I’m sitting in my home, at my dining room table — which, at the moment, is doubling as my office. My laptop is open in front of me. My coffee is hot. My daughter’s at school; my husband is working. The dog is sleeping. The parrot is preening. The house is perfectly quiet and peaceful.
I log onto the Internet and opened Disqus — the portal into the comment section of my two-month-old blog here at Patheos. I haven’t read the comments in a while, and there are many new ones. Many for me anyway. I read some, and suddenly the peacefulness of my house is overwhelmed by voices. Angry voices.
Irritation, frustration, condescension and disrespect are evident. Some commenters use all caps to emphasize their points — the literary version of shouting. They’re not all shouting at me; most have turned on each other. One commenter, then the other. Back and forth. Lobbing tennis balls over the net, each claiming the point.
Sometimes they throw balls at me. “What you do is horrid,” one man tells me. “Its rape of the child’s soul. I hope you see it some day, because you are a shuttle-bus driver to hell for more souls than your own.”
But mostly their arguments are unrelated to my personal opinions. Mostly they’re just relentless debates between believers and nonbelievers over evidence (and lack thereof) of various beliefs. These are, to me, the least interesting of all debates, anywhere, ever.
On the Disqus dashboard, I click on one of the most offensive commenters. [Read more...]