Instead of bashing one another, maybe Christians should unite against the barbarians at the gate.
What I do have going is a sense of purpose and a definite understanding of what I want to accomplish with my tap, tap, tapping on the computer keyboard.
That’s why deciding to wave good-bye to some prodigious commenters earlier this week was an easy decision to make. Public Catholic had attracted a small but angry following of self-avowed atheists. Their beliefs were ok by me, as was their presence here. In fact I thought at first that they would add to the discussion by bringing in a different point of view. I hoped for something constructive.
Unfortunately, what happened is that these atheists were destroying the ability of people to engage in constructive discussion with their refusals to speak softly and make sense. I tried explaining that insults were not allowed here. I asked for less mindless repetition of tired anti-Christian canards and more honest commentary. I set limits, defined parameters and, when I had no choice, deleted comments.
It was an interesting experience. I would delete. And they’d come back. I would delete again, and they’d come back again. Sometimes, I did other things while hitting the delete button as one post after another popped up. I found it was easiest to do this using my cell phone. I would delete; they’d re-post; I would delete again. I sent their posts to the spam file, and they changed their IP number to get back in. Not once, but repeatedly. I want to emphasize that I am not talking about any one person. There were several. Some of them never got their comments on the board even once because they were offensive from the start.
In the interest of trying to understand this behavior, I spent an afternoon, perusing atheist blogs around the internet. It was interesting, even amusing, reading. It appears that nobody this side of the President of the Southern Baptist Convention reads the Bible as much as atheists. Although I wouldn’t say they read read it. They more peruse it, searching for attack verses and things they can drag out of context to mock or criticize.
Then there’s the great atheist bugaboo, the Roman Catholic Church. I doubt if the Pope himself thinks about the Church as much as the atheist bloggers I looked at. Again, it was a closed-minded, obsessive kind of thinking, going over and over the beliefs — those concerning abortion, sex, euthanasia and gay marriage mostly — that they consider most heinous.
That helped me understand what I saw and experienced with these folks here at Public Catholic. I had originally hoped that they would add flavor and dialogue to the commentary. What they brought instead was waspish nastiness and repetitive insults that they made over and over and over again with mind-numbing predictability. A lot of the things they said came straight from a couple of “new atheist” books; much of the rest was just a re-statement of tired one-liners that appear to get repeated a lot on atheist boards.
The net effect of all this was to shut commentary down, not to stimulate it. Most of the female commenters were going silent in the face of this barrage of insult and quarreling. A few hardy males decided to mix it up with the angry atheists, which is a little bit like arguing with, well, a swarm of killer bees. The commentary on this board was headed straight to the grimy basement floor of blog-talk that I find so disgusting.
Time to step in. After repeatedly setting limits, warning, deleting and then giving new chances, I began to feel that commentary and discussion were the opposite of what these folks were after. It didn’t seem like they were looking for conversation, or even converts. They appeared to be trying to punish and silence people of faith by means of verbal hazing and bullying.
It was time to stop it.
It was also a lesson learned.
You can’t converse with a swarm of killer bees.
You certainly can’t dialogue with them.
They do not, will not, have no intention of, adding spice or a new perspective to the conversation. They come to dominate, silence and scuttle the conversations of those they disagree with.
The reason I’m putting this with Christian Persecution posts is because I think this kind of behavior has become so widespread that it is cowing Christians and forcing them into silence everywhere. It also serves to create an anti-Christian climate in which all sorts of people feel free to insult and verbally bully Christians.
This is, as I have written previously, part of the continuum of criticism-verbal hazing-hate speech-legal discrimination that leads ultimately to violent persecution of target groups. I want you to think about this so that you can recognize it for what it is when it happens again.
I have no idea if the infestation of killer bees is over for this blog. I’m a baby blogger, so this is all new to me.
I only know that Public Catholic is for those who want to contribute and participate in a giving, sharing way. It is not for swarms of killer bees.