Counting Coup, Atheist Style

The Cheyennes and other plains tribes had a practice called counting coup.

Counting coup, Cheyenne style, meant taking a life-threatening risk to dash up to a bear or a rival tribe member and touch them, then dash back to your fellows to get well-earned kudos for your bravery. The essential component to counting coup, Cheyenne style, was that it took actual guts to do it.

I never understood this before I began blogging, but evidently counting coup has moved forward into the tribal rites of various on-line social clubs. At least on this blog, atheist trolls are the ones who seem to practice it.

For reasons I don’t fully get, the atheist bloggers on Patheos have zeroed Public Catholic in general and little ole me in particular, for their disdain. According to them, we’re all crazy over here on the Catholic portal and need a good dressing down from time to time.

I come in for more than my share of this rhubarb. It’s the usual stuff about how I’m a politician who’s writing all this religious stuff for political gain and I’m a religious fanatic with an IQ about three points above asphalt. That sort of thing.

What interests me are the coup-counters. They come dashing in here and drop off a random insult in what is usually a totally non sequitur fashion and then dash back to the Spanky and Our Gang Christian-Haters Clubhouse to tell the tale of their courage.

The Cheyennes risked their lives when they counted coup. It took both intelligence and actual courage for them to do it. Since almost all these insult-dropping dive-bombers from the atheist zone arrive under cover of pseudonym, they aren’t even risking their reputations. It also doesn’t take a whole boatload of intelligence to type some version of “sez you, you piece of dirt” and then go running off.

It’s kind of fun to watch this spectacle. And when its not kind of fun, I just delete.

It is interesting though, how people who say they don’t believe in God also can’t say it enough times to feel good about themselves. They really do protest too much. When tasked on this point, they usually come up with an explanation about how they aren’t obsessed with God. It’s just us Christians who force them to behave as if they were obsessed with God because they can’t, well, live in a world where people believe things that they don’t believe.

Oh well.

I pray for them. And I want them to know that God loves them as much as He loves any of His children. Anytime they decide to stop running around waving their arms and pulling their pants down, they are always welcome at His table. They are my lost and somewhat ditzy brothers.

In the meantime, I get a kind of there-they-go-again amusement from their coup-counting. As for the insults, I’m still waiting for them to come up with one I haven’t already heard a few thousand times before.

  • FW Ken

    Look on the bright side: you’ve got a fair sized group of readers who thinking you’re pretty cool. Of course, we’re largely anonymous, so we are arguably equally chicken. :-)

    • hamiltonr

      I have wonderful readers Ken, who enrich my day and who add a great deal to this blog. I am grateful for all of you.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    I think a lot of us have the same experience. I tend to inform them that what they have said has no relevance to anything | said (unless it has, which is rare) and that they don’t know how to argue (which is practically always the case). This is often the end of the argument, but sometimes they do try to argue, which I count a success,

  • kenofken

    That’s the difference between having atheists and pagans as your nemesis! They’ll ride in and count coup and tear off again. I’ll come into your camp, claim a prime spot at the fire, smoke your tobacco, and give you some grief of substance :)! And I’ll stake my name and (admittedly checkered) reputation on it!

  • Dale

    Since
    almost all these insult-dropping dive-bombers from the atheist zone
    arrive under cover of pseudonym, they aren’t even risking their
    reputations. It also doesn’t take a whole boatload of intelligence to
    type some version of “sez you, you piece of dirt” and then go running
    off.

    Back in the olden days of the internet, we labeled such behavior as trolling. I suppose calling it “counting coup” is a way to try to ennoble themselves. But a skunk by any other name would smell as bad.

    I appreciate persons such as Kenofken, who settle in and engage in well-considered discussion. We’ve had some atheist visitors who have done the same. I hope they will step forward to identify themselves.

    To engage in polite, rational discussion with someone whom you passionately disagree requires discipline and it requires some measure of honor. Posting anonymous, drive-by insults shows a lack of both. I can’t imagine that Cheyenne warriors would have been able to count coup if they lack either discipline or honor.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    Rebecca, you have to be careful when you make assumptions about other people’s internal motivations.
    In this article, you assume that the reason that atheists often do hit-and-run commenting on your blog is to prove their courage. You also made the assumption that the reason atheists keep repeating that there is no god is to feel good about themselves. Do you have any reasons for these assumptions?
    I can’t speak for everybody, but the reason why I, an atheist, am commenting here is not because I think its some feat of bravery, but because I happened upon this article and I feel that I have something to add to it from my perspective. I suspect (though I don’t presume to know) that others’ motivations may be similar but, unfortunately, many are a bit more abrasive in their tone.
    I have seen too many, both theists and atheists, make assumptions about others motivations and get it flat out wrong. This ends up revealing much more about the prejudices of the one making the assumptions than it does about the actual motivations of the target.

    • hamiltonr

      Humor, overlapping. This is humor.

      As for questioning people’s motivations unjustly, you need to take your little self over the atheist blogs and spread your wisdom there. That’s basically all they do.

  • RhubarbTheBear

    Everyone deserves a fair share of “rhubarb”. :)

  • MNb

    “how people who say they don’t believe in God also can’t say it enough times to feel good about themselves.”
    Yes, because reading nonsense that affects me like “And I want them to know that God loves them” makes me feel bad. And that’s what I want you to know.
    But don’t worry – I may an atheist and even a nasty one – not friendly like Hemant Mehta – I’m not a troll and are bound to leave you alone again pretty soon. Then you can make yourself feel good again by praying for me. Have good luck and a lot of fun with it.

    • hamiltonr

      Mnb, if it makes you feel bad, then why on earth do you read it? It’s not required, you know.

  • Mark Moore

    This is surprisingly well written and does document a phenomena. We get Christians doing much the same thing on Reddit/r/atheism but they don’t seem to last very long at all. I don’t know about this specific blog but I notice atheists circulating again and again on mostly Christian sites.

    The big problem we atheists have that gets us all revved up is the use of government to force Christianity on us. We don’t want to have to swear allegiance to a silly god when we pledge to our nation. We don’t want our kids proselytized to when they go to a public school. We don’t want to have to listen to prayers when we go to court, the legislature or any other government function. If we wanted to listen to prayers we would go to church not government activities.

    Since we are growing in number rapidly the outcry is only going to get louder, not less so. I give god in the pledge and on the currency another ten years max. I would say in the next ten years we will have legislators bragging about being non believer instead of hiding. The US is changing fast – it is good to see.

    Leaving myth and superstition of religion behind can only help the US economically as the religious get pushed off the back of science and technology.

    I think the US has a bright non religious future ahead of it.

  • Bill S

    For reasons I don’t fully get, the atheist bloggers on Patheos have zeroed Public Catholic in general and little ole me in particular, for their disdain.

    I, for one, do not comment because I have any disdain for you, Rebecca. My disdain is for Church teaching, which must be accepted and followed without questioning or dissent. In this civilized society, Church teaching is extraneous and sometimes counterproductive and/or counterintuitive.

    What has become the perfect example of how Church teaching is counterproductive is the controversy over gay marriage. It is like a microcosm of the overall conflict between the Church and the “World”. Society, or the World, leans strongly toward accepting gays and lesbians just the way they are, without any need to be reformed into heterosexuals or to refrain from having sex. The Church opposes the World and insists on condemning any and all sexual activities for anyone other than married heterosexuals who don’t practice contraception. Supposedly, all that stuff that the World accepts is evil, sinful and against the will of the Christian god.

    As it goes with this single issue of gay marriage, so it goes with other controversies which atheists like to discuss on this blog. It is good to let them have their say because it challenges readers to defend what they believe.

    • hamiltonr

      Bill,, I wasn’t talking about you. You aren’t an atheist troll.

      • Bill S

        Oh no? Look up troll in the dictionary and tell me whose picture is next to it. I’m an obsessive compulsive internet troll (OCIT) and have the certificate to prove it. I’m not an atheist troll anymore though. Some kind of divine intelligence is at work here.

        • hamiltonr

          You’re not a troll on this blog. You’re one of our regular commenters.

          • Bill S

            Thank you. I’ve had my moments.


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