My original purpose for coming on to TA was to network and create friendships. I live in a very conservative state where you can tell the believers from the non believers. The believers here always wear crosses around their necks and their cars are loaded with bumper stickers such as "Jesus Saves" and "Filled with the Holy Spirit". My car, and my neck are rather empty, though, aside from a small laughing Buddha on my dash. I have attempted making friends here, and it's just not happening. There are no local atheist groups, and I am pretty sure that either I'm the only atheist not afraid to talk about my beliefs in public, or I'm the only atheist here, period.
My original reasoning behind my joining this website was to hopefully find people who thought rationally without judging so quickly, but I was really quite wrong. I have encountered a few friendly folks on here, but have mainly encountered either atheists whose egos were the size of Uranus (no pun intended) or secretive christians lurking in the shadows, waiting to attack me left and right publicly and privately. I have been constantly poked and prodded for absolutely silly answers, as if I have to constantly defend what I say, and prove whether or not I am telling the truth. I have been sadly disappointed at an attempt to simply make friendships. I only have a few things that I shall say:
1. To admit that one "does not know" an answer is not a sign of weakness, but it is simply an opportunity for one to eventually be educated.
2. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, but that doesn't mean you should shove it in everyone's face.
3. If you believe that the way to get someone to trust what you believe, is by mocking someone and telling them that they are wrong, then you are the one who is wrong. Being humble is a part of being wise, and you will most certainly not appear wise by claiming that your way is the right way, period.
4. Christians are hurting people, just like many of us have been in the past. I surely hope you meet every Christian with loving-kindness and understanding that many of them have survived abusive situations (as I had, in the past) and yet still remain in them because of a fear of the invisible and fictional realm, "hell".
I still wish to make connections with atheists, because I am quite lonely and have not had the opportunity for rational and intellectual conversations in close to 3 years now. If any of you wish to add me on Facebook and wish to have the same connection (intellectual, but not arrogant conversations), you may do so at Personal Info removed -Admin
I sincerely hope for the best for each and every one of you on TA. I will end with the words of Mr. Einstein,
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
― Albert Einstein
But...but...but...I love Bobbie. :D
Dr. Bob does seem primarily interested in argument rather than discussion.
I'm not sure I know the standard definition of troll any more, but my feeling is that it's someone who intentionally hijacks a thread off track or into an abyss by soliciting (or pandering to) nonconstructive or unnecessarily emotional responses. Sometimes I have to skim over pages at a time to find the main topic again.
However, even when a topic seems to have been sucked permanently into a pungent quicksand of decomposing lifeforms, there's always that tiny hope that one of our heroes can toss in a rope for rescue. Or maybe just gracefully yell "fire in the hole, run for your lives!" and throw in one last stick of precious, emergency dynamite.
Thread moderation by grenade. Interesting concept.
Sometimes I have to skim over pages at a time to find the main topic again.
A natural discussion is an organic thing. Like a tree growing new branches.
I think it's when they start growing thorny vines is when he starts skipping.
How am I ever going to have my biases confirmed when this site is made up of Atheists from different parts of the world with all their different opinions and views!! I said something once and had it shot down in flames. After thinking about it I changed my mind and discovered something new. Nobody seemed to care.
If only we all agreed with each other and held similar beliefs. Then I would not have to worry about thinking critically or using reason to advance my understanding of the world. If only I had known that when I made the lifestyle choice to be an Atheist then I would not have to think like one!!
Micah I don't know whether any of the things we are saying here will make you reconsider. That said, I haven't followed the conversations where you have been ill treated and as such can't say anything about them. As someone else has said already, I don't think you came here expecting to meet a group of yesses to everything you say. Atheists are first and foremost people some are nice some aren't. Some sugarcoat words, others have no such luxury. To leave because of such is unfortunate.
I have been here quite a while now, but my experience generally is that it consists of such a fairly nice group of people.
I hope you find a better online community and you could invite us to join.