Update: I really do not want this post to become a central topic surrounding the death of Jim Stokley. Jim was an important part of this city, and I hope that we can see him for that. Here is a great article printed in the Observer about Jim and his love for his family and the kind of person he was.
Update: Since writing this the Sarnia Skeptic has taken down his post (which is sort of ridiculous). This is the problem with anonymous identity on the Internet. There is no responsibility for your actions. You can say what you want with no backlash for the type of person you are. So I’m taking the liberty of quoting his entire post here which I conveniently found cached in Google. So you can read his post and then read my response.
There Is No God
Well, for those who know me, I lost one of my best friends yesterday. Jim Stokley – at 50 – organizer of the world-class Bayfest festival in Sarnia, died on June 5, 2009.
For those that knew the real Jim know that he did what was right for the right reasons – he didn’t do it for a reward in an afterlife – he did it because it was the right thing to do. He touched and enhanced the lives of hundreds – no – thousands of people and, possibly, no one more than my wife and I.
Jim’s loss is proof enough that there is no God. Any God willing to take the life of a devoted husband and father of two young children who did nothing but for the betterment of our community and others is a God hardly worth worshipping.
No matter how you wanted to coat it, Jim always wanted the truth. He also gave nothing but the truth, as far as he could be sure, to anyone who asked. In doing so, he has provided priceless advice and support to countless business persons and individuals in our community and abroad. He is a man unlike most – a man of virtues and values, a man of caring and compassion and – especially unlike most others – couldn’t care less about being recognized for it. He has donated hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in his lifetime – most of it anonymously – for no personal promotion or public recognition – he did it because he could and because it was the right thing to do. Jim had a heart of gold and cared more than anyone will know.
I love you Jim and I will miss you. You are more alive to us today than a God ever has been and we look forward to keeping your name, mission and goals alive. We will help and support your family and we will do, as you would, whatever is necessary to keep alive the hopes and dreams of others.
If God existed today, I’d crucify him myself for such a horrid act towards one of the greatest people who has ever lived.
The Sarnia Skeptic wrote the post above about Jim Stokley, a Sarnia businessman who has made quite a dent in the city over the past number of years and who has recently passed away. He disabled his comments, so I decided to write my comment on my site instead.
Dear Sarnia Skeptic.
I lament the loss of Jim Stokely, he did some great things in Sarnia, and while I didn’t know him that well personally besides a few transactions, I respected him as a business guy and a local Sarnia man. I remember him giving us a good deal on the Industry one night because he really appreciated some of the stuff that went on at Temple when I was involved in their day camp setup because his kids attended there. It sucks he is gone, and Sarnia will have a hole without him here.
With that being said, I find it odd that you would take such a personal situation and turn it into more “proof” for the non-existence of God. It seems after reading your blog for the past little while that it is mostly full of the same attitude, certitude and “religion” that I tend to stray away from within my own faith circles. I’m annoyed when someone doesn’t care to meet someone and they would rather just hit them on the side of the head with a few phrases (via bumper sticker, or faith tracks, and now blogs) about what they believe. It never sat right with me to take a eulogy at someone’s funeral and turn it into a turn or burn sentiment for the Christian faith. It frustrates me when someone forgets about the person and makes them into a token example for some proof of something they’ve been saying all along.
Christians do that shit all the time and for a long time I thought it was just Christians. Then I realized that it’s not just Christians, but its humans. For some reason we tend to take things that are just meant to be mysterious (ie. death) and turn it into a formula as to why or why not God does or does not exist or act a specific way. You unfortunately don’t sit any more right with me than the right winged, evangelical, turn or burn Christians that you and I despise so much. Your approach seems to come from a place of bitterness and resentment, not a place of love. Call it what you will, it appears that your blog is similar to all the things inside the church that bothers me, but instead of it being wrapped with the Jesus brand, it is wrapped with your Atheist one.
Please don’t turn the death of one human into (anti)religious propaganda. Mourn a death, don’t use it as a pedestal to spout of more of the same stuff that you’ve been saying all along. Stokley dying is no more proof God doesn’t exist than when Mother Theresa died, or when you will die someday.