Most of you are not WordPress users. The homepage always has your sign-in info, but also lists a number of other blogs that they deem of some interest. I’ve learned to quickly run down the list, since occasionally I find something interesting.
The other day I did, a post entitled something like, “Why do Christians comment on atheist blogs.” Curious, I sauntered over and took a look at the post, which was short. The writer is quite popular, there were a couple hundred replies. I posted my answer and left, thinking that this might be an interesting blog to follow.
A couple of days, I check back to see if there had been any response to what I wrote. There was, and it surprised me. I had said that I thought some Christians thought that an atheist just needed the right argument to be made, and of course, they assumed they had that argument.
I indicated that I thought that faith was not “teachable” that we all come to it or don’t by so many different ways that no one can talk someone into it. I also said that I thought that there was something wondrous that nonbelievers missed in life regrettably.
The response from one person was odd to say the least. He took issue with the first point, by suggesting that it was ludicrous to think that children ended up in the faith of their parents by virtue of mere chance.
Of course, I had implied nothing of the kind. Children are raised in a church. They may leave or stay depending on any number of factors. My point was that the atheist becomes a believer by a unique set of circumstances that can’t be anticipated nor manufactured. It is an issue of the mind and heart.
My point about belief giving a wondrous benefit was turned into some claim that only believers can feel reverence for nature. He pointed out that atheists can be awed by mountains and such as well.
At that point I suggested that the person try reading a post rather than simply twisting a statement to their liking to then “get off” their favorite reproach.
The point of all this is that I’m not used to such childishness on the part of atheists. Most that I have met over my lifetime have been intellectual, well educated, thoughtful, civil, highly moral, and so on. They have an excellent argument to make, they make it, and they have no need to resort to snotty put downs in order to feel superior.
As I scrolled down the responses, I saw over and over references to believers as irrational dopes who believed in fairies and leprechauns and Easter bunnies and invisible gods. Many of the posters were arrogant in their superiority, talking down to believers as children who were clinging to fairy tales to avoid responsibility in life.
Again, this has not been my experience overall. Certainly not among several atheists who read this blog and comment from time to time. They are always friendly and civil. They may tease, but it is clear they are teasing, and not trying to put me or other believers down.
What I hear from atheists is the same as what I hear on religious forums. It’s the other side that is childish, arrogant, threatening, and so on and so on. Worse, each side now justifies its crude behavior by claiming that the other side does the same.
This prompted me a few days ago to get into a strange argument with a Catholic, and I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out what I am missing. I’ll try to be brief:
A thread was entitled, “What horror stories about Protestant churches do you have to tell?” I responded with something like, “Oh goodie, another thread where we can bash other faith traditions and hurt people’s feelings. What fun!”
This was met with a reply from Donnie (not his real name), who replied, “not to be like a broken record but on Protestant forums they do this to Catholics.” To which I replied, “is it an excuse for bad behavior that the other side is doing the same? I think we are forgetting that old axiom, ‘two wrongs don’t make a right.'”
This brought an inexplicable complaint that I was putting “words” in his mouth by calling the behavior “bad or poor.” I replied, “No, I didn’t claim that was your definition. It is mine.” To which he replied, “I can’t figure out what’s wrong with you, but I’m done with this conversation.” To which I replied, “I can’t figure out what’s wrong with you, but I’m done with this conversation.” To which he replied, “You’re just trying to be nasty,” or something to that effect.
It seems that somehow, as long as the other side is doing wrong, we are now entitled to do the same. No one sent me the letter that the old adage was no longer in use. I’m seriously ticked. I mean I was raised believing that when someone did you wrong, it made you equally wrong to do the same back to them. Now, it’s right. Somebody changed the rules without telling me.
If somebody can tell me who changed the rules, I’d like to know, because I seriously disagree. Trouble is, I can’t figure out who has that authority. If I had to choose, I’d probably choose the Republicans. It sounds like something they might do. Or is that treating them the same as they treat me? Now, I’m seriously worried I can’t be the snarky pundit that I so like to dream that I am. Have I got to be nice now? Even to John and Sarah, and Rush, and Sean, and Glenn, and oh lordy, the list is ever growing.
Please tell me that everyone has to be above it all except when I want to make sport of the Republicans and the Religious right! Life would be just too too boring if I can’t slice them into bits with my impeccable dry wit. I’m so confused right now! HELP.