Subject: Greetings from a New Friend fm India
Dear Sir and Mr.Russell,
Greetings from India. It was a surprise for me to read your blog and it is full of surprises. Though you addressed yourself as an athiest, you are full of human virtues and you are a nice person to befriend.
Though I'm a Christian Missionary, I'm interested in your views, thoughts and way of life.
When you consider yourself to be an athiest it may not be meaningful for me to ask you to pray for our service among children those who are left uncared. These Children are very special to us and we enjoy working with them. You, as I estimate, full of good values for human values and relationship, would be happy to hear more about our work among such children. We would be very happy to win your heart and have you as one of our wellwishers of our program.
You have a beautiful family. Please convey our greetings to them. Bye for now....
With special love and regards
Now, it's actually not all that uncommon that I get email from other countries. I am a regular contributor to two podcasts that have some small measure of notoriety, and I get people I never heard of commenting on my blog from time to time.
Nevertheless, there WAS that small voice that said to me, "Hey, this sounds a little bit like the stilted language in some of those Nigerian scam emails." But then I thought, "Nah, those guys mostly shotgun form emails when they're looking for new suckers. This guy was very specific about my blog and my atheism. Be a good atheist emissary and answer him."
So I wrote:
Part of the reason why I openly identify myself as an atheist is because theists rarely encounter people who are willing to say that they don't believe in God, and so they may have a lot of misperceptions. While I don't believe that atheists are better people than Christians, I do think that we are just as likely to care about humanity and have compassion.
In any case, thank you for your friendly email and have a good day.
Then he wrote:
Dear Friend Russell,Thanks for your prompt response, which makes me happy. I just appreciate your openness. Please receive our special love and we really feel proud about your heart full of compassion for mankind....Since you have a great concern for the betterment of mankind, I think it may not be improper to let you know that we are working with AIDS orphans and we've a formal inagural function our Grace Foster Home on the fifteenth of this month. Please remember us on this special day....Kindly find an attached picture of our special children with we love to fellowship with and care for their better future.... I'm sure that you will appreciate our work... Bye for now...lovingly yours friend from IndiaPaulraj JY
Well, that's a shame. So finally I wrote:
I have to give you credit for making the extra effort to personalize your scam email. However, since I now believe that you are a Nigerian con man attempting to perpetrate a 419 fraud, I would like to invite you to kindly go to hell. Of course, I don't believe in hell. But since you are in Nigeria, I reckon that's close enough.