Hello all. I've been a member here for a few months, but I never really introduced myself aside from a few blog comments, so I might as well take the opportunity to say hi right now.

But in any case, some recent events have led me to conclude that whatever hope I had for the enlightening power of the internet is severely misplaced. And no, it wasn't Youtube this time that did it.

I was on facebook earlier tonight, checking through my various notifications, when I noticed an invitation to vote in a poll titled "Is faith in Jesus Christ the only path to Heaven?" The answer to which was, of course, no; there is no path to an imaginary place.

So, after voting, I decided (silly, silly, stupid me) to look over the comments to see what my fellow enlightened humanoids thought about the subject. I know, I'm an idiot, right?

I skimmed the page, skipping over the almost immediate regurgitated bible verses, and noticed one saying something along the lines of taking the Bible as a historical document. I though responding to this was harmless enough, and replied refuting its status.

Fifteen minutes later, I had replied to about five other comments, working my way through several invocations of blind faith, three calls of Pascal's Wager, and one Cosmological argument. The last of these, I didn't mind addressing, but the others just made me feel a little bit sick.

The point of this blog, I suppose, is this: Why in the world do we continue to do this to ourselves? I can't help but feeling that every one of us knows by now that debating a theist on the internet is like trying to arm wrestle a brick wall: It's nearly impossible to push over, and even if you do, it just ends up falling on top of you.

Is there perhaps some perverse, masochistic pleasure that I get out of engaging in the futile? What gives you all hope for the cause?

Views: 45

Comment by Reggie on December 22, 2009 at 9:39pm
Somebody Wrong on the Internet Syndrome (SWIS) afflicts many internet users, myself included.

Personally, I try to never argue with someone with the purpose of changing their mind. That rarely ever happens, at least no right away or so that you'll ever know about it. I'll engage in debate for three reasons:

1) Testing the mettle of my argument. Not only do I get to practice my arguments against different types of foes without pissing people off in real life, but I also get to see how my arguments stand up. If someone has a convincing argument, then I certainly will consider it. In the end, I want to be sure that I am right and debating people is a good way to do it, after a fashion.

Now, one caveat to this is, there are a certain type of people that there is no use arguing with or debating. After awhile, I have learned how to recognize these people rather quickly, saving myself time for better debates that may teach me something or change my perspective.

2) Lurkers. People are notorious for going along with the crowd. In some situations, it is a good thing to voice dissent as long as it is backed up with reason and evidence. The person you may convince may be someone you never knew was there. I really feel that if I, along with other atheists, are not open about the whats and the whys of atheism, we leave it to theists to turn it (again) into a pejorative and a much maligned position.

3) Some people don't like the confrontation. Whether they are timid, or they can't speak their mind for fear of losing a job or family support, or whatever the case may be. I am in a position where I can speak my mind on such issues without fear of serious reprisal. While some of these people hate that I do speak my mind (like the Accommodationists), others do appreciate that someone is speaking up for things that they themselves do not or can not.

Good to see you post a blog, John. I have seen you pop in from time to time.
Comment by Gaytor on December 23, 2009 at 12:47am
Also guilty. I agree largely with Reggie. I do it hoping that other fencers can see the two sides of the coin and judge it that way. It's also personal entertainment.
Comment by Reggie on December 23, 2009 at 12:09pm
Most dont even want to hear any dissenting views at all.

No sense in trying to rationize with certain people. Belief easily overrides facts and reason.
Comment by John Nguyen on December 23, 2009 at 5:37pm
Sort of like Poe's Law. Even if you know that it's a farce, it's still worth refuting it because there's still probably someone who actually believes it.


You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

© 2020   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service