Adversarial Communications between Theists and Nontheists

I think it’s really unfortunate that some people are adversarial in their exchanges with people who do not share their views. In exchanges between theists and nontheists, I have seen people from both sides do this. Furthermore, the problem seems to be getting worse.

I am not sure what to do about this other than try to raise awareness, especially of behavior that is verbally abusive (see here for categories.). Here are some examples. Feel free to post others in the combox, but please try to anonymize them; I’m really not interested in calling out people by name here.

Mind-Reading and Attributing Negative Motives

Example: “Then he is disingenuous feigning ignorance of “naturalism” when he follows a blog with that title and materialism.”

Example: “Some people like #$$%# are very concerned about X. So they adopt a certain tone for public consumption. It’s part of the sales pitch for X.”

This is a highly abusive statement. It begins with mind-reading: the speaker or author presumes to know another person’s thoughts, motives, etc. To make matters worse, the author attributes negative motives  to the other person.

Name Calling and Other Insults

Example: “No it’s that you are a f!@#$%^ idiot who doesn’t even know about philosophical terms yet you are wasting everyone’s time with your ignorant blather and irrelevant polemics.”

Example: “The belief that you are wrong is always a safe bet. You can bank on that.”

Example: “Actually, I have given the reason. The fact that you’re logically challenged is not my responsibility.”

Example: “Since you’re chronically forgetful, I’d remind you once again ….”

Example: “The argument is simple to understand. Why is that hard for you? Do you really need that much coaching? “

Trivializing

Example: “Life is full of little tragedies like this. How shall we ever cope?”

About Jeffery Jay Lowder

Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.


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