SEVERAL months ago, an evangelical right-winger invited me and some other twitter agnostic/atheists to take part in a radio phone-in that was so one sided and poorly organised it resulted in one of the Christian participants crying foul over the way some of the non-religious were treated. A week later, in another discussion, she was rewarded for her honesty by having some similarly dirty tricks played on her too.
Impressed with her refusal to be clumped in with the lunatics, I stayed in-touch with Heidi (@aslansmane) and exchanged several emails with her, in which we eventually decided to coauthor a statement and counter-statement book together, which attempted to address some of the truth-claims made by the religious and the tactics some use to preach their message.
So far, so good. But after sending her my introductory chapter and fielding some feedback on the best direction for the rest of the book to take, I discovered that Heidi had closed down the original twitter account she had been using during the time we met, from across the proverbial divide, and had begun instead to use an account which trotted out many of the logical fallacies and straw-man arguments our joint venture was ostensibly charged with combating.
Keen to both give her the benefit of the doubt and see the project through to completion, I simply asked her to ensure that the series of “experiments” she was running via her blog, didn’t stray into bait and switch territory that might leave anyone feeling tricked into taking part. This stood for both her Christian readership as well as those drawn into the debate by her increasingly antagonistic tweets.
Sadly it now seems that’s pretty much exactly what Heidi wanted to do. I don’t for the life of me know why, but there you have it. It could be a limelight thing, if I’m being rude about it, but I think what’s more likely is that she simply didn’t fully think through what might go wrong and wasn’t about to take advice from a non-Christian on how the experiment she claims to have been conducting might have yielded much better results if she’d worked with me on it, thereby positively informing the debate we had hoped to play out in our coauthored book.
Given the wording of her latest blog entry on this matter and noises she has made to me in private emails, where we are right now with this joint project is that Heidi is no longer involved. That leaves me with two chapters I spent a considerable amount of time researching and setting out with nothing by way of any genuinely intended push-back from a Christian perspective to balance things out—save for a rattled out in five minutes reply chapter, penned by Heidi, which sadly couldn’t have more completely ignored each of the points I attempted to make in my opening statement if it tried. (Not included)
So if you’re a Christian or you know a Christian who would like to read and reply to the two opening chapters below, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If nothing else I hope you enjoy reading what I have so far—and I look forward to one day completing the project in the way it was originally intended to be read.
UPDATE: I’m cleaning up some of the bits that need cleaning up. As I say this a working version, not a final piece. Thanks to all who are helping out. Stay tuned.
NOTE: As with Please Don’t Feed the Troll, I’m hoping to make the completed book available as donation-ware for a variety of platforms, including iBooks on iTunes and other ePub formats, like Kindle and Sony eReader. For now issuu.com is fine for reading in-browser or you can click the Download button to retrieve the PDF. Feel free to print it out and leave general feedback in the comments below.