2003 Update:
Atheists React to The Meaning of Atheism
The "Mushukyou" E-Mails

Of all the E-mail and IM exchanges I have had relative to my article on The Meaning of Atheism, few have been both as disgusting and as outright funny as those that have come from the person who styles himself as "Mushukyou." The best way to give you an understanding of the kind of person this "Mushukyou" happens to be is for you to visit his website. While I hesitate to do so, given the shocking nature of much of its content, I believe that any mature, Adult Christian should be willing to face such blasphemous idiocy without fear. Though I frequently feel as though I need to take a bath after visiting his website, I offer the link to you so that you can understand the twisted mental perversity of the author of the "Mushukyou" E-Mails.

http://www.mushukyou.com/

Again, I want to warn you ... this individual is very sick, and his illness is displayed all over his website. It can also be seen, though less graphically, in his E-Mails to me. I offer them to you as an example of the social, cultural, and intellectual lows to which militant Atheism can sink in self-delusional.

Mushukyou's Initial E-Mail.

Subj: About your inability to comprehend
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2003 10:24:42 PM
From: mushukyou@yahoo.com
To: RevNeal@aol.com

Atheism, the prefix a- means without, theism means "belief in god". It's that simple.
Please tell me how "atheism" is a "faith-based belief"?
It's the lack *of* belief.
How is one supposed to disprove a negative?
Since we can't, how can you, with a straight face, assume that that's what atheism needs to do? Are you with the rest of us? *Obviously* atheism doesn't mean "there is no god".
Whether you like it or not, the word is defined literally, as I have stated. The prefix is there for a reason - and yes, we must understand it as such. Ask any big atheistic organization around the nation.
It's not that hard to think, man. Give it a try.

My Reply to Mushukyou.

Subj: Re: About your inability to comprehend
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2003 11:40:19 PM
From: RevNeal@aol.com
To: mushukyou@yahoo.com

The problem -- one which you refuse to consider -- is that I have examined your proposed etymology for the meaning of the word "Atheism," and it simply doesn't work. I understand that you believe it is a logical, reasonable, and correct etymology of the word's formation in English, but in fact it actually violates the rules of Greek grammar in several respects. I will not repeat my analysis here, principally because I doubt that your well-expressed arrogance will dispose you to be open to considering my points. However, you'll find my arguments on this issue in my Article; if you want to see WHY your proposed etymology for "Atheism" doesn't work, read my article. You will find it here:

http://www.RevNeal.org/Writings/atheism.html

If, however, you just want to keep sniping at me, you can save the electrons. I have no interest in the insult game, and refuse to play it.

Regards,

Greg+
Dr. Gregory S. Neal
Senior Pastor,
First United Methodist Church of Seagoville, Texas
www.SeagovilleFUMC.org

Grace Incarnate Ministries
www.RevNeal.org

Mushukyou's responded to me with a series of ad hominem attacks, arrogant posturing, and empty phrases in the following little rant.

Subj: Hey, Dummy!
Date: Thursday, March 6, 2003 7:09:21 AM
From: mushukyou@yahoo.com
To: RevNeal@aol.com

You have no foundation, yet you attempt to word-play. You wouldn't stand a chance with me, son. I already make you look foolish, and I hardly said anything. That's what happens when you have invisible sky-daddies and imaginary friends. There's just no defense. And *then* you attempt to make atheism look like it has some sort of burden of proof... it's just disgusting, the length you people will go to to spread your irrationality.
Religion is going down buddy. There's no saving it.

I found Mushukyou's taunt both humorous and very revealing of his sophomoric character. My response illustrated this perfectly.

Subj: Re: Hey, Dummy!
Date: Friday, March 6, 2003 8:58:09 AM
From: RevNeal@aol.com
To: mushukyou@yahoo.com

You have no foundation, yet you attempt to word-play. You wouldn't stand a chance with me, son. I already make you look foolish, and I hardly said anything.

You remind me of a bullfrog. You make a loud sound, and you puff yourself up large in order to make yourself look big and important, but it's all just blustery hot air. In fact, you've done nothing but parrot what others have said ... even your insults are not original. For all the barbs about "thinking" for oneself, I've seen none of that from you.

That's what happens when you have invisible sky-daddies and imaginary friends. There's just no defense. And *then* you attempt to make atheism look like it has some sort of burden of proof... it's just disgusting, the length you people will go to to spread your irrationality.
Religion is going down buddy. There's no saving it.

The rumors of God's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Greg+
Dr. Gregory S. Neal
Senior Pastor,
First United Methodist Church of Seagoville, Texas
www.SeagovilleFUMC.org

Grace Incarnate Ministries
www.RevNeal.org

Not surprisingly, this arrogant little twerp didn't like being made to look childish, so he returned to my previous E-Mail and the issue of the meaning of "Atheism."

Subj: Re: About your inability to comprehend
Date: Thursday, March 6, 2003 11:14:08 PM
From: mushukyou@yahoo.com
To: RevNeal@aol.com

Let me help you out here lil buddy... "atheism" is an *English* word, not a "Greek" word. I don't give a crap if you think it "violates rules of Greek grammar", it doesn't matter, since... ........... ............... IT'S NOT A GREEK WORD !!! Duh !

Yes, it has roots in the Greek language, but it's an English word, and it follows the grammar of our language. Thus, you *must* accept the use of the prefix, since it is the only relevant way of disecting the word, which thus produces the literal meaning, which is what is accepted not only by all the major atheist organizations, but the OED.

Stop being a moron. Get with the program. You have no argument. You have no idea who you're dealing with son.

My Reply to Mushukyou ignored his personal ad hominem and focused on the subject at hand. In the end, it never does much good to waste time on responding to such personal attacks. I wish I could better-follow my own advice.

Subj: Re: About your inability to comprehend
Date: Friday, March 8, 2003 1:24:54 AM
From: RevNeal@aol.com
To: mushukyou@yahoo.com

Let me help you out here lil buddy... "atheism" is an *English* word, not a "Greek" word. I don't give a crap if you think it "violates rules of Greek grammar", it doesn't matter, since... ........... ............... IT'S NOT A GREEK WORD !!! Duh !

As a matter of historical and linguistic FACT, it IS a Greek word: "Atheos." It was borrowed through French into English from the Greek language. In Greek it had an etymological formation and meaning which can be determined through its literary use. One cannot just disregard its etymological morphology, or its usage in the language of its origin, simply because we now have it in a secondary (actually, a tertiary) language.

Yes, it has roots in the Greek language, but it's an English word, and it follows the grammar of our language.

The word "Atheism" is more than just rooted in the Greek language ... it came into English as a whole, preexisting word, from Greek through French. As such, its etymology must obey its Greek origination.

Thus, you *must* accept the use of the prefix, since it is the only relevant way of disecting the word, which thus produces the literal meaning, which is what is accepted not only by all the major atheist organizations, but the OED.

If you're going to attempt to deconstruct the word, follow the rules ... don't make them up. The negation particle "a" does NOT apply to the implied predicate, but to the NOUN "theos." In other words, it isn't belief that's being negated, it's the object of the belief. This observation is reflected in both the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Websters New Collegiate Dictionary.

Stop being a moron.  Get with the program.  You have no argument.  You have no idea who you're dealing with son.

Cease your arrogant posturing or cease E-mailing me.

Greg+
Dr. Gregory S. Neal
Senior Pastor,
First United Methodist Church of Seagoville, Texas
www.SeagovilleFUMC.org

Grace Incarnate Ministries
www.RevNeal.org

Mushukyou couldn't deal with my argument, he could only repeat the tired, invalid, artificial etymology, without regard for how I had long since blown it away. I never responded to this E-Mail, so I will comment on each point below. Apart from several attempts by Mushukyou to harass me via AIM, I've not heard from him since.

Subj: Re: About your inability to comprehend
Date: Friday, March 7, 2003 6:19:10 AM
From: mushukyou@yahoo.com
To: RevNeal@aol.com

Cease *my* arrogant posture? haha.. I think it's the other way around just as much, son, so please.

Yes, your arrogant posturing. Here's a list of some of the self-important, arrogant, egotistical zingers which litter your writing and betray your childish, sophomoric mind:

"It's not that hard to think, man. Give it a try."
"You wouldn't stand a chance with me, son."
"I already make you look foolish, and I hardly said anything"
"...you have invisible sky-daddies and imaginary friends."
"Religion is going down buddy. There's no saving it."
"Let me help you out here lil buddy..."
"Stop being a moron. Get with the program."
"You have no idea who you're dealing with son."

It is always amazing to me that a foul-mouthed and foul-minded, egotistical, uneducated, video-game playing youth -- for Mushukyou is a 20-something brat with no more understanding of philosophy, theology, linguistics, and history than my basset hound, Dorcas -- can have the unmitigated gall to think he knows more about this subject than a scholar of Theology, Greek, and Linguistics. Am I being arrogant when I write this? Perhaps ... but I'm correct.--GN

It is not a Greek word, it is an English word. The prefix a- means without, and it is applied *NOT* to "theos", but to "theism".

I have already answered this kind of argument so many times that it's not worth doing so again. However, just incase somebody new is reading this, the simple FACT is that the word "atheism" has been drafted into English from it's language of origination, Greek. In Greek the negation particle "a" has been added to the Greek word theos, which is a noun. Etymologically, it means "no-God" or "without-God" or "anti-God." In Greek it idiomatically described those who denied that specific gods, or even any gods, existed. This was not a passive concept, it was very much an active one, and one that was a serious problem for the culture of that day-and-age.

In the ancient world ecumenicalism was common; most people accepted that many gods existed, not just the god to whom they owed their allegiance. For such people, if the culture required them to make an offering to another people's deity (for whatever reason), it wasn't a problem for them to comply. Few people were, like Jews, Christians, and Muslims, ontologically monotheistic. Those who were generally refused to participate in the cultural-religious practices of the society at-large, and this was a serious problem ... particularly in an Empire where the autocracy was founded upon the concept of the divinity of the Emperor. Those who refused to at least passively accept that specific gods existed were labeled atheos. It mattered not that many of those who held this position were theistic relative to their own religion; that they denied the existence of other, specific, gods, got them labeled atheos. It made perfect sense to apply this term, therefore, to those who denied any gods at all. Such a denial is not passive ... it is not a philosophical refusal to acknowledge deities, it is an active denial of deity at all. Those who claim otherwise are simply trying to hide from the logical necessity of their having to defend their denial. In the case of those who were theistic relative to their own god, but atheistic relative to other gods, such a defense was obvious -- their god was god, other gods were not. For a modern-day atheist, however, their denial of gods is predicated upon a different philosophy of nature. As a matter of epistemology, atheists are naturalists ... and this philosophy has no room for deities. They assert that there is nothing beyond nature; since the deity is beyond nature, deities do not exist. Q.E.D. This is their philosophy. Don't let any atheist claim it's not.--GN

Do you know what "theism" is? Theism means "belief in god". When you add the prefix a- onto theism, hey, what do we have? A negation of the word. The prefix isn't on "theos", it applies to "theism". Theism means "belief in god". If theism means something other than that, I'd love to hear you admit it. But as long as it does, *OF WHICH* it does, then you are just being completely ludicrous.

Theism is an epistemology which includes room for theos. Atheism is an epistemology which does not include room for theos ... it is a philosophy which is oriented around there being no-god, only nature. Both epistemologies involve belief systems, so the negation particle simply cannot be understood as negating belief. What else might it be negating? The object, of course ... theos.--GN

That's just how it works. It has a root word in Greek, but it's not Greek. It's actually ENGLISH now. "Atheos" meant "without god", or words to that effect. Although it has its relation to the word, you can't say that it *is* that word, because it obviously is *NOT*.

You betray your ignorance of languages. atheos is the cognate-word of "atheism." It's not just the root word from which "atheism" is built, it is the very word itself, but in Greek.--GN


Atheism does reflect the atheos meaning, but it is in the English format, which means we carried it over to be the negation of theism. The prefix has its meaning - and we cannot just go ahead and say: "I'm going to completely ignore the literal, deconstructive meaning of atheism - simply because it has a root word in Greek that I feel is saying something different". I'm sorry buddy, but you're way out in left field - fighting an already-lost battle.

No, I've already won. You're so ignorant, you just don't realize it.--GN

This attempt of yours is pathetic, illogical, and completely arrogant. You actually sit there, look at the sky, and say, in the midst of it being blue, that it's really purple-poka-dot with orange lining.

Actually, my analysis is valid, my argument is legitimate, and my facts are rooted in the academic scholarship of linguistics. Relative to my Meaning of Atheism paper, I am not at all arrogant. I am a scholar; I am trained in this field; I have taught Greek at the undergraduate level. In short, I am qualified to make the observations and draw the conclusions I have drawn. You, on the other hand, are not. I know that cheeses you off; your ego is so huge and yet so fragile that you cannot comprehend the possibility that you're wrong. But you are.--GN

Theism
Atheism

A belief in a god, the negation. The negation is not, in any form, a statement of belief - it cannot be. It is simply the negation. It's that simple.

Of course it is a statement of belief; it is an epistemology for dealing with the universe, what else could it be but a belief-system? That you want to claim it isn't is obvious -- to admit that it is a belief-system would require you to accept that your beliefs are rooted in faith, just as mine are. You loath that prospect almost as much as you loath Christians. Well, guess what ... you have faith in the non-existence of God. That is written all over your website, and it spills forth from everything you write. Learn it; live it; love it ... or change your mind.--GN

In fact, "atheos" doesn't, from what I recall from other sources, referring to someone that asserts that "there is no god". I will clear this up on my own time, perhaps this weekend

I suppose your silence is your tacit acceptance of the FACT that it does mean the active negation of the god precept. Yes, you tried to IM me several times ... keep it up, and I'll just keep adding your screen names to my block list.--GN

But you, sir, are simply a loner out to fight a battle that you have absolutely no support in, since it requires some pretty severe dishonesty.

No, I'm an academically trained scholar who is using the tools of the profession, along with his mind, and is having a blast making militant atheists, such as yourself, angry. I haven't had this much fun since my last cruise.--GN

The Whittle E-Mails
The Deoxy-Chimp Sidebar
The "CertifiedTech" E-Mails
"Ted the Atheist" E-Mails


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