The Danger of Cheap Shots

I was chatting with some Catholic friends, and (as happens more and more frequently as the election approaches) the subject of Mormons came up.  Which means you can pretty much set an egg-timer until someone says, "Not to mention magic underwear!"(I think in this case the elapsed time was about a minute thirty.  There's never an egg timer around when you need one.)The 'magic underwear' crack is pretty common (it's the featured visual on the billboards American Atheists are putting up for … [Read more...]

Clawing out of the Cesspool

Thanks all for the mostly good behavior on the two preceding posts on queer issues.  I know I've got a fairly diverse audience, and it can be hard to negotiate different frames of reference without misinterpreting or even just taking offense at the wrong thing (and thereby missing the insult your sparring partner spent a while crafting!).After looking at comment thread in the last post, Adam Lee was pretty put off by what he termed the "cesspool of anti-gay hate" that bubbled up.  I can g … [Read more...]

What would someone have to say to you to get you to break up your family?

For your own good at that.This isn't a hypothetical question.  There are plenty of examples where we think this kind of intervention is acceptable or even necessary.  In decreasing order of urgency: an abusive spouse, two people who bring out the worst in each other, a couple that's stayed together out of inertia, the person you're with at the beginning of a romantic comedy, etc.But no matter how urgent the need for this conversation, most of us would recognize that this is a really trick … [Read more...]

It’s Hard for Me to Hear You Over the Sound of Your Nazi Analogies

The "Let's Talk About How to Have Reasonable Discussions about Religion" post has over a hundred comments and the tone in some sections is pretty well summed up by one reader: I love this comment thread. Leah: My commenters are great and tend to argue in good faith and assume that others do the same. Commenters: NAZIS! People who disagree with me are NAZIS! NAZIS EVERYWHERE! NAZIS!! And speaking of which, today, I was frustrated by a post by Mark Shea in which he mockingly awarded a Son of … [Read more...]

This Doesn’t Look Like a Victory to Me

Over in Patheos's Catholic channel, Thomas McDonald of God and the Machine has run into a couple problem commenters.  Specifically, the kind of atheist who think posting the following in a Christian combox is equivalent to counting coup: The creation story of your own religion involves a man created out of dust who is convinced by his rib-woman wife to eat a magical fruit because a talking snake told her that it would make them like gods. The universe as we know it took much longer than six … [Read more...]

My Approach to Deconversion

In response to my recent post critiquing P.Z. Myers's tone and tactics, commenter Kogo questioned the assumptions undergirding my complaint.  Kogo wrote: You're really invested in the idea that there are a lot of disinterested "fencesitters" out there, aren't you, Leah?I mean maybe there's someone on this planet who doesn't have a pretty f*cking firm opinion about god, but I've certainly never heard from them. I've known a number of people who didn't have firm opinions about God, were … [Read more...]

If You Can’t Say Something Helpful…

Sometimes, when I complain about certain kinds of rhetoric used by atheist leaders, I think I'm not being clear enough.  When I complain about people who are tarred as 'angry atheists' I don't have a problem with feelings of frustration and urgency -- there's a lot to be upset about.So instead getting sucked into condemning anger -- a rhetorical trick that delegitimizes any strongly expressed critique of the status quo -- let's say I have a problem with choler.Choler was one of the four … [Read more...]