What’s up, Gabe.
I had a fairly eye-opening experience today. I came across a blog post that was chiming in on a Christian vs. atheist debate and figured I’d chime in with my two cents via the comment section, as I often do. I left my comment and noticed that it went into moderation mode (e.g. it had to be reviewed by the blog admin before going live) but didn’t really think much about it. I just figured it would go live once someone got a chance to review it to make sure it wasn’t blatant spam.
That’s when the hilarity began to ensue.
Within a few minutes of posting my comment, I get an email from the author of the blog informing me among other things that:
1) his blog was “a serious blog”
2) he doesn’t allow comments from “village atheists”
3) I should stop being an idiot, shut my ignorant mouth, and the short but sweet ending to his email that simply said “Jackass.”
I plan on providing a detailed account of our exchange, both on his blog and via email when I create a video critique on my YouTube channel but sufficed to say, it wasn’t pretty.
I basically replied to his email in what I believe to be a fairly polite manner and requested that he go ahead and publish my comment since, after all, that’s sort of the point of social mediums like blogs; to foster discussion. And to my surprise, he actually went ahead and did so.
Sadly, he then went on to write a fairly condescending response that simultaneously failed to address all but one of the assertions I made in my original commentary and also ignored a literal mountain of examples of web content that provided the alternative definition for atheism that he so flatly rejected.
I proceeded to write a very long response and also addressed a couple of tangent assertions that were either addressed to me or were part of the parent thread of commentary, but something told me that this guy wasn’t going allow me a rebuttal so I went ahead and saved my second comment. And sure enough, the guy didn’t disappoint. He censored all of my subsequent comments (you know, the ones that countered his and his commentor’s assertions) and wasted no time in hurling a few additional insults to boot.
I was fairly disappointed, because at this point it seemed fairly obvious that this guy was displaying some serious intellectual dishonesty, so I decided to do a bit of research and came across this little gem of a blog post that included commentary from several other individuals whose comments suffered the same fate mine did. There were various other examples that were fairly easy to find via some simple Google searches. I also quickly figured out that this guy was a bit of an extremist; so much so that even fellow Christians call him out on some of his more absurd views from time to time.
That made feel a bit more at ease, on the one hand, since it became clear that I was dealing with someone that is likely a bit emotionally unstable and that clearly doesn’t represent mainstream theistic human beings. But at the same time, it was deeply troubling because I realize that this guy has a bit of a following and that my young son will likely have to deal with a slightly more violent and confrontational world because of the superstitious, dogmatic doctrine that this guy is pushing.
Perhaps most importantly, I found this whole situation a bit illuminating for the following reason:
As crappy as this guy’s general attitude was, I know based on experience that there are atheist individuals that are guilty of some of the same emotional/social shortcomings.
Not so much in terms of the intellectual dishonesty this guy exhibits (I don’t know of any atheists that selectively moderate, though I suppose that some might have at one point or another) but definitely in terms of the belligerence and condescending attitude. That makes me sad, because it’s clear that folks on virtually all sides of the god coin struggle to maintain a spirit of compassion and humility.
It also helped me to realize that being a theist or atheist doesn’t automatically make you behave in a truly compassionate and altruistic manner. That’s an important thing to note, because it suggests that improving the way you interact with fellow human beings likely has nothing to do with your stance on the god concept.
I know that you’re centerpiece in this regard is the concept of non-dualism, and so I’d love for you to chime in on your thoughts here.
Hey, Hugo. Well, first, I see the internet as a reflection of Humanity. It includes all the intellectuals along with the ignoramuses. Just as in the real world. Secondly, these days I try not to engage with people that I know are breathing/living contradictions. It makes any useful discussion pointless. In the case of this individual, he blatantly missed the part Jesus preached about in the Bible of Love and Tolerance for your fellow man. Thus, he is expounding his “flavor” of Christianity, which is one of contradiction and hypocrisy. As for Non-Dualism, he is still part of the Oneness, so it is all OK. He can continue to have his little hateful, bubble of a blog, and that is fine. Without it, you would have never made your comments that lent to uniting more people within the Atheist community, exposing that guy as a intellectually dishonest person, and been driven to make a Youtube video that will only further help shine light on the ignorance of Humanity. So, in that way, it turned out perfectly. Exactly as it should be. It really couldn’t have been any different. Right?
Really well put, Gabe, and thanks for providing a bit of perspective. It really is ok that this guy is the way that he is. In fact, it’s almost necessary for where we are right now as a species, because as you mentioned, it will ultimately help further unify the skeptic community (of which atheism is simply a byproduct).