentalist pastors could be better behaved and not shamelessly co-op funerals and evangelize when people are hurting at the loss of a loved-one. Even though I understand why they are doing it, I find it sickening.

  • Siamang

    That’s terrible, Jeff. I would have taken him aside after the service and told him I felt it was inappropriate to insert a hard-sell sales-pitch to people from lots of different beliefs and lifepaths who were there to pay respects to a lost loved one.

    I actually wouldn’t explain anything to him…. I wouldn’t go deeper into it than that. I would, however, repeat the words “I just think a sales pitch is inappropriate, is all.” Using the same non-argument “I just think” phrasing that religious people use when they don’t want to unpack the reasons why, but they will stick to their guns.

    I’m not sure I actually WOULD do that. But that’s what I’d like to think I’d do.

  • GullWatcher

    Jeff, I was at a funeral like that a year or so back, too. The pastor officiating droned on like he was at his regular pulpit, only rarely referring to the deceased. The worst bit was when he talked about how the deceased would be reunited with his wife, but he wouldn’t care, because he would only have eyes for god. People getting reunited in heaven with their lost loved ones and even not caring, because, oooh, yay, god is there. Not only was that not comforting, it was downright creepy. That’s supposed to be a good thing?

    Tom, only certain kinds of discrimination are forbidden by law. I’m afraid this kind is pretty much legal.

    As for Dale’s letter, that was awesome.

  • I just realized that I had a type-o when I said the pastor’s “demonization’s” belief when I meant to say his “denomination’s” belief. I actually like my type-o’s version better, though. 🙂

  • Dan W

    I have a story similar to Jeff’s, about the funeral of a grandmother of mine, a year and a half ago. My relatives and I were in attendance, of course, at my late grandmother’s Lutheran church for the service. I noticed that, while the pastor took the time to briefly mention how much of a faithful, caring woman my grandmother was, he spend a good deal more time droning on about how (and this was in mid-November) it was near the time when Martin Luther broke with the Catholic church, and, similar to in Jeff’s story, how belief alone would get you into heaven, et cetera.

    It really bugged me how this pastor apparently thought that he should use my grandmother’s funeral to evangelize instead of what its purpose should have been, which was to remember a deceased family member.

  • Dan W

    Oh yes, and I thought Dale’s response letter was quite awesome. I believe my exact thoughts upon reading it were ‘oh snap!’

  • Wow! I’m stunned by his calm passive aggressiveness. I wouldn’t have had the strength to stay as level-headed as he was. Frickin’ brilliant!

  • Superb response. And spot on.

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