Ken Pulliam died this past weekend. For those readers unfamiliar with his name, Ken was a cranky internet atheist. Yet he was more than just an internet atheist: Ken was an apostate. According to his bio, he was "saved" in a militant, fundamentalist church. He attended Bob Jones and even graduated with a Ph.D. of some sort.
However, he wrestled long and hard with his fundamentalistic tar baby for quite sometime until he finally gave up and abandoned it altogether around 1995 to become as militant with his atheism as the fundamentalists he despised are with their fundamentalism. When "blogging" became popular, he began posting under the title of "Former Fundy." Phil has a bit more regarding his background HERE. There was no facet of Christianity that remained untouched by his hammer.
His family and friends have been remembering him as a "great guy" who was intelligent, a prolific writer, an all around tremendous chap. I guess everyone, no matter how odious, has endearing qualities with some people. Karl Marx's children always noted how they enjoyed their father's sense of humor. I, however, don't remember him with such fondness. When I encountered him, I thought he was a whiny crybaby and an egotistic blowhard who only sought to sow strife and shipwreck the faith of the brethren.
I tussled with Ken back in April of this year in the comments under a post at the GTY blog. The subject had to do with evolutionary deep time, evangelical compromises, and the interpretation of the book of Genesis. Ken initially joined in with a handful of theistic evolutionists to criticize biblical creationism. I thought his appeal to various atheistic urban myths, like Christians forbidding the use of anesthesia on women during child birth, to be a bit odd, but I dismissed it as youthful theistic evolutionary naivete. Yet, when pressed as to his orthodoxy in other areas of Scripture, Ken avoided answering our questions. Several people, including myself, interacted with him nearly the entire day until I started thinking his name sounded familiar. So I did a search on who he was. I discovered immediately that he was an apostate atheist who ran in the little circles of a rather eccentric group of radical skeptics which clearly explained his citations of urban myths.
When I exposed who he was to the other commenters, he became a bit annoyed and then agitated. The conversation degenerated from that point onward. He began writing insulting comments against my pastor and our church that we never approved for the blog so he left never returning. He then personally emailed me several embittered remarks complaining (whining) as to being mistreated unfairly and maligned on the GTY blog and that I was a mean, ogre of a Christian. He didn't like that I described his derogatory remarks "nasty," for example. One of my favorite statements he wrote was how Christian apologists like Michael Licona and Norm Geisler always welcomed him warmly at the Evangelical Philosophical Society meetings and gave his "views" a fair hearing. Go figure.
Ken's atheist comrades have been eulogizing him the last few days. I find it strange how atheists mourn what would simply be, according to their perspective anyways, the termination of a biological machine; a super advanced machine for sure, but it's a machine none the less. Even more snort worthy is their indignant outrage against those Christians who have confronted the cognitive disconnect within their philosophy. If men are merely biological machines, bags of animated meat, why are atheists offended when their perspective is pointed out to them. "There needs to be sensitivity to the person's loved ones!," they opine. "He had a wife and kids for crying out loud!" Really? Since when do machines have "loved ones?"
Consider the bare, naked faith one "biological machine" wrote about Ken:
We know he isn’t being tortured somewhere. We know he isn’t being forced to eternally worship a tyrannical god. We know he isn’t cold, hot, hungry, thirsty, or tired. He feels no pain, pleasure, happiness or depression. He’s just…..dead. The same state we enter after sleeping for two or three hours, he is in forever.
He sounds fairly confident. Such a bold faith; especially coming from a person who would otherwise demand evidence for such convictions. He says "We know" at least three times in the first few sentences. But how does this fellow know these things? What does he know about what happens after a biological machine shuts down? They go to "sleep?" Do they dream in analog or digital? Or about electric sheep?
Atheists sure do claim to know a lot about stuff and they are zealous when they go about correcting all of us dumb religious people. But in reality, it is tragic ignorance.
Two passages come to mind:
Proverbs 6:12-15 states: A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth; he winks with his eyes, he shuffles his feet, he points with his fingers. Perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord. Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; suddenly he shall be broken without remedy.
and then Isaiah 57:21 There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.