Why I’m Not Quitting the Online Atheism Community

Martin S. Pribble, a long-time atheist blogger, says he’s calling it quits and “no longer want[s] to be part of the online atheist ‘community’.”

Well, shit. What did we do now? And what does it even mean to you say you’re leaving us?

What this means is that I will no longer be dragged into debates with theists who make a ludicrous claim, then base their evidence on the very book from which their ludicrous claim originates. There is no point in it…

… It doesn’t mean I will be leaving the social networks, or even changing the style of my tweets and Facebook posts. I’ve been moving in this direction for some time now, and I think I’ve come to a point where I am only injuring myself if I were to continue engaging on a level of theistic debating

So… you’re gonna ignore the trolls?

That’s… nice. Even though most of us figured that out a long time ago. If you want to have serious debates about religion, YouTube and blog comment threads aren’t the best places to have them. It’s an exercise in futility.

That doesn’t mean it’s completely useless, though. Most people I know became atheists because someone else convinced them to give up their faith. Maybe an author or a close friend or, yes, even a stranger online. (Like just about all public atheists online, I’ve received my share of emails from people who tell me reading this site helped them let go of their belief in God.)

Pribble concludes his piece this way:

I hope none of this comes as a shock to any of you. Please don’t see this as a defeatist position, because it’s not. It’s simply an acknowledgement of something that has been bugging me for some time. To those who know me, my frustration with “online atheism” has been no secret. Also, none of this is aimed at any particular people. In fact, I think we still need those who will relentlessly chase down believers for their ludicrous beliefs. The only difference is, I will not be the one doing it.

That’s disappointing, I suppose, until you realize there’s no shortage of people who are happy to interact with theists in a comment thread or elsewhere. Even if you think it’s pointless, they don’t. And I’m glad they don’t because it’s important that someone engages the irrationalists.

But what does that have to do with the “online atheist community”? Pribble’s beef is something that anyone who blogs about a controversial topic online has to deal with. It’s not unique to our community at all.

Furthermore, the online atheist community is hard to define because it’s completely fractured. Pribble has a problem with activists who “troll Facebook and Twitter for theists and tell them why they are wrong” but that hardly describes most of us.

There are atheist activists who debate theists in person, make videos or write articles debunking bad religious arguments (without the need for a formal debate with specific people), do charity work and showcase the positive side of a non-religious life, highlight what atheists are doing across the world, offer opinions from a non-religious perspective, create in-person communities for the non-religious, etc. (And you can do all of those things with or without snark.)

If the essay remained on his site, maybe this argument would’ve just disappeared. But yesterday, Slate republished a version of it (maybe they’re competing with Salon to see which publication can trash atheists more):

Atheists and nonbelievers make up such a small part of the world’s population that we can never hope to change the world by ourselves — certainly not, if our primary weapon is yelling at people we don’t agree with. Most theists in the world are not completely delusional. Many see their faith as being primarily about an afterlife and dismiss the more ridiculous stories — about the apocalypse, for instance — as parables used to illustrate a point. The problem is, the people we hear most from are not the rational ones. It’s the fanatics with the largest and loudest voices.

So… Pribble is basically saying he’s had it with the jerks who treat theists like crap. Well, guess what? So have a lot of us.

Don’t like making fun of religious people? Great. Then don’t. Problem solved.

Here’s a better solution: Remain in the community (which he appears to be doing, anyway) and be the type of activist you wish to see. Be a model for future bloggers instead of throwing the rest of us under a bus.

I’m proud to be part of this community — whatever that means — even if my tactics are different from someone else’s. This community has changed a lot of minds, empowered a lot of once-closeted atheists. and influenced a lot of people whether they know it or not. You don’t have to seek out theists to destroy. Just lay out your case for why people should come to your side of any issue and the magic will happen.

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.

  • Jan Kafka
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    not even gonna invest a lot of time in this post. skimmed a couple of sentences. btdt, gosh i’ve read these sorts of screeds before. on just about every blog ever, in this short history of many “i write a blog! i’m important!”posts.

    wanna go? there’s the door. and that’s the bitter truth, for folks who feel the need to write these diatribes it becomes really simple.

    very few care, or remember you, years later, when you never come back. comments move on! and the world, as well. it still doesn’t end. even without your scintillating daily contribution to Why Marvel is Better Than DC, @ ForeverDood.com forums, or whatever.

    i’m an adult. i sort of understand what, if any, comments “matter.”. but like this person, i still like to be silly, tho. no harm in that, even online. ;-)

  • Terry Firma

    I like this post. I don’t like that Prattle Pribble got the attention he appears to crave over nothing of substance. He’s not “leaving the atheist community.” He has wisely chosen to no longer do battle with rude commenters and unpleasant trolls. He’ll keep writing and trying to engage/inform/entertain people. He hasn’t changed his world view. Big whoop.

  • Terry Firma

    There is no atheist “community.” Or a black “community.” Or a Chinese “community.” Or a Christian “community.” So it’s not possible to find fault (or to agree) with any of them. Groups of people encompassing millions of members are too amorphous to be classified under some implied notion of groupthink.

    To circle back to your apparent beef with online atheists, what community are you speaking of? What site? The folks who hang out at Pharyngula express themselves rather differently than the writers and commenters at Friendly Atheist. I just unsubscribed from ‘Working Class Atheists’ on Facebook because their complete lack of nuance began to get on my nerves. Reddit Atheism is also marred by lots of juvenile BS, unfortunately. By contrast, I often find Sam Harris’s site (and a few others) pretty philosophical and enlightening.

    Atheists are just as varied in how they think and discuss as any other group that could jointly fill all the football stadiums in the U.S. No use in tarring everyone with the same brush.

  • $925105

    Christian trolls were the most fun. When I ran a website I’d always give a reply of thanks to the haters and post it online for everyone to see. It always made the crews day to get another letter of hate.

  • ZenDruid

    What this means is that I will no longer be dragged into debates with theists who make a ludicrous claim, then base their evidence on the very book from which their ludicrous claim originates. There is no point in it…

    They will continue to make their ludicrous claims, and we will continue to refute them. The alternative to that is censorship, which game Homey Don’t Play.
    The minds of the cheap storytellers and the cheap spin doctors are forever stapled to cheap bronze age gabble. I can only pity them for their patent fear of broader understanding, and deride them for their intransigent unwillingness to upgrade their brains.

  • Madison Blane

    “When the quality of your own life is being negatively affected by dealing with so much impenetrable ignorance on a daily basis, the only thing to do is step away for the sake of your sanity and faith in the human race.”
    While I understand your point – and hey, if it’s bad for you,by all means, step away – It really isn’t fair to say that arguing with theists is pointless. I was devoutly religious. I am fully Atheist today. That process took ten years, countless arguments, and numerous people. Every one of them was worth it and every day I am thankful! I do this because I feel I should pay it forward…even if I NEVER see the results (because there are multitudes of people who read and never comment or argue). This kind of activism isn’t for everyone, and yes, it can be mentally exhausting, but people DO change and they DO break free and that, to me, is worth my time and effort!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=141304249 Sarah Jones

    Sam Harris, philosophical?? That’s a new one. New Atheism has completely exhausted my patience. I’m done with it. If I’d wanted to spend my time belittling people for their perspectives on the existence of God, I’d have stayed a Christian fundamentalist. And there is a thriving streak of this mentality in online atheism. I don’t think it’s helpful to portray it as a fringe attitude–from what I’ve seen, it’s closer to mainstream.

  • Terry Firma

    Tired of atheist communities online, yet here you are (and your posts stretch back months). Why?

  • Terry Firma

    One of the imaginary “questions” in his piece is “Your voice is needed, don’t stop doing this!” That doesn’t reek of self-importance at all!

  • momtarkle

    Good points, “3″. Reading and interacting with atheist and theist blogs did not instigate my atheistic beliefs, but it certainly has reinforced and deepened them.

    To continue those processes, I have become involved in my “Bible Studies” phase. (You don’t have to care.) I search for anything I can find on “atheism”, “creation”, “evolution”, “Dawkins”, “Hitchens”, “Tyson”, “Sagan”, and whatever else I can find that defends or debunks religion. Most of what I watch is broadcast on religious channels, but I have found some good stuff on history and science channels. It’s very uplifting.

    Hell, I may even go back to reading the bible. They say that the NWT version is pretty good. Anybody read it?

  • Moose McNuggets

    Regarding your comment about many people being convinced to become atheists by another atheist:

    While I certainly encountered plenty of atheist writings along the way, I can’t say any one event or person pushed me in this direction. I can’t even pinpoint the moment when I became an atheist. It just sort of happened by default. As I traveled through life I just started rejecting more and more of what I heard based on the notion that without any proof to back it up, I wasn’t going to swallow anything, much less turn around and try to convince someone else it was true. At some point belief without evidence just struck me as the most absurd path one could travel.

    Leaving the Christianity that I’d been raised in was a painful experience, accompanied by a lot of fear. This event occurred at a young age (19) and was traumatic at the time. It was also followed by a lengthy period of dabbling in Eastern religious thought, actions that had more to do with trying to still my fears than with actually believing there was a truth there that couldn’t be found in Christianity. So eventually I abandoned that pursuit as well.

    The fear subsided as time went on, while travel, reading, involvement with life itself…all of that and more just gradually brought me to a level of comfort in my own skin. I also became an evidence-based thinker, and this naturally lent itself to atheism. It was also in this decade of my life that I came to regard it that since I didn’t exist prior to birth, it was silly to think that some sort of afterlife awaited me beyond the grave. Once I realized that not existing prior to birth was in no way frightening, than nonexistence after death wasn’t scary either. So at some point in my thirties I settled on calling myself an atheist for lack of a better term. It wasn’t something special, it just made sense.

    Looking back on it, it seems like a very natural progression. I’m glad it happened, I can’t imagine being a happy person if I was still trying to hold on to the beliefs I was raised in. I’d have to shut my brain down, and this wasn’t something I was willing to do.

    I’d be curious to hear from others who became atheists more or less on the strength of their own thought processes and experiences rather than from being converted, so to speak. I suspect there’s quite a few of us out here.

  • cryofly

    Well I have long stopped arguing in the local circles. But I always let them know that I am an atheist and that atheism grows as we grow wiser. But I do not argue with zealots or even those who are in love with the god (nice loving, caring, and god-fearing gentiles, many of whom are quite close to me). I will die, as I wait for them to die along with their beliefs.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    lol

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Did the religious/politically conservative people secretly convince “Martin S. Pribble” to give up “atheism”?

    Hmm…

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Here is something I have found…http://godisimaginary.com/

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    “Christianity” is full of contradictions!!!!

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Religion = Ignorance

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    I can’t say I’m familiar with the NWT; I always suggest Robert Alter’s translations. His primary focus is preserving the rhythm and style of storytelling, and so it sounds natural and narrative. A sample. The preservation of the constant “…And,…” makes it propulsive, and other notes that are often lost in modern translations (for example, the whole, “and, lo,…”, which is usually just dropped as superfluous, he preserves with the modern storytelling command, “and, look,…”). It’s the first translation I’ve felt can be read aloud as a storybook and not sound completely silly or stilted.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Many religious people hate technology, because it uses SCIENCE, so the religious people avoid the “Internet”.

    Lol

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    “nihilism”?

    Hmm…

    Under a certain context, “Nihilism” is also a self-contradictory philosophy. That means that even “nihilists” will reject their own philosophy, which is “Nihilism”.

    Lol

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    xd

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

  • midnight rambler

    Good for you. Give yourself a pat on the back.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Why are you here, you religious/politically conservative person (also known as an ignorant person)…

  • midnight rambler

    I think there’s a big difference between “there is no one who is Youer than You” and “look at me, I’m important!!!”

    And I don’t see anyone calling him “worthless trash”. A nobody? Well, I’d never heard of him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a nobody.

  • midnight rambler

    Up late after raiding your parents’ booze stash? Lay off the substances for a few years, they harm the developing brain and you’ll end up staying stupid the rest of your life.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Wow, these insults…

    Please stop replying to me.

  • midnight rambler

    Aww, punky booboo can dish it out but can’t take it?

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Get out.

  • midnight rambler

    LOL. I’m shakin’ in my boots.

    BTW, you know that when you “delete” a comment (like “Immature piece of shit”) it only deletes your name from it and not the comment itself, and by that time I’ve already gotten an email notification saying it’s from you, right?

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    =D

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    xd

  • midnight rambler

    You know, enlisting your fellow Nintendo game enthusiasts like Sorahearts (author of the “burn you” comment below) only makes you look more pathetic. ROTFL.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Friendly Atheist,

    Can you ban @mrambler:disqus?

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    STFU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • midnight rambler

    Okay, you are officially hilarious. Signing off for the night.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    I am being serious here.

  • midnight rambler

    I am being serious here.

    Is this snark? Because given your previous comments, it sure sounds like it. I think we’re in Poe’s Law territory here.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    @mrambler:disqus

    Please stop.

  • primenumbers

    Always remember the audience -well said.

  • Connie

    I wasn’t “converted either. Too many questions asked of a frustrated priest only led me to further believe there were no answers. I was so young. Only 18 and I wanted answers no one seemed to be able to give. It was like loosing something valuable that I just couldn’t find. It turned out to be my faith. I was so angry! My parents had lied to me again! The first time they lied to me I was 6 years old. They said bad things about Black people. I knew they weren’t telling the truth because my best friend in first grade (I came to understand) was Black. She wasn’t any of the things my parents said. We ended up being friends throughout my first 6 years of school. Kinda of funny though I ended up happily married to an African American! Now I’m an Atheist to boot! My parents shouldn’t have lied. The priest shouldn’t have lied. They could have at least explained that they didn’t know the answers. It would have been better than the lies.

  • Connie

    Go away! The conversation was going quite nicely until you came. Go pray or something.

  • Lando

    Same here – it took little doubts building up over years to finally crack my faith, but I couldn’t be happier.
    Personally, when I comment on an interesting article at a Christian site, I have no intention of converting anyone. So many Christians have this impression that atheists are angry, hateful people, so my goal is to respectfully disagree while being an example of a person who is good without god.

  • dandaman

    “Many see their faith as being primarily about an afterlife and dismiss the more ridiculous stories — about the apocalypse, for instance — as parables used to illustrate a point”. Am I to assume that living forever after your body has decomposed is “rational”? It is all ridiculous, and the fanatics as you call them, gain a sense validity from the “non-fanatics”, as you call them. Not everyone in Nazi Germany was in the SS, or was even a Nazi, they were silent sheep and allowed the rest to happen. I’m not necessarily calling xians Nazis, but the fanatic/not fanatics dichotomy analogy is a good illustration.

  • http://www.atheistrev.com/ vjack

    Excellent post, Hemant. I found it quite odd that someone would seem to equate the atheist community with people who troll theists via social media. I rarely go out of my way to argue with theists, and I still consider myself a part of this community to some degree.

  • dandaman

    “Those of us who don’t think it’s acceptable to deride people for being religious get torn apart by other atheists, too”. It all depends on your definition of “deride”, resorting to insults (even in response to insults) is not a good practice, neither is being an apologist. Aggressive reasoning is needed against aggressive ignorance that IS affecting my life through the political influence they exert in the name of Sauron.

  • dandaman

    You’ve obviously never “listened” to Sam Harris. New Atheism isn’t new, it’s just intelligent and f..ing sick and tired of people in power believing in fairies and pregnant virgins, they have very dangerous toys at their disposal and it is imperative that reason prevails before it is too late. That’s why there is a sense of urgency that you may see as belittling, it is time to WAKE UP.

  • momtarkle

    Thanks for the thoughtful and thorough response. I’ll check out your suggestion. Maybe it will put the fear of god in me.

  • The Starship Maxima

    It’s ironic because as a theist, I feel the same way about ignorant atheists who base their arguments on generous helpings of goalpost shifting, non sequiturs, and outright hypocrisy.
    But I don’t quit this community because there are plenty who “don’t” do that.
    I suggest to Pribble that perhaps the seeds of his own frustration are planted in his own (narrow) mind. When you approach someone from the point of view that they are an idiot and you have all the answers, this usually means the conversation will go nowhere.
    When an atheist informs me that my Christian beliefs absolutely must mean I oppose gay rights, I laugh at that atheist and find it difficult to take any of their other claims seriously. And if I explain to said atheist that one can be driven to fight for gay rights because of their Christianity, and they say “Well, that just means you’re following the Bible wrong”, then I will write that atheist as a moron and stop having a conversation.
    If you approach someone like another human being like you, who has a reason for believing what they believe, and then ask questions, rather than dictate answers, the conversation tends to be much richer and beneficial, even if nobody changes position.

  • bananafaced

    It’s nice to have someone of like mind to chat with which is why I stay connected to many Atheist blogs. But as soon as a ‘religious troll’ begins a thread that appears to goad some of us in the community to ‘reply’ or ‘rebutt’, I leave for awhile. Life is too short and my time is too precious to suffer people who are looking for a fight. Discretion is…

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Axioms generally don’t apply to themselves.

    In any case, I was talking about nihilism the phenomenon (the loss of all meaning and value), not nihilism the personal philosophy (we are permitted act as we choose because there is no meaning or value). The second, even if not technically self-swallowing, is IMO quite stupid, but the first is not stupid so much as dangerous.

  • Beth Clarkson

    I agree with Sarah. Generalities can be accurate about the amorphous cloud of members without being applicable to every member and only members of each group. We can, for example, say that members of the Chinese community are more likely than non-members to have relatively close family members living in Asia. Or members of a working class community might be assumed to have lower paying and more physically laborious jobs than members of an academic community.

    Likewise, I think the reputation of atheist communities that Sarah is referencing may be an accurate assessment of the overall treatment of religious believers that those communities tolerate and sometimes promote.

    Miri discusses one particular common trope here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/brutereason/2013/12/07/what-this-depression-survivor-hears-when-you-call-religion-a-mental-illness/

    Here is a post defending the practice of being harsh towards supporters of religion

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/11/guest-post-alix-on-civility-and-confrontation.html

  • Moose McNuggets

    Yeah, angry atheism hurts us all in my opinion. It’s easy to fall into, and I have myself more times than I’m happy to admit, but as my wife always says, you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar.

  • duke_of_omnium

    For some reason, internet forums on *anything*, no matter how harmless or fun or non-controversial, tend to turn into factions that make junior high school cliques seem congenial.

    Your example is a great one: you obviously have a lot more in common with each other and have only slight differences of opinion on highly technical questions. And yet, it turns into the keyboard equivalent of an internecine backwoods feud.

    And if anyone disagrees with me, I’ll attack him (or her) and everyone whom he (or she) calls friends.

  • Neko

    So let me get this straight. This is the rant that “kept pricking at ” [Alix] like “a borrowed conscience” (oh my) such that none of her arguments were “good enough to meet and match that artless rage”:

    …how Catholics were all vile enablers of pedophiles, all complicit in abuse, all misogynistic, homophobic scum, all out to bring back the Inquisition.

    Really? None of her arguments? Then, frankly, she’s an idiot.

  • midnight rambler

    It’s ironic because as a theist, I feel the same way about ignorant atheists who base their arguments on generous helpings of goalpost shifting, non sequiturs, and outright hypocrisy.
    But I don’t quit this community because there are plenty who “don’t” do that.

    That’s the thing though, he’s not actually “quitting the community”, just (purportedly) going to waste less time in pointless arguments. Not really the same thing, which makes his whole pronouncement sound even more self-aggrandizing.

    When an atheist informs me that my Christian beliefs absolutely must mean I oppose gay rights, I laugh at that atheist and find it difficult to take any of their other claims seriously.

    What about when a Christian makes the same argument? Because I’ve seen that much more frequently. Atheists arguing along the same lines usually say that if you oppose gay rights based on the Bible, you must also oppose eating shellfish and wearing mixed cloth.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Christians can be trolls. I wish it weren’t so, but there it is.

  • The Starship Maxima

    3lemenope, I’m becoming quite the fan of yours.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    I dig your style as well. It is really good for there to be a believer around these parts like yourself who is in it for the give-and-take, rather than to score points. Too many people (of every metaphysical persuasion) go into conversations looking to “win” something, whereas the true prize is in the knowledge and understanding earned through honest struggle with challenging ideas presented by people who earnestly believe in them.

  • purr

    Yes. Too often it is all about ‘ego’ and bullying others into submission. I hate that.

  • The Starship Maxima

    (singing) We are family!!! I got all my sisters with me!!!

  • Guest

    Libby Anne didn’t write that particular post, which is why it’s labeled as a guest post. Reading is awesome. Especially before you call the wrong person an idiot.

  • midnight rambler

    BTW, what you’re looking for in your other comments is this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcS3NOQnsQM

  • Neko

    I saw that Libby Anne posted it and skipped to the text. My apologies to Libby Anne.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    If you read the entire post, you’ll realize that ze’d been exposed to all the polite, logical arguments, but had been able to compartmentalize the debate as just not that important when hir arguments didn’t hold up. It took the artless rage of a not-entirely-accurate but very heartfelt post to make hir realize that this mattered, and that hir support of an institution that is misogynistic, homophobic, complicit in abuse, and pedophile-enabling really truly hurt people and really truly did make hir complicit, just a little bit, in the RCC’s crimes. Rage broke through the careful defensive barriers in Alix’s mind in a way that cool logic didn’t.

    BTW, Alix is genderfluid and prefers gender neutral pronouns. There’s no easy way for you to know this, so I thought I’d let you know.

  • Neko

    Thank you for your response. I did read the entire post and was unsympathetic. OK, a nasty rant broke down his/her defenses; fine. But no rebuttal came to mind? I can think of a few.

    One, s/he could have made the kind of argument that is being made right here in this thread, that although s/he often disagreed with the church s/he felt compelled to stay and change the institution from within. The RCC is not just the hierarchy but the entire “people of God,” and many progressive Catholics choose to stay because they wish to practice their faith and agitate for change. Are they complicit in the evils of the Church? No.

    Two, some of the harshest critics of the Church, and the most indefatigable supporters of the Church’s victims, who are out in the trenches fighting the hierarchy in court, providing services to the abused, and pressuring the bishops instead of banging on a keyboard all day, are Catholics. In his/her swoon Alix threw such people under the bus. It’s highly narcissistic and hardly an argument for bullying people online.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Ze clarified a bit later in comments- it wasn’t that Alix didn’t have any arguments come to mind, but ze realized that ze’d made those arguments before and been shot down before. If you give money to the hierarchy of the RCC, if you fill their pews and inflate their follower count and thus their influence, if you’re one of the silent followers- you are complicit. Period. There is no way for the laity to change the church because it’s a very hierarchical structure. The RCC has made it very clear that it doesn’t want to change and it isn’t going to listen- at this point the only ethical choice is to leave.

    And yes, some of the harshest critics are people who chose to stay. But in staying, they said that they saw something worth saving in the RCC. Frankly, there isn’t. The institution is rotten to its core.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    ?

  • Ann Onymous

    I’m sure he can, but I doubt he will. You’ve been making irrelevant, one-sentence, unconstructive assertions. Midnight Rambler replied with snark, because a link to godisimaginary.com doesn’t contribute much to a discussion about the online atheist community. You decided that Rambler must automatically be religious (and that religious = politically conservative = ignorant), though a quick scan of his previous comments (which is impossible for you, since your activity is private) turns up statements like “I consider myself an atheist” and “…how freeing it is just to not have even the relatively meaningless rituals of religion.” Rambler’s probably not religious.
    Then, after Rambler rebuffed you, you called Rambler “ignorant”. Rambler, understandably ticked off, called you “stupid” and accused you of being stupid, young, drunk, and sleep-deprived. You asked your friends at “NintenScience” to “stop” Rambler, whom you called a “fail troll”. Rambler, again understandably, found this funny and called you “pathetic”. Your incredibly perspicacious, witty comeback was “STFU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”. (I count 34 explanation points.) Again, Rambler found this funny, and again, this was understandable. You then said “Please stop.” to Rambler, and I’m not even sure what that was meant to accomplish. Rambler made fun of you for this, at which time your friends from “NintenScience” started arriving to gang up on and threaten Rambler. In a theme that’s begun to surface, Rambler found this funny and replied with snark and a notification that he knows who’s threatening him.

    Seriously? You’re both out of line to some degree, but if we’re banning one of you, I think I’d ban the one who makes irrelevant, unconstructive comments, attacks anyone who criticizes with insults that are obviously inaccurate, summons friends to gang up on and threaten anyone who criticizes, who quickly resorts to “STFU” , “please stop”, and “ban this person who disagrees with me”, and on top of that keeps his/her comment history private over the commenter who replies to the aforementioned commenter with snark and calls him/her stupid, young, drunk, and sleep-deprived after being called religious, politically conservative, and ignorant when that’s clearly inaccurate from his/her comment history.
    TL;DR: I think you, TheScienceEnthusiast1130, deserve/warrant a ban far more than Midnight Rambler. You’re an excellent demonstration of some problems with the online atheist community.

  • Ann Onymous
  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Wow…what a trollish comment.

    People like you are the reasons why religious people should NOT invade this website.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Can you be more respectful?

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    No one cares.

  • http://www.android.com/ HyperTallih

    Yes your gang is Ballas our gang is Grove Street Famillies. So shut up homie. CGF IS COMING TO YOU. i shot you down with a Assault Rifle so watch out.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    You can downvote me all you want, but you cannot face the fact that you lack “respect” for “atheists” like me.

    And do NOT reply with a hateful comment.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    And remember, if you do NOT like the “atheist” community, then you can go somewhere else.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    I am quite sure that that the “local police” in your area would be happy to arrest you and lock you up in “jail”…

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Oh wait, I also forgot @disqus_W2BaA1wvM5:disqus, that user has been stalking me today…

  • NintenScienceTrollPolice

    TrollAlert

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    That is exactly the reason for the comments below…

  • Neko

    the only ethical choice is to leave

    Out in reality-land not all disaffected Catholics are going to leave. Many progressives stay and fight. They are good people who are devastated by the sex abuse scandals, and who support equality for women and gays in the church and out. A slight majority of Catholics voted for Obama in 2012 (and a greater majority in 2008), the pro-choice, pro-gay equality candidate, even though the bishops pulled out all the stops to elect Romney.

    It would be easy for me to say “just walk,” as I did long ago over some of these issues, but I was already veering toward unbelief. These people are believers who could care less if atheists insist that leaving is the only ethical option.

    I do appreciate Alix’s point that religion/unbelief is as much an emotional as a rational process. I wish I could say I philosophized my way out of the Catholic Church, but it was mostly due to skepticism of church authority and dislike of patriarchy. I have often wondered why women stay in a Church that devalues them.

  • Ann Onymous

    Eh, I just read through the archives and figured that it was more relevant than a link to godisimaginary.com on an article about atheism online.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Ok.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    =D

  • Ann Onymous

    On what charges? Criticizing someone on the Internet?

  • Ann Onymous

    I am quite fond of the online atheist community. I enjoy the discussions I get into on this site. HOWEVER, like all things, it has problems. I prefer to work on solving/mitigating them over abandoning the entire enterprise.

  • Ann Onymous

    I haven’t downvoted you once, and you can’t see who downvotes a comment.
    Why do you keep putting words like “atheism”, “respect”, and “Christianity” in quotation marks when you’re not quoting?
    I am an atheist. Again, you can tell from my comment history, which is public. The inaccurate insults begin to grate.
    Tell me, where in my comment did I show disrespect for atheists and/or atheism? Really, I’d like to correct it ASAP, as that wasn’t my intent and doesn’t convey my actual feeling. And if this comment is deemed “hateful”, the above stands. Explain why it’s hateful so I can avoid making the same mistake in future.

  • Ann Onymous

    …what does this mean? Someone help me out here.

  • Ann Onymous

    How have I been disrespectful? Point out and explain the precise errors so that I may correct them, please.

  • Ann Onymous

    Again, how was my comment trollish? Please point out what made it so, so that I may improve it.
    As clearly seen from my comment history, I am an atheist myself, invalidating your point about the religious commenting on the Friendly Atheist. (Me, I’m fine with religious people here so long as they aren’t trolling or proselytizing, and if they want to learn about atheism, this site is better than Christian fundie opinions on us.)

  • Ann Onymous

    Hardly. I read most articles here, I read the comments, and I chose to step in on the “TheScienceEnthusiast1130 vs. midnight rambler” argument/feud/conversation. I posted a comment summarizing said interaction and my take on it, encompassing only comments on this article and in the link Rambler provided as related to comments on this article. Stalking you would require that I reply to/read all your comments, which is made unfeasible by the fact that your comment history is private. I’m not sure how reading one conversation thread, summarizing it, and responding constitutes “stalking”.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Atheists like you? As opposed to the other kinds?

  • cyb pauli

    Is… is this an atheism type ragequit? O_o Really?

    “Most theists in the world are not completely delusional.” Citation needed.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Whoa, why the angry replies above?

    I now want to make peace with you…

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    It is a “Grand Theft Auto” reference.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Oh sure, a lot of people aren’t going to leave. I’m fully aware that in reality, it’s just not going to happen. Doesn’t change my mind that it’s the only ethical choice, but it also means I understand the emotional and non-rational reasons people choose to stay in spite of knowing that it isn’t really a good moral or ethical choice.

    I don’t understand why women stay in a Church that devalues them either.

  • Ann Onymous

    Oooooookay… how is it relevant? What am I supposed to take away from this?

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Not sure.

  • Ann Onymous

    I’m more exasperated, irritated, and annoyed that you’re swamping the discussion than I am “angry”. At any rate, I’d think some anger is justified given that your responses to me have included: accusing me of stalking you, asking that I be banned, saying that my local police would be “glad” to arrest and jail me, claiming that I lack respect for “atheists like [you]“, claiming that my comments were disrespectful and trollish, claiming that I dislike the online atheist community, implying that my comments are hateful, and implying that I’m religious (not automatically an insult, but clearly false from my comment history). This sudden, mysterious peacemaking impulse is inexplicable to me. The questions expressed in my earlier comments still stand, as well as this: Why do you suddenly want to “make peace” with me?

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    ???

  • Ann Onymous

    Elaborate?

  • Guest

    I’m confused…

  • Ann Onymous

    I’m asking TheScienceEnthusiast1130 to go into detail/explain, because I honestly don’t know what his/her/their “???” was directed at, exactly.

  • UWIR

    You’re the one who first posted insults in this thread. I don’t know what history you have with MR, but based on the posts here, you look a bit unbalanced.


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