I wrote this poem on 25 February 1998. It was originally the closing on a post to an e-mail list to which I subscribed. A fellow subscriber offered numerous Bible verses which purportedly required the eating of children and of feces. Apparently he had edited verses taken out of context from the King James Version to make them say what he wanted. I confirmed this by checking both my King James Version and New International Version. I countered his deceptiveness with the complete quotes from the NIV and contextual comments. I wasn't defending religion; I was defending intellectual honesty. My closing was the clearest, most succinct expression of my intent. The more I reread it, the more I came to view it as poem. The words sang.
The Faith of a Compleat Heretic
by James Matthew Wallace
You do not fight ignorance with ignorance.You fight ignorance with knowledge.
You do not fight lies with lies.
You fight lies with truth.
The path is difficult, and the struggle is arduous,
But both the truth seeker and the warrior of truth will ultimately triumph.
Call it the faith of a compleat heretic.