A Rarity...On occasion I'll crack. (But I'm curious if there is a trend among atheists. Are more of us "cracking"?)

It's a rare, rare occasion that I will engage in any form of "debate" (I use the word loosely, considering, well...you know) with strangers who are of fundy persuasion. Yesterday, one of my childhood friends (with whom I am Facebook friends--cliche, I know) posted a religiously-natured Facebook status update in the form of a question. I didn't automaticaly comment what I really wanted to write, but I asked if the question was rhetorical, or if comments were welcome. Although she was gracious and said that I could comment; in the same sentence, she also wrote that she guessed that the question she posted could be either rhetorical or for discussion. Out of respect, I wanted to know her original intent, so that I could decide if I was going to withhold my comment, or let it all hang out. (thoughtfully and respectfully. Cuz that's how I roll). I never got an answer, so I did not comment. Welp, another person decided that it was just killing her that I wouldn't comment on the status, and she came to a conclusion about me based on absolutely nothing, except my request of my friend to clarify the intent of her question. Seriously...that's it!!! This is her comment...and then my response. (Only one other comment after this was posted from another person:"Wow".)

"‎@Andrea, I feel sorry for you, how sad to be that bound up b legalism. I will pray to the God who answers prayer to reveal truth to you. "

‎"@Jennie: Astounding! You feel sorry for me?! How can you possibly make any judgement about me whatsoever, based on the above conversation? It's quite presumptuous, not to mention rude. For good measure, Jennie, please feel free to also sacrifice a chicken or goat (whichever would please your god more), do a rain dance, light some incense, chant, engage in flagellation, bow five times a day toward Mecca, audit, channel, and cast a spell for me. It's all superstition to me...Now you can legitimately make somewhat of a judgement on my perspective, since I have actually given you something to go on. I'm not sad in the least, since I can say that I'm not delusional...which I am now presuming you to be, based on what you just gave me to go on by your comment.

Any response I would have made on Jeannie's status would have been thoughtful, even though I wouldn't have been in agreement. I am respectful to those who are also respectful--as I know Jeannie to be. You made a choice to make this personal; which necessitated my reply to you to be the same.

Oh, and you might want to stop telling God what to do...doesn't he have his own plans, which would make your prayers useless anyway? Do you think he'll change his already mapped out plans because of your requests?"

So, I'm wondering what the trend is for other atheists? Are there many who actually fish for this kind of exchange, ignore this kind of shit for the most part, and then ultimately crack; or just avoid it entirely?

Views: 59

Comment by Ryan E. Hoffman on October 28, 2010 at 5:18pm
I would like to see the original rhetorical question and what you asked.

A better response might be, "Why?" And let her dig herself into a deeper hole. If what you did is cracking, I crack all the time, even with moderates. I'm a fairly quarrelsome fellow.
Comment by Jason Paisley on October 28, 2010 at 6:01pm
I snapped once. Someone had posted the classic "God will never give you more than you can handle."

My reply "Well i guess that means all suicides are accidental."
Comment by Kim on October 28, 2010 at 6:11pm
@Neal LMAO! My thoughts exactly. I suspect "King Nipple" could learn quite a bit from teenagers, atheist or otherwise.
Comment by Andrea Steele on October 28, 2010 at 6:15pm
@Jesus Sojourner: "slightly cruel" Love it! I get exactly what you mean by that.
@zoolady: Thanks for that. :) Obviously, not all Fundies are literally masochistic, but they surely have to be masochistic on some subconcious level! I suspect a perpetual grimace on the inside. :P
@Brian: When it comes to my own FB Wall, I have not problem weaving poignant (yet often piercing) replies to whomever actually comments to the contrary of my status, notes or links that I choose to post. It wasn't until about, maybe, 5 months ago did my Christian-to-atheist scale of FB friends tilt to heathen. To my knowledge I haven't been unfriended, but it is surely known that an ill-thought-out comment will receive my rebuttle...family is not exempt. (To be honest, I get nervous when family members comment, because they are not only subject to my reply, but also to those of my FB friends who are in the aforementioned heathen camp. I seriously shouldn't be nervous, because they are always cordial.) Anyway, Brian, I agree with you that when we say what we feel, people might think about the things going forward.
@Becky: Fuck 'em indeed, Becky...Fuck 'em indeed.
Comment by Kim on October 28, 2010 at 6:45pm
I've popped off a few times.

I remember last year around this time, I was at lunch reading my latest book, Richard Dawkins' "The Greatest Show on Earth," and a co-worker snatched my book up and looked at it. I glared at him with a smile that suggested that I didn't exactly appreciate his rudeness and held out my hand for my book. After examining the book, he said, "All that's trying to do is show that there is no god," and handed it back to me. I was outraged at this point, but I calmly opened my book and said, quite evenly despite my blood boiling at his insolence, "There is no god."

Interestingly enough, this later inspired a conversation between him and me; he addresses me much more respectfully now.
Comment by David Perry on October 28, 2010 at 7:01pm
You can't get involved in anything resembling a reasoned debate with these people. They begin from a totally different frame of reference.
If I find myself sufficiently irked by some theist idiocy I encounter(which usually happens to be on Facebook), a short pointed quip works well enough. They aren't worth more effort than that.
Comment by Andrea Steele on October 28, 2010 at 7:16pm
@Ryan E. Hoffman: My FB Newsfeed is a roulette wheel, and when my Christian friends post things that are religious, it is almost never in the form of a question. I happened to be on break at the time my friend updated her status...which was religious in nature and in the form of a question. It seemed too good to be true, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to respond...Per your request, here is the exchange leading up to what I have already included in my blog post:
THE STATUS: "Do you believe in prayer or God who answers prayer?"
My FB friend's comment, which she posted at the same time I was typing my question to her: "There is a difference."
Andrea Steele: "Is this a rhetorical question?"
Jennie: "I believe in the God who answers prayer."
(Growing impatient for an answer...)Andrea Steele: "I genuinely would like to know if this is a question for which comments are welcome."
My FB friend:"@Andrea, Hi Girl, How are ya? I don't mind if you comment. I guess it could go rhetorical or discussion."
Andrea Steele:"@Jeannie: Pretty good. :) Your status as it stands gives the impression of discussion, but your first comment (which was added at the exact time I was typing my comment) makes it rhetorical. :) I don't like to comment on such things unless I'm sure it's welcome. ...If u pick the one you intended, I'll know for sure. ;-) (((hugs)))" (--lame of me. I know.)
Jennie: "Gosh, Andrea, obviously you have something to say and should just say it. FB isn't a place to get offended if someone posts something in response to a rhetorical question. Jeannie posted it for a reason, most likely to get those of us who believe in the God who answers prayer to think about when and why we pray. Power doesn't come from the act of praying in itself, it comes from the obedience to pray to the one who has the power to direct our lives. He wants to be a part of our lives day in and day out, not just when we think to pray or feel it's the last resort. God is the God of relationship, and it is formost what He desires from His people."
Andrea Steele:"@Jennie: Rhetorical questions are not meant for response."
Jennie: "‎@Andrea, Usually not, but, Jeannie has said she is open for comment and there is obviously something you want to say, or you would have let it go with the first comment."
Andrea Steele:"@Jennie: Of course there is something I want to say. Even though Jeannie wrote that she welcomes my comment; if her original intent was meant as rhetorical (not meant to be answered...no "usually" in the definition); then it was not addressed to everyone, but to those who hold the same beliefs, as you mentioned. :) Because of this factor I will refrain from commenting."
Comment by Jason Paisley on November 2, 2010 at 5:09pm
When a fundamentalist snaps and declares they no longer want to discuss it means that you're getting to them. That's a small win.


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