This Guy’s Mad That Atheists on Twitter Tweet About Atheism

Daily Telegraph blogger Tim Stanley has a big problem with “atheist trolls” on Twitter.

And by atheist trolls, he really just means atheists.

Because they hurt his feelings when they say mean things about religion:

Tim Stanley

… it’s still amazing how people feel that they can casually mock the spiritual and emotional convictions of others — including Tweeting directly at believers that God doesn’t exist and they’re either liars or idiots for saying so. One man who does this with gay abandon is Richard Dawkins… A recent Tweet that caused a stir: “Don’t ask God to cure cancer & world poverty. He’s too busy finding you a parking space & fixing the weather for your barbecue.” Hilarious. Or on Islam: “Mehdi Hasan admits to believing Muhamed flew to heaven on a winged horse. And New Statesman sees fit to print him as a serious journalist.”

Just to be clear, Dawkins either sends tweets to his followers or responds to people who say something directly to him. He’s not just finding random religious people on Twitter for the purpose of picking on them. (Stanley even acknowledges this.)

So what exactly is the problem…? It’s like being mad at the Pope for tweeting about Catholicism.

Those tweets of Dawkins strike me as pretty amusing while making simple, honest points.

Stanley later explains why he’s so offended:

When you’re trying to convince me in 140 characters of sub-GCSE philosophical abuse that God doesn’t exist, you’re trying to take away the faith that gets me up in the morning, gets me through the day and helps me sleep at night. You’re ridiculing a God without whom I suspect I might not even be alive, and a God that I prayed to when my mother was going through cancer therapy. You’re knocking a Church that provides me with compassion and friendship without asking for anything in return — perhaps the greatest, most wonderful discovery of my adult life. You see, people don’t generally believe in God for reasons of convenience or intellectual laziness. It’s usually fulfilling a deep need — filling a soul with love that might otherwise be quite empty and alone. In short, when you try to destroy someone’s faith you’re not being a brilliant logician. You’re being a jerk.

In other words, Dawkins is challenging his faith and Stanley doesn’t like that. So he’s calling Dawkins a bully.

Here’s the difference between Stanley and Dawkins: Stanley wants to live in a fantasy world that comforts him. Dawkins wants to live in the real world even if that requires accepting some uncomfortable truths (like the fact that no one is watching over you).

Of course, Stanley could just stop following people who don’t agree with his superstitions, but why do that when you can complain about the mean atheists who poke holes in your faith?

It’s not “offensive” to call out bullshit. If you don’t like people mocking your beliefs, then stop holding silly beliefs. And if your faith is getting knocked around by pithy remarks on Twitter, maybe it was never very strong to begin with.

There is such a thing as trolling and bullying on Twitter. This isn’t it. This isn’t even close.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Susana Paço

    another theist throwing a temper tantrum (remember the “born again” part?) while not understanding how the internet works…..amusing. Looks exactly like the kids that become angry after their parents reveal them that santa doesn’t exist. However, kids grow up, born again christians remain crying babies all their lives.

  • Devi Taylor

    “And if your faith is getting knocked around by pithy remarks on Twitter, maybe it was never very strong to begin with.”

    This is so true. I’ve always believed that if you are strong in your faith then small things like this wouldn’t bother you.

    Following someone on Twitter and then complaining about their tweets is like drinking a cup of bleach everyday and complaining about dying from it. It just makes no sense.

  • Tel

    I hate the Telegraph. Whenever Stanley tweets about it, he’s offending me — it doesn’t matter that he works for the Telegraph and that I could look away. He’s interrupting my lovely Telegraph-free days. Asshole.

    (I don’t actually hate the Telegraph — this would have worked better with the Daily Mail — but I wanted to make a point.)

  • Martinrc

    My response to Mr. Stanley’s tweets and articles follow:

    “When you’re trying to convince me in 140 characters of sub-GCSE philosophical abuse that God exists, you’re trying to take away the reality that gets me up in the morning, gets me through the day and helps me sleep at night. You’re ridiculing a reality without which I know I would not even be alive, and a reality that I accepted to when my mother was going through cancer therapy. You’re knocking a universe where I find compassion and friendship without asking for anything in return — perhaps the greatest, most wonderful discovery of my adult life. You see, people don’t generally believe in reality for reasons of convenience or intellectual laziness or because they were taught WHAT to believe at a young age by people they trust instead of how to form their own conclusions. It’s usually fulfilling a deep need — filling a soul with knowledge that might otherwise be quite empty and alone. In short, when you try to deny reality you’re not being a brilliant logician. You’re being a jerk.”

    And yes my mother went through cancer therapy twice.

  • Dirk

    Was God himself performing the cancer therapy? If not, why or why not?

  • suzeb1964

    If we cannot mock Tim Stanley’s religion, can we at least mock his fashion sense? Or, would that make us bullies too?

  • C Peterson

    That’s a stupid reason to hate atheist tweets. A much better reason is because little does such an effective job of making an intelligent person look like an idiot than using Twitter.

    Dawkins has said many brilliant things. But all it takes is a review of his tweets to make him look pretty inane. I’d think those who have problems with atheists should love their tweets, since they take so much of the intellectual steam out of things.

  • Jeff

    You don’t have a right not to be offended.

  • Pherd

    I wonder how he’d react to someone declaring that [Mr. Stanley's favorite movie] was a rubbish movie, and not worth watching?

  • Fairy Tales r Tales

    I still find it odd that God seems to help athletes at crucial times in a game,but he was out to lunch when the Newtown massacre occurred..?

  • Regina Carol Moore

    So no one is ever allowed to say anything that might offend anyone ever? Shall we all stop talking and communicating now?

  • Fairy Tales r Tales

    “……………..don’t generally believe in God for reasons of convenience or intellectual laziness.”…… Really ? It is a Bizzaro world !! Isn’t it opposite ?

  • Independent Thinker

    So he’s mad because… he HAS to believe his beliefs are true. Anyone want to play ‘Spot the Fallacy?’

  • mrquetiapine

    “Here’s the difference between Stanley and Dawkins: Stanley wants to live in a fantasy world that comforts him. Dawkins wants to live in the real world even if that requires accepting some uncomfortable truths (like the fact that no one is watching over you)”

    Real world? Try reading some Descartes. The only truth is that if you are thinking than you must exist. Everything else is faith.
    Isn’t your conscience watching you?

  • A3Kr0n

    How can you not take Tim seriously with such an awesome tie?

  • GloomCookie613

    Quick! Somebody dial 999! I think Mr. Stanley needs a whaaaabulance!

  • Spuddie

    I am still waiting for an athlete to declare, “I’d like to thank Satan for this win”.

  • Jim

    Coffee gets me up in the morning, coffee gets me through the day, and coffee crashes help me sleep at night. I also suspect that without coffee, I wouldn’t be alive.

    So yeah, my brewed beverage = his god.

  • Gus Snarp

    You’re knocking a Church that provides me with compassion and friendship without asking for anything in return

    I question his assertion that it doesn’t ask anything in return.

    Don’t ask God to cure cancer & world poverty. He’s too busy finding you a parking space & fixing the weather for your barbecue.

    He’s mad about that? He calls that “bullying”? A mild, humorous tweet mocking behavior that I’m sure even some Christians would find humor in mocking? A tweet that he has to go on Twitter and follow Dawkins to see? If tweets that insult your religion are so painful and offensive and doubt sewing to you, then maybe you ought to just stop following those people on Twitter. That was the most idiotic thing I’ve read today.

  • Gus Snarp

    I’m trying to figure out if the picture was taken in 1983.

  • Gus Snarp

    I started to read the source article, but when I got to this:

    So this gives me an opportunity to flag up a particular kind of abuse that’s annoyed me for a long time: aggressive online atheism. Don’t get me wrong: this is in no way comparable to the terrible sexual abuse that has recently gained headlines.

    I stopped reading, because it seemed like that ought to be the end of it.

  • DesertSun59

    Tim Stanly is like nearly all other religionists. He’s unsure of reality. He doesn’t know the definition of troll. That’s why he used it incorrectly.

  • PP

    His mindset is from 83AD

  • Miss_Beara

    God really wants his favorite sports teams to win, which is all of them. He can’t be everywhere at on- oh, he is suppose to be. Well, he can’t know everything that is hap- oh, he is suppose to know that too. Erm… GO TEAM!

  • Miss_Beara

    His twitter response:

    Tim Stanley ‏@timothy_stanley 16m

    To all those tweeting furiously at me, I’m not challenged or angered by your tweets. I feel deep compassion for you. You’re in my prayers

    I shall translate this: I am putting my fingers in my ears, saying LA LA LA really loudly and going to talk down to you because of Jesus.

  • Guest

    I’m offended by that outfit he’s wearing. I guess it was slim pickins’ at the 2nd hand store the day he bought that get up. And does anyone really give a flying fu– about anything that people say on TWITter?

  • Holytape

    Of course it is worse to offend God in a 140 characters, than it is to obey God and deny the civil rights to homosexuals, women and people of other faiths.

    It makes perfect sense to me, in the same way as having doritos locos tacos and Reese’s puff cereal as the cornerstones to a health well-rounded diet.

  • Miss_Beara

    They don’t know the definitions of persecution and bullying. To them, not getting your way is persecution and humorous comment about the ridiculousness of religion is bullying.

    Ummm… no.

  • The Other Weirdo

    …you’re trying to take away the faith that gets me up in the morning, gets me through the day and helps me sleep at night…

    If that’s all that gets you through the day, you have my pity. But, that’s all you get. I won’t agree to not talk about something that matters to me merely because it makes you uncomfortable.

  • Glasofruix

    Same when people think their god needs them to defend him against people who dare to disagree. That’s a week ass god you have there buddy.

  • Tainda

    According to a few commentors on this blog, yes lol

  • Karl Goldsmith

    Why does he sound like someone you would find sitting in the corner, hugging himself and crying while rocking back and forward.

  • busterggi

    Because w/o his imaginary friend that is exactly what he would be doing.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Incoming ad hominem alert: “He has a Herb Tarlekesque sense of style, therefore his argument is invalid.”

  • busterggi

    That is almost enough to make me want to get into shape & go out for some sport. At my age and weight it would take a real Satan’s help for that to happen.

  • Gus Snarp

    Sadly, I expect he’s probably getting a little taste of what bullying on Twitter actually looks like now. It’s not the way anyone should have to learn that lesson, and I doubt he’ll actually learn it anyway.

  • eric

    You’re knocking a Church that provides me with compassion and friendship without asking for anything in return

    Really? REALLY? They don’t take a collection up at your church, Mr. Stanley? Your sect doesn’t ask for an hour or two a week?
    He can’t be that naive. I’m guessing what this phrase indicates is that he didn’t think critically about what he was writing.

  • Gus Snarp

    That might be funny, but I’d prefer: I’d like to thank the nutritionists and trainers, all the scientists studying human performance, the doctors who helped me with injuries, and the engineers who built the training equipment that made this possible.

  • HQ
  • Beth

    Okay, let’s not bash his religion…lets bash his tie and jacket combo…

  • Holytape

    Little known truth is that Descartes, Jr, who grew up very much respecting his father, had no faith in the horse and carriage. Until one day, while he crossed the street, he found out that the horse and carriage exist whether he had faith or not.

  • Tainda

    I thought the same thing!

    I miss that show

  • rwlawoffice

    “Here’s the difference between Stanley and Dawkins: Stanley wants to live
    in a fantasy world that comforts him. Dawkins wants to live in the real
    world even if that requires accepting some uncomfortable truths (like
    the fact that no one is watching over you).”

    What horrific logic in that comment. You are simply saying that Stanley is wrong because you agree with Dawkins. Stanley is correct – Dawkins and other like him are mocking people of faith. Saying he is wrong and how it is “different” doesn’t work when are you are really doing is trying to justify them being a jerk because you are a fellow atheist and you happen to agree with the mocker.

  • flyb

    I had no idea that Ikea sold ties.

  • koseighty

    “You’re knocking a Church that provides me with compassion and friendship without asking for anything in return …”

    Of course they are asking for something in return. They are asking you to believe in their invisible sky fairy AND they are asking you to reinforce their belief in that invisible sky fairy.

    Try this: Announce to your church that your are in fact an atheist that you don’t believe a word of their dogma, but you really enjoy the fellowship and community the church gives you. See how much not “asking for anything in return” they do then.

  • b s

    Descartes before the horse?

  • Holytape

    Descartes under the horse.

  • KeithCollyer

    what they really mean is “thank you god for making everyone else lose”

  • Spuddie

    “I’d like to thank my parents, my coach, oh and Hail Satan”

  • Gus Snarp

    Read it again. You’re wrong about the logic because you’re wrong about the argument. It’s not saying that at all.

  • Gus Snarp

    Coffee exists. Therefore my brewed beverage > his god.

  • BobaFuct

    “Of course they are asking for something in return. They are asking you to believe in their invisible sky fairy AND they are asking you to reinforce their belief in that invisible sky fairy.”

    Don’t forget they want that first 10% of your paycheck, too.

  • John Alexander Harman

    Very few things worth saying can be said in 140 characters or less. Or, to put it another way, any philosophy that can be put in a nutshell probably belongs there.

  • baal

    RW, if Stanley was granted what he wanted, atheists would have no freedom of speech. Mere statement, “I AM AN ATHEIST” (shouted or not) is considered offensive. To make Stanley happy, we’d need to go back in the closet under fear of Saudi style blasphemy laws. That’s an insane standard to apply. How do atheists exist, tweet our positions (much like the pope tweets or you do), and not offend the Stanleys?

  • MartinRC

    83CE. No need to cave into his temper tantrum by following a religious dating scheme.

  • baal

    They also seem flatly incapable of understanding irony or projection.

  • Christian Petersen

    He needs to find a better reason to get up in the morning. You know I get up so I can go to work and provide for my family. I do it because I care about their wellbeing and I want to have a stable, comfortable life. I find happyness in knowing that I make my mark each day in others’ lives and that I am able to help my friends and family achieve their goals. I do this all without having to ask thin air to help make these things happen or to bless my day with it’s mysterious fate myst.

    If you need religion and church to improve your life, or help you through tough times, then I fully support that. Just don’t tell me I’m doing it wrong because I am succeeding without it.

  • LesterBallard

    Oh, well, you know, fuck Tim Stanley and his feelings.

  • Matthew Baker

    He has clearly been sold the virtue of unvirtuous things. Faith is not a virtue it is a crutch.

  • rwlawoffice

    No need to be quiet. Say what you want. However, when people point out that you are being a jerk by mocking their faith, don’t try to hide behind the “yes but you believe in something that doesn’t exist so I can mock you” argument.

  • Mario Strada

    Why does he follow Dawkins? I don’t follow dawkins (mostly because I am rarely on twitter) and I am consequently sheltered by Dawkins twits.

  • rwlawoffice

    Actually I believe I am correct. The statements following that say “its not offensive to point out bullshit” proves my point. In other words, Dawkins isn’t being a jerk because Hemant agrees with Dawkins.

  • NG

    I loved that show, too. They even taught science in one episode. Once I was arguing with someone at work and she said I couldn’t step over an invisible line in her cubicle so I said, “I didn’t, Les Nessman.” She had no idea what I was talking about.

  • baal

    Sometimes being mocked it being a jerk, other times the ‘victim’ is whinging about a non-thing. It would take case by cases analysis. Again RW, address my argument from impact – what if we made Stanley happy, what would that world look like?

    Also, tweets!!! I don’t read them for a reason. If you don’t like them, don’t go there. If you think other people shouldn’t see mocking of christianity in tweets…find something harmful about them that’s a cognizable complaint.

  • Gus Snarp

    So what, you just accidentally copy and pasted the wrong quote then? One that has nothing to do with what you’re claiming? And said the horrific logic is in the comment you quoted, when it’s not there at all?

  • Tainda

    That’s just sad!

    I make a few of my co-workers knock on my invisible door :D In about a week or so I get a real office so it’s all good!

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    I think Stephen Fry works well here.

    “It’s now very common to hear people say “I’m rather offended by that”, as if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually no more than a whine. “I find that offensive”. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. “I’m offended by that”, well so fucking what.”

  • newavocation

    I wonder if Tim has reached a stage of doubting his faith which it troubling him now. Reality can be cold splash in the face.

  • His Shadow

    Never mind making fun of his easily debunked faith. I’m going straight to that article to mock that horrific tie.

  • GOD

    Don’t bring me into all this. I can’t be everywhere!

  • cipher

    He should be mad at the guy who sold him that jacket (then told him to combine it with that shirt and tie).

  • Mario Strada

    This is possibly the only case when I am sorry we cannot embed sounds in pictures.

  • Gus Snarp

    I hate this quote. Stephen Fry is smart, I really like him, and I understand why he might say this, and he manages to sound very erudite saying it, but he’s dead wrong and the quote is an utterly hollow assertion. Saying “I find that offensive” has an obvious meaning and purpose, it’s right there in the statement: they’re offended. Now you get to decide if you want to say “so fucking what”, or if you care about their feelings or want to know what’s seen as offensive in what you said.

    As far as Stanley is concerned, I read his comments, and I’m sorry he’s offended, but his being offended is not reason enough to stop criticizing powerful religious institutions that have serious effects on our politics based on irrational and unsupported ideas. So yeah, so fucking what.

    Now on the other hand, if I make an offhand comment about Stanley being retarded, and someone tells me that’s offensive, I can see why it’s offensive, and since I have disabled family members, I actually find that offensive, and I can change the way I talk about things, and that makes for better, more productive interactions.

  • David Kopp

    Stop liking what I don’t like!

  • David Kopp

    But it’s not some innate quality of being offended that leads you to your behavior change. It’s empathy. I could be offended that your last name is Snarp, but it doesn’t matter to any sane person, or in other words, “So fucking what?”. Offense should not be the end of the discussion, as it’s often meant to be. It’s simply the beginning of one, and quite often the end is “so fucking what.”

  • Satan

    “people don’t generally believe in God for reasons of convenience or intellectual laziness”

    That has got to be the most ironic thing I’ve ever read.

  • Gus Snarp

    Right, but it doesn’t make the very statement “I’m offended by that” meaningless. It’s sort of a bumper sticker quote, it’s an unfounded assertion that makes the person who happens to agree with it in the moment feel good, but it’s utterly without merit other than as a statement of how Stephen Fry felt at the moment, which is ironic since what he’s commenting on is a statement of how other people feel in a moment. And it’s Fry that’s saying something that ends the discussion. Someone saying they’re offended at least has the power to start one. “So fucking what” definitively does not.

  • David Kopp

    Your mind is so open that it seems your brain has fallen out. Read some more on this page, it might help you pick up the pieces better.

  • Melissa Lee

    “If you don’t like people mocking your beliefs, then stop holding silly beliefs.”

    sorry Hemant, but this type of bumper-sticker advice is both myopic and
    arrogant. Any thoughtful person knows that when it comes to people’s
    personal religious beliefs, it’s not that simple. Not by a long shot.

    course, you’re right, this Tim Stanley person should not seek out words to be offended
    by, but you have just demonstrated exactly the type of lack of
    understanding and uncharitability that contributes greatly to the
    negative Atheist public image.

  • David Kopp

    What kind of understanding are you proposing, Melissa? That we say “Oh, right… we should just not ever say anything about religion ever again for someone might be offended!”? Religion itself offends every part of my sensibilities, how dare HE talk about it at all!

    If you can’t weather a little mocking of your belief (and believe me, this is a little mocking, not a lot), perhaps you need to reexamine your beliefs.

  • Marisa Totten

    It seems to me that Stanley could get most of his needs fulfilled by joining a book club and bothering to get to know the other members. It’s possible to develop intimate ties to others without having anying to do with mythological beings. Been doing it all my life.

  • Oranje

    Yeah, but that outfit would have been great on Graham Chapman.

  • Oranje

    Wait, I don’t understand your analogy. What’s wrong with that diet?

  • Oranje

    It does have the feel of a rather off the cuff Andy Rooney rant, eh?

  • RobMcCune

    Look up Cartesian Circle some time.

  • UWIR

    It’s still dated from the purported birth of Jesus, whatever you call it. In some ways, CE is worse, since it pretends that Jesus is “common” to everyone.

  • UWIR

    I think you meant “doubt-sowing”.

  • UWIR

    No. Stanley objected to Dawkins’ statements merely on the basis of how the statements made him feel. He did not present any objection at all based on the assertion that Dawkins’ statements were false. Hence, the conclusion that Stanley values comfort, while Dawkins values truth.

    Also, even if the claim were “I am justified in making these assertions, because they are true”, how in the world would that be a flawed argument?

  • rwlawoffice

    Not at all. My interpretation of the quote I originally set out is supported by the additional language.

  • rwlawoffice

    Your question assumes that Stanley would only be happy if atheists were silenced. I do not take that from his complaint. The complaint is expressing the atheist point of view through mocking people of faith. So if that ceased, we might be able to have a conversation without the personal attacks.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    It works if expanded a bit, such as “If you don’t like people mocking your beliefs, then stop sharing them, which is an implicit request for feedback.” But yeah, the original version doesn’t altogether work because it implies that one should be mocked for merely having silly ideas.

    Of course, one doesn’t get mocked for ideas one doesn’t share*, and in that sense, the original DOES work. The problem then becomes more that the mocked are unable to logic.

    *The may be getting some secondhand mocking when others who share their silly beliefs speak out and endure OHNOES TWITTER RIDICULE, but the lack the aforementioned logic skills to realize that they’re getting upset at the wrong person when that happens.

  • rwlawoffice

    Stanley wrote that he was upset because Dawkins was ridiculing his God and because he was mocking his church that he holds dear. In my opinion that goes far beyond simply saying his feelings were hurt. Hemant’s response is not fact based. He is simply saying to Stanley that his beliefs have no basis in fact (because that is what Hemant believes), Dawkin’s beliefs are right so Dawkins wins. That is a flawed argument. He is simply repeating a criticism of Stanley’s faith in an effort to prove that he has no reason to complain when people criticize his faith.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    No mention of milkshakes.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    [insert unexamined 10th-grade Catholic school Apologetics class argument refuted by one Google search here], so shut up!

    Google also mocks my faith and should shut up.

  • randomfactor

    163 characters. Shouldn’t be hard to lose 23 of them.

  • randomfactor

    If God is offended, let him say so from his authenticated Twitter account.

  • Lauryn

    Awwww first world problems. And I may just be quibbling but, “most wonderful discovery of my adult life.” This guy has said before that he was raised Baptist and converted to Roman Catholic. So hopping from one form of Christian bandwagon to another is not -really- a discovery is it?

  • Crystal Bandy Thomas

    It’s very much about the 10%

  • UWIR

    You can have all the “opinions” you want, that doesn’t change the fact that Stanley didn’t present truth as being one of his concerns, and being upset because someone is mocking something you hold dear sure sounds like your feelings are hurt to me. What else is it?

    “He is simply saying to Stanley that his beliefs have no basis in fact (because that is what Hemant believes)”
    No, he is saying to Stanley that his beliefs have no basis in fact because Stanley presented no factual basis. Seriously, what part of that do you not understand?

    And, as I’ve already said, and you simply ignored, saying that there is valid criticism is a perfectly valid explanation for why it’s okay to criticize. Actually, there isn’t any need for any explanation at all, because “People have a right to criticize your claims” should go without saying, and it really says something about you that you disagree.

  • Don Gwinn

    You have the right to practice your faith in your own way as long as you don’t hurt anyone with it. You do NOT have the right to have the rest of the world play along and hide reality from you so you don’t have to have uncomfortable feelings.

    My trainer is fond of barking, “It’s OK to be UNCOMFORTABLE!”

  • Don Gwinn

    No wai i luv twttr u mad or wut bra???? #nailedit

  • George Gauthier

    What is the name and address of this church of his that apparently does not pass the collection plate?

  • George Gauthier

    I am waiting for the losing team to complain that god fixed the game in favor of the winner.

  • Rain

    “In short, when you try to destroy someone’s faith organized groups of secular humanists, funny how you’re not being a brilliant logician. You’re being a jerk Joe Klein.”

    There, fixed that for you…

  • Houndentenor

    Oh noze! Someone said something I don’t like on Twitter or Facebook! You can unfollow, unfriend and even completely block people. I had to do it to two old fraternity brothers in 2008 who posted racist things about the man who was about to become president. (One actually used the n-word.) People have a right to say what they want. That goes for everyone. They don’t have a right for me to read it and of course I have a right to criticize them for it. But when people call for censorship (which is what he’s doing here) I have to call foul. If people can be censored for criticizing religion then they can also be censored from promoting it. Idiots like this don’t understand that those free speech rights protect him too.

  • Without Malice

    And if God listened to prayers, why the need of cancer therapy?

  • Ryan Hite

    Don’t let their annoyances bother you. Obviously Atheists are more sure than Christians are .Clearly that is what the case is every… time.

  • jimmyt

    Another Homeschooler who has no idea of the real world

  • Jennifer Lovejoy

    I love when people come to my personal facebook page and tell me that I am offending them with my posts. I don’t comment on their posts about god or prayer, etc…on their personally page. If you don’t like what I have to say then unfriend me.
    This past weekend my group, WNC Humanists, had a booth at Bele Chere in Asheville, NC. 99% of the people who came by our booth were supportive but they were a few not so supportive.
    One lady grabbed at our VP’s 8 year old daughter’s arm to tell her Jesus loved her. Another member had a person grab his 16 year old son by his t-shirt and told he was going to hell just a little while after a street preacher called his 14 year old daughter a whore. Another one of our youth group members was hit by someone in the back of the head knocking his hat and glasses off. :( I would never think of spewing such hate at a fellow human. I was also saddened that it was the youth in our group that were the ones who faced these things.
    Funny thing was that the booth next to ours was a Baptist church. Throughout the festival we were nothing but kind. In fact, we offered to help break down their tent at the end of the festival. :)

  • NateW

    “It’s not “offensive” to call out bullshit.”

    Um… Well, that’s bullshit?

    If I’m “calling bullshit” for offensive reasons its offensive. If I am “calling bullshit” for my own personal gain or to point out another’s flaws in order to shame them and flaunt my superiority it’s offensive. If I treat the person that I’m calling out with the same scorn and bitterness that I accuse them of wielding agains others it’s offensive—and hypocritical.

    Don’t get me wrong. Calling bullshit certainly isn’t necessarily wrong (and I actually really agree with most atheist critiques of the shameful Christians, myself included, have treated others). It’s obvious that if you truly care about someone’s welfare then you will want to point out their self-destructive patters of behavior so that they can see themselves and make changes. Likewise, if you truly care about innocent victims you will be bound and determined to do what you must to prevent harm from coming to them.

    What I’m saying thought is that, when it comes down to it, you can do this in a spirit of love (goal=helping the other fulfill their potential) or in a spirit of shame (goal=convincing the other person that they are stupid or worse). There is a way of “calling bullshit” that will ultimately end the cycle of hurtful behavior (not offensive, though some may take offense anyway) and there is a way of going about it that feels good but in the end only perpetuates what you’re trying to put a stop to (offensive and harmful for all involved).

    The way that Gandhi and Martin Luther King chose was to place themselves between the oppressor and the oppressed, sacrificing themselves in the name of love. Others, (including people of every nation, race, tribe, and creed) have taken up the offensive weapons of coercive power, shame, violence, and abuse (whether physical or verbal) in the name of love.

    Everyone has to decide which it is: Unyielding resolve to love even when it means personal sacrifice, or unyielding resolve in protecting our own by shaming and scape-goating others.

    The love vs shame divide cuts far deeper than the religion vs no religion cut. There are Christians and atheists alike who fall on both sides of this cut. It’s a cut that divides every tribe, religion, nation, and family. It’s not about what version of God I believe in or don’t believe in, it’s about what kind of world I want there to be and what kind of power I believe is most able to effect true change in people and relationships. It’s about treating others in the same way I would want others to treat me. Would I rather be patiently loved despite not being right, or shamed for being wrong? Which is more powerful to effect change? Self-sacrifice or coercive and shaming language? Kind and gracious words or insults? Will I scape-goat and sacrifice others to ensure the survival of my own group and the perpetuation of my own cognitive constructs, or will I protect the foreigner and the outsider–those who see and think about the world differently than I do–even if it means standing against my own group?

    One way is difficult but leads to a better world for all, the other is much more comfortable in the short but only perpetuates what we hate.

  • murphium

    Will you, at least, send a press release to your followers and tell them that you can’t be everywhere? They think you can.

  • murphium

    I inserted an argument where you indicated and now I’m offended. You big blog bully.

  • DougI

    He’s so right. My math teacher corrected my errors on math problems. He was such a jerk for destroying my faith in what I thought was the correct answer. He should have respected my right to believe differently.

  • NiteInJail

    well said!!!

  • Brice Gilbert

    Really innocuous tweets for an atheist. If someone made their twitter feed a place to just respond to random people who profess their faith then yeah that would be annoying. Not the case here.

  • Esau Yakub

    This a particularly viscous attempt to limit free speech & Tim Stanley needs needs to be condemned for writing this offensive & abusive article. Who is tracking down Christians & trying to de-convert them? This is an exaggeration. Truly reprehensible

  • Artor

    I see, so you’re saying religious people can mock atheists all they want, but atheists should shut up, because mocking the religious is rude and uncivilized. Thanks for spelling that out.

  • Artor

    I can totally hear the “WHAAAaaaaa!!!” dopplering past me with that pic. Can’t you?

  • Artor

    You could insert an argument somewhere he DIDN’T indicate. That would show your offense pretty well.

  • Brian

    If your beliefs can not stand up to criticism and ridicule, then they are pretty flimsy beliefs to begin with.

  • Robster

    It would be good if people like this bloke were to just shut up and leave us alone. What a wanker, a gullible man saying silly things.

  • phantomreader42

    Well, remember that this is the stupid lying sack of shit who thinks that members of his cult (and ONLY his cult) can ignore any law they feel like, but he’s too much of a coward to actually admit that, or address the fact that it’s not true no matter how many times it’s pointed out to him.

  • phantomreader42

    Well, you believe a lot of stupid shit that’s factually wrong (like the magic invisible sky tyrant or that your delusions make you exempt from obeying the law), so it’s no surprise you’re wrong again.

  • jdm8

    “You’re knocking a Church that provides me with compassion and friendship without asking for anything in return ”

    No, they expect your allegiance and a portion of your wallet in return.

  • GloomCookie613

    “My parents deserve thanks. As well as my trainers, coaches, and friends. Oh! And shout-out to my buddy, Thor! Vallhalla, here we come!”

  • murphium

    That might be mistaken for the opposite of offense, depending on my facial expression.

  • Nik Marina

    You know who else “casually mock[s] the spiritual and emotional convictions of others”? Religious people. Not all of them, by any means, but there are plenty of religious people who routinely insult other religious or denominational beliefs. But if an atheist does it, oh noes! I’ve had far worse said to me about my religious beliefs by other religious people than I’ve ever heard from an atheist. If an atheist wants to mock my religion, go for it. And if Stanley really wants to see someone mock his religion, he should read a few Jack Chick tracts that discuss Catholicism.

  • GOD

    I tried to get a twitter account but another deity had already got one first using my name , so it wasn’t official. No wonder I’m losing followers!

  • Jan Kafka

    “Dawkins wants to live in the real world even if that requires accepting
    some uncomfortable truths (like the fact that no one is watching over

    No one other than the NSA, that is…

  • Jeff Levy

    Now we Got to love this

    {{you’re trying to take away the faith that gets me up in the morning, gets me through the day and helps me sleep at night.}}

    Stanley, it sounds like you are getting mad because your faith in this god is falling apart…. which is Awesome to stop believing in fairy tales….

    Hay Stanley Is your bible 100% what your God says or said IF so Please answer this one simple Question

    why does your God think that the Earth came before the Sun (Star)… ?
    How was there light on day 1 to day 3 before the Sun was ‘Created’ on day 4? How is the Moon a Great light source when in FACT it only reflects the sun’s Light…
    ok so there was 3 questions… but hay I got more just from Genesis I’ll do one more… Still I have more just from Genesis…

    Genesis 1; 29 why do you Christians Not eat Poison Ivy, hemlock, heck even just grass.. your god did say; {I give every green plant for food.} ….

    LET ME GUESS, I’m an Atheist and can’t understand and/or taking it out of it’s Context…

  • GCT

    Once again (all together now) mocking beliefs is not the same as mocking people. This is a religiously privileged argument that is used to tell atheists to STFU.

  • Mark O’Leary

    Aw hell, if you want comfort without regard to truth, just try heroin.

  • Gus Snarp

    Ugh. Typing is hard.

  • rwlawoffice

    This is just something that atheists say to give themselves the justification for being jerks.

  • Denis Theriault

    If only religion was ONLY silly. Unfortunately, it’s worse than silly, it’s dangerous, hurting, abusing and even killing people. On the other hand, there’s no such thing as an Atheist Spanish Inquisition or an Atheist Taliban suicide bomber.

  • rwlawoffice

    I am not saying that people who criticize should shut up. Of course you can. Just don’t claim that this is is not mocking the person who holds those beliefs when you do it.

  • rwlawoffice

    Not at all. Criticize all you want. Just don’t try to say you are not mocking the person who holds that belief when you are doing it.

  • rwlawoffice

    Never said that and you are lying when you claim I did.

  • baal

    “The complaint is expressing the atheist point of view through mocking people of faith.”

    My complaint is that any atheist point of view is taking by the Stanley’s of this world a mocking people of faith regardless of the content, context or tone of the atheist point of view. You all are on a hair trigger for offense for the mildest of statements so it beggars the imagination what’s left for conversation were Stanley kept happy.

    So even if we were perfect in everyway and never made what would be called a personal attack were it in another context (unreasonable standard), Stanley would still be made at the atheists tweets.

  • MD

    Or where was god when a bus plunged down a ravine killing 39 pilgrims in Italy? Or when a train derailed right before the feast of St. James and killed 79 people, many of whom were going to Galicia for the religious feasts?

  • Nathan Browett

    was that picture taken in the 80′s? Nice suit bra

  • Matt Fagan

    “So fucking what” is, technically, a question, and the offended party is more than welcome to answer it if they actually have a case for why you should care about their sense of feeling offended. “I’m offended by that” is usually code for “Stop doing whatever you do that offends me” even though it rarely is accompanied by a cogent argument. “So fucking what” has at least as much power to start a discussion as does a declaration of offense.

  • MD

    I have noticed that religious people like to talk AT people. But the moment I raise my hand and say, “I don’t agree,” I become an obnoxious bully.

  • Greg G.

    Nobody mocks his belief that 2 + 2 = 4. He wouldn’t be offended if they did because the other person would be the silly one. The reason he thinks his religion shouldn’t be mocked must be that he knows his religious beliefs are worthy of mockery.

  • BenFromCA

    Absolutely! Why do you think they pass the plate in full view of all the congregants, instead of making a private donation request? They’re counting on the fact that our natural, tribal reciprocation instincts will kick in and intimidate everyone into making a donation.

  • Sleeper_6

    Just wanted to point out that he said: “You’re knocking a Church that provides me with compassion and friendship without asking for anything in return…”

    What about money? They want your money in return. Church is a business that relies on the ability to evoke those emotions. As a good christian you are surely lacking in your duties as a believer if you do not return the blessing to the storehouse!

  • TrueSuperSand

    Nobody expects the Atheist Spanish Inquisition!

  • Sven2547

    Come back after taking Philosophy 101

  • murphium

    So, you made a vain attempt to take your own name?

  • Michaela Samuels

    Ah, more proof that our Christian rights and liberties are being stolen by this once moral, now godless, heathen society. Look at that rampant atheism touted and accepted by culture! The demise of humanity has never been nearer.

    Wait, that’s not the logical way to interpret these interactions? But I thought JESUS was the universal answer!

  • Spuddie

    You would think that should be a regular thing for football players in Minnesota. =)

  • GCT

    Except for the fact that you are attempting to hold religious beliefs as the only exemption. What you are, in effect, saying is that your beliefs are exempt from mockery because you say so. It’s your religious privilege. When the mockery is directed at non-religious ideas, you don’t care. When it’s directed at atheists, you don’t care. When it’s directed at other religionists that don’t believe what you do, you don’t care. It’s not about us being jerks, it’s about you being a jerk and claiming that you should have special rights and privileges that the rest of us don’t get.

  • TheG

    That assumes that “criticize” equals “mocking”. I think that my father’s belief in supply-side economics is foolish and short sighted. I think that Obama’s approach to the impending health care crash ignores certain statistically likely attributes of human nature. I believe that the push to invade Iraq by George Bush and his administration ultimately wrecked the economy.

    When I criticize these people and say that they are incorrect, it isn’t mocking them because I still have respect for the person and use respectful language when refuting their arguments.

    This guy is ranting not just against the possible (likely?) mocking that Dawkins does, but also any statement that might persuade him that his god does not exist.

  • TheG

    So… you’re mocking GCT right now just by disagreeing with him?


  • Guest

    Two wrongs don’t make a right, GCT.
    Just because someone else is mocking or ridiculing somebody for their beliefs (or lack of) doesn’t mean you have to. You can show some class by not lowering yourself to their level.
    You have clearly shown, with your posts, that you are no better than the theists you are describing. Shame on you (and anyone else commenting here who thinks that such behavior is justified).

  • Anna

    Gotta love the double standard! Christians like Tim can dish it out, but they can’t take it. They have no problem telling other people that their beliefs are wrong. They constantly proclaim that their religion is true and other worldviews are false, but they get all hurt and offended when the same thing is done to them.

  • √π

    I know this isn’t quite what you meant, but it was my first thought:

  • Observer

    If you read Descartes you certainly didn’t understand him at all.

  • phantomreader42

    No, you’re the liar as always. You whined that anti-gay bigots should be allowed to ignore laws against discrimination because the invisible man in the sky said so. There are only two ways you could believe that kind of idiocy. Either you think that ANYONE can ignore any law they feel like if they say god demands it, or you only want YOUR cult to be above the law. When the first option was pointed out to you, you whined and whined and whined and said that wasn’t what you meant. But when the second was brought up, you fled in terror and refused to answer the questions.

    Here are some of the questions you’re too much of a coward to answer:

    Is the fact that the government does not allow you to wantonly murder Wiccans without consequence “demanding that Christians engage in behavior that violate their religious beliefs” due to that bible verse about not suffering a witch to live?

    why should anyone take your drivel seriously, much less allow you to ignore or rewrite law based on it?

    So, someone who kidnapped a guy and cut out his still-beating heart, then said the gods told him to do it, WOULD NOT BE CHARGED WITH MURDER?

    Or are you still only demanding that YOUR cult be exempt from the law?

    You hold to the notion that your right to free exercise of religion allows one to discriminate against others openly.

    Why would it not apply to Christian Identity (KKK’s religious wing) against racial minorities? According to you, religious expression trumps anti-discrimination laws.

    How is your whining about not being able to discriminate against people your cult doesn’t like NOT endorsing discrimination against black people, when cults have existed and STILL exist that officially consider non-whites subhuman?

    So you can refuse service to Jews and blacks if your sect doesn’t like them then? Absolutely not, and we as a society settled that 40-plus years ago.

    Would it actually, literally kill you to stop lying for ONE COMMENT?

  • Nicholas Demicheli

    Silence! Infidel!

  • Big Rod

    I don’t think that Mr. Stanley sounded like he was complaining about intellectual dialogues regarding the existence of God, just what he referred to as “casually mocking the spiritual and emotional convictions of others”. The tweets he cites aren’t exactly quality arguments in favor of atheism, they’re just snippy remarks to piss off people who believe in God (I am an Atheist by the way before someone jumps down my throat).

    Atheists get just as upset, and I have personally seen some act much more childish when spoken to with equal coarseness. No one likes to be called a “liar or idiot”.

    I believe rather than portraying as Mr. Stanley as some immature, believer in God, Mr . Mehta should have elucidated on the importance of respecting the beliefs of others in order to engage in an intelligent conversation (and don’t even try to say that people who believe in God aren’t capable of that, history would disagree with you.)

  • Nik Marina

    I don’t follow Dawkins, so I don’t know what came before or after these tweets, but let’s look at the quoted excerpt: ““Don’t ask God to cure cancer & world poverty. He’s too busy finding you a parking space & fixing the weather for your barbecue.”

    This idea, that God will ignore worldwide tragedy in order to help you with your specific problems is something that routinely pops up in the US in some prosperity gospel circles and various fundamentalist circles. I’m not saying all Christians or religious people believe this (the problem of theodicy is a difficult problem indeed), but this particular statement is an accurate characterization of the belief system of a number of religious people. How exactly is Dawkins calling someone a liar or an idiot when he is accurately describing the theology of a number of religious sects?

  • Nik Marina

    If I had a nickel for each time a fundamentalist Christian mocked or insulted my religious beliefs…

  • raerants

    The Swami Beyondananda once called upon children of God to grow up and become adults of God. For a New Age humorist, he says a lot of things that a rationalist skeptic can get behind.