On April 11, a blogging friend of mine Tildeb, posted an encounter he had with a recent convert to the Christian religion. His blog is titled Questionable Motives and I recommend you take a gander at it. He’s slowed down on his postings over the last year unfortunately but what is already there is very well written and thought-provoking.
The convert’s name is Eva and she has a blog titled The Aspirational Agnostic. Her convert story contained what one might come to expect from people who, now that they have found the correct god and discovered the correct way to worship him, have become an all-around better person – you know – more accepting, more tolerant, more humble…the list goes on and on. She’s left behind her nasty old intolerant, fundamentalist, angry, opinionated, atheist self. She’s left behind The God Delusion – which was her “bible” and she’s found the REAL bible. If you have any capacity at all for critical thinking, you’re probably saying to yourself right now (or ought to be) “Hey wait a minute! How can you use The God Delusion as a bible? How can you be a “fundamentalist” atheist? Neither of those things make any sense whatsoever.” The whole point of being an atheist is that one rejects all supernatural deities and obviously couldn’t hold a book to be written by such a being. You can’t be a “fundamentalist” atheist, because atheism contains no principles to be fundamentalist about. It is simply a word used in place of the phrase “non-belief in gods”. That’s it. That’s all there is to atheism
Enter the discussion/debate/argument stage which for me, started when I read tildeb’s blog post, calling out Eva and her use of atheism and the God Delusion as scapegoats for her past intolerant, angry, opinionated behavior. The reaction was as you’d likely predict. First, tildeb was banned by Eva – because she’s so tolerant. After that, she re-instated his comment and “apologized” by saying “Oh crikey. I just came over to leave a comment, just in case you don’t get a notification. I reinstated your comment and have apologized for deleting it. Its the first time that I have ever deleted a comment, or banned someone, and I think that I over reacted.”. So far so good right? No admitting of fault or anything like that but at least an apology. But wait, there’s more!: “I’m sorry that you took it so much to heart, although your readers must pleased that it finally got you to post again!” Not, I’m sorry, it was my fault. No. I am sorry that it’s YOUR fault you took my deleting of your comment and your subsequent banning “to heart”. Is this a great apology or what?!?! What happened next? She allowed him to post for a while, addressing none of his criticism and instead blaming the whole thing on him and his “misunderstanding” of what she wrote. And oh yeah and of course “you sound like I rejected your date to the prom. Get over yourself and your high and mighty motives, Tildeb. Youre just an angry internet keyboard warrior who lost a platform.” Because hey, if you criticize someone, that must mean you’re “angry”, which immediately invalidates the criticism. Then she banned him again. Tolerance anyone?
Enter the Professional Apologist. Barry, over at Another Spectrum WordPress blog. He has been doing the best excuse making and tap dancing I’ve ever seen an apologist do. I have continually repeated the same message ad nauseam. Although Eva has claimed that she was an atheist because she disliked Christians and found them to be stupid and ignorant and that she used The God Delusion as her “bible” to justify her behavior, she is being dishonest and disingenuous. Disliking Christians does not make you an atheist, it makes you an bigoted or prejudiced person. There is no promulgation of intolerance, prejudice or bigotry contained within The God Delusion, certainly not aimed specifically at Christians. None of her behavior can be attributed to either of those things. She was an intolerant, angry, opinionated person, SCAPEGOATING her behavior on atheism and The God Delusion. This was the SOLE reason tildeb took exception to Eva’s conversion story in the first place. It’s a very simple message. Eva is committed to her position that she didn’t smear atheism or The God Delusion and Barry is committed to not understanding the objection. It is literally like talking to a brick wall. This is the kind of thing that happens when you abandon critical thinking.