left biblioblography: WHEN ATHEISTS ATTACK!

Friday, March 10, 2006

WHEN ATHEISTS ATTACK!

Or:

Lost in Translation.

[Intoned in the voice of Rod Serling]: “Witness if you will…submitted for your approval.”

Last weekend was no picnic.

It began with Business As Usual: some teenagers, looking to stir up trouble, decided to wander on down to the NGB, and start picking fights. The usual scathing banter back and forth, the xtian kids (some people’s kids, I tell ya) making all sorts of adolescent commentary, ‘you’re going to hell, you losers’, etc. Virtual joyriders wanting to ‘see how the other half lives’, as it were.

This time, it became something OTHER, something alien.

My fault. Sort of.

I’ll give you a nutshell on the back story:

This one little troll blathered on about evolution being an ‘ideology’, going to hell, called an atheist a loser, etc. Standard stuff.

Thought I’d try something new. I took her aside on another thread, talked to her a bit, chatted briefly (told her I was a decent sort, why should I burn, etc.) After being told pretty much tough luck, I very paternally asked her to try being more courteous, polite, respect her elders, etc.

Shockingly enough, she agreed.

On another thread, two of my colleagues embarked on what I like to call, PTC (Prod the Christian). I informed them I’d asked her to be courteous, hey, hold on a minute, and don’t wail on the kid.

I was told tough stuff. Actually, I was told a lot of things. No commentary: the words exchanged are now a part of public record: read it here

Now, I’ve been advised publicly as well as privately to let this go. But there was just so much WRONG with the goings on, I don’t know where to begin.

The child in question was a 15-16 year old kid. Age of adulthood in California is eighteen. Don’t know about anywhere else. Hell, my opinion is that until you’re 25, you’re not quite an adult (yeah, some of my younger readers may bridle a bit, but when you’re 30, you’ll understand the statement. Hell, I’d have problems with it at 24).
Let’s just stipulate that under 18 is a bad idea.

I’ve been getting into some tussles with my own ‘brethren’ lately. “Hey, whose side are you on?” Trust me you, I’m on YOUR side. My actions do have a reason. There is method to my madness.

So the debacle deepened, harsh words exchanged, getting more and more acrimonious by the post. Truthfully, I’m a little embarrassed at some of it. But only a little.

Sidebar: so I’m at the park, a little later on (2-3 days later), telling my buddy the maintenance guy the story, and he asked something that cut pretty much to the heart of the matter: “How did the girl respond?”

Exactly. In the midst of flying vitriol amongst us, she pipes up with, “Wow, you are a good man!”

And later on, with: “I’m sorry I made you guys fight.”

Truth be told, she behaved admirably throughout the whole fracas. Yeah, it was blog. Yeah, I may be reading too much into it. Yeah, no way to verify how old, boy or girl.

Cuts both ways, though. No way to know otherwise. So this one fella, he deluges the place with voluminous posts, occasionally stopping to snap at me, and not only throws instances of rape and incest (biblical) at the kid, but also child molestation (catholic). I tried to tell him, not a good I-de-a, but wasted effort.

Now, I wish I could say that I was clever enough to have arranged the whole thing, some sort of social experiment. Naw. It just happened.

So I took a hit for the community, and shut up after a while. Hey, not my sandbox: still a guest.

Here’s my biggest problem:

We complain about not getting equal time. We complain about not getting a seat at the table. We bitch and whine about fair treatment, about negative stereotypes, about being pre-judged as being immoral.

And then we savage stupid kids? Hey, troll’s a troll. Hell, I’ve gone after ‘em myself. As I said in one post, “I can hear ‘em now: they’re beating up on an xtian teenager down at the Nogodblog. Oh yeah, THAT helps the cause.” It’s an adult? Gloves are off. It’s a teenager who’s been asked to be polite, agrees, and is promptly attacked without mercy? Am I the only one who sees the inherent bullshit in that? If she’d come back with a bunch of ignorant tripe (and truthfully? She could’ve, had I not intervened on her behalf. We’ll never know now, shall we?), well, compact’s out the window.

But I broke a stereotype in one mind; I’d like to think. Maybe a couple of minds; I’m hoping.

Here’s my point:

We are representing, as atheists. Nobody gets respect unless it’s earned. I don’t go along with all that fuzzy feel-good nonsense about how we automatically get respect for existing. Just ain’t so: a romantic notion fraught with peril.

Now, I’m not saying go into total lockdown, no more sniping, no more battles royale with arrogant theists (hey, some of ‘em got it coming: not all of them, though). I’m not a complete wet blanket. And hey, I get spirited, I get sarcastic, I’m probably more bellicose than most.

I also flatter myself to think that I return courtesy with courtesy. I’m human, I fumble sometimes. Them’s the breaks.

But I also say: walk the way you talk. You, me, everybody.

And also:

Don’t fuck with other people’s kids. That’s going to land a world of hurt on somebody: the cause, your fellow atheists, yourself (do you really want to answer the knock at the door, and find two cops quizzing you about some remarks you made last night on a blog?) whatever image we’re trying to build, whatever stereotypes we’re trying to negate.

And hey, I don’t even want to hear about the freedom of speech thing. That’s not a carte blanche clause that says you can say any damn thing you want to. Before you respond to that, think: If you had a twelve year old kid, some adult approached him/her every day (or once a week, or hell, just once) and proposed some lewd, horrid thing to said kid, well then, let’s talk about freedom of speech then. Hey, the guy didn’t do anything, did he? That was an example only: you ken me drift, methinks.

Furthermore: if you’re an atheist, I’m an atheist; I think you’re doing the wrong thing, you don’t get a free pass.

Nobody does. Theist, atheist, agnostic. Not me, you, not anyone. Until the day comes that we’re treated better, that we viewed as equals, when the fruitcakes and nut jobs have dimmed their clamor to the point of being whispers, we need to show a little more restraint.

And that, dear readers, is my nickels worth. Spend it wisely, and well.

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23 comments:

Future Geek said...

Amen Brother! Sing it!

Screaming will get you nowhere. I imagine that little Christian kid now has a bad image of atheists and one more reason to follow her irrational faith.

If atheists claim to be persuaded by reason that God does not exist, its kind of dumb for them to be unreasonable and emotional when they argue.

Krystalline Apostate said...

FG:
I imagine that little Christian kid now has a bad image of atheists and one more reason to follow her irrational faith.
I was hoping perhaps otherwise.
You read that post rather quickly? Not mine, but the original thread?
If atheists claim to be persuaded by reason that God does not exist, its kind of dumb for them to be unreasonable and emotional when they argue.
Aye, but I cannot fault them always: I've done it myself on occasion (albeit not quite so...irrationally, I'd like to think).
We need to retrofit our image, I think, before we are taken seriously.

Deedee said...

I kind of briefly scanned through and got the general gist of the posts. I usually try not to participate in a lot of that stuff.

Maybe though, people will begin to understand that the only thing atheists as a group really have in common is the fact that they don't beleive in god. Personally, I get a lot of flak in the community for being pro-life, but I know better than to get into a debate over it.

We all tend to get irrational when we are upset. It just proves the point that RA believes what he's arguing about.

Has anyone else noticed that the most heated arguements within either atheist or christian communities all boil down to semantics?

Krystalline Apostate said...

deedee:
Thanks for your input.
Has anyone else noticed that the most heated arguements within either atheist or christian communities all boil down to semantics?
Ummm...I thought I was fighting over principles, not semantics.
It IS a valid point, though.

Telling someone they're using an argument from ignorance, sometimes gets interpeted as calling the arguer ignorant.

I thought I was fairly rational prior to the name-calling.

Future Geek said...

RA,

I commented on your post before I read the thread at NGB.

Now that I've read, I think that little Christian kid was trolling, and I'm not sure how polite I would have been either.

But I still think its better to be reasonable, whether you're dealing with a teenager or an adult.

Course I've been guilty of getting loud with folks I don't agree with.

Krystalline Apostate said...

FG:
I commented on your post before I read the thread at NGB.
I thought so. Yeah, started out as troll. I pointed that out 1st thing.

It's not going to be a popular opinion.

But I asked her to be polite, & surprise! She was.
Because I asked her to be.
Didja read the whole thing?

The automatic response for many will be, "She was a troll?!?! WTF?"

She began as 1.
That changed.

Future Geek said...

I just finished the entire, long, freakin thread. The part where DNA counted the characters in each post gave me a good deep belly laugh.

Yep. Somethin' wrong with that boy.

Krystalline Apostate said...

FG:
Ya think?
Sorry about the length of the thing. It was about a bloody movie, fer cryin' out loud.

Future Geek said...

Yep, and how long did the thread spend on that movie?

udonman said...

future geek it went to post 20 and then one of the children chimed in

i know i emailed you ra about dna's actions it was a sad display of character or lack therof on his part

beepbeepitsme said...

The interesting thing about being an atheist is that we do not share a common dogma. The only thing we share as a matter of default is the lack of belief in gods or god. So, something I have learnt is ~ there are theists who could make genghis khan look like a pansy and there are atheists who could make Torquemada look like a boy scout. That is: Belief or a lack of it is no guarantee of ethical or moral behaviour.

Krystalline Apostate said...

udonman:
i know i emailed you ra about dna's actions it was a sad display of character or lack therof on his part
Hey, you weren't the only 1, my friend. But it became about personalities, when I was trying to point out principles. My bad as well.
I got limits too. But: not my sandbox. Not really my place.
I see something wrong, I'm obliged to point it out, is all.

Krystalline Apostate said...

beepbeep:
I love your nick, BTW, and the picture is just a kick.
That is: Belief or a lack of it is no guarantee of ethical or moral behaviour.
Now there's a truism, if ever I heard one.
Still, overall, we've (as a whole) been pretty well-behaved for at least the last coupla decades, I think.

Mesoforte said...

RA

I can understand what you are saying, but I really can't condemn DNAunion. I know that I probably would have jumped on her if I had been first to reading the comments, but I don't think I would have done it the same as DNA. I probably would have been just as brutal though. Perhaps we can move on soon though.

Other than that, I just noticed something recently. Our old troll Tim has dissapeared from the boards. I haven't seen a post from him forever.

Deedee said...

RA:

Sorry, I guess I should've been more clear when i posted. I wasn't referring to that particular arguement, just in general.

Krystalline Apostate said...

MF:
I can understand what you are saying, but I really can't condemn DNAunion.
Hey, I've done similar things. I'm not condemning on a personal level. But you got that.
Ask 'em to be polite 1st, is all. They don't comply? Gloves are off.
I just urge a little restraint is all.
Perhaps we can move on soon though.
I pretty much have. I just wanted to make that point.
I haven't seen a post from him forever.
He's done that before. See, now there's a prime example.
I get the impression he tries to be polite, but fails miserably. As you know, I've gone after him in a big way as well.
No free passes.
He also seems to forget that debate is a 2 way street. But that's IMHO.

Krystalline Apostate said...

beepbeep:
I wasn't referring to that particular arguement, just in general.
I understood what you meant. No big whoop.
Nobody needs to walk on eggshells around me. I'm fairly thick-skinned (or I flatter myself to think so, ;)).

say no to christ said...

I know exactly what you are griping about Ra! Instead of using history, archaeology, anthropology and up to date education. They resort to negative personal insults.

How sad for the atheist community! They truly do not see the gifts that you or I have put out there for them to use in a positive way to disprove the bible or any god. Thus they could not have a positive impact on a young christian girl, who most likely needs it more then most. And they wonder why that partridge dude said atheists were bitter hateful people. From what I have seen from many atheists...he was right! They sit at their computers and spew nothing but negativity refusing to learn and out right ignoring history, archaeological evidence and natural animal behaviours.
They dont want to examine the root of the problem nor do they really want to find ways to fix the problem. They just want to sit behind their computers and bitch. I have very little patience for that kind of useless energy!

Thats how I see it. Nobody has to agree or like it.

say no to christ said...

Beepbeep said:" Belief or a lack of it is no guarantee of ethical or moral behaviour."


EXACTLY!! And it can not be fixed untill the root of the problem is recognized and religion is only a by product of the root problem as is corruption, greed and violence.

Krystalline Apostate said...

SNTC:
They just want to sit behind their computers and bitch.
Well, we as a species tend to be either A. Very productive, or
B. Very lazy.
The Homo Sapien is the creature of extremes.

say no to christ said...

so true Ra!

heathenz said...

Just ne thing to add, as a real-time observer.

I was unuware that you had a private conversation with the junior xian troll, until some time after the bickering started. In other words RA had information that was unavailable, or not obvious, to the rest of the participants.

Just an observation

Krystalline Apostate said...

HZ:
Thank you for that, sir.
And while I did qualify it a bit, I should've extrapolated further.