Recently, I’ve been in a very long discussion with an individual in the comments of one of my blog posts. This started with a TrueChristian using a tedious old gambit of insisting that atheism is a religion. Indeed, I was getting very close to a full card Bingo on the image that accompanies this post from all of the classic TrueChristian nonsense that my opponent, KD, used.
If you wish, you are more than welcome to read all of his posts and my replies. Then you can be sure to get exposed to every bad argument a theist can give an atheist and see the entire context in its glory. To find the excerpt on the original page, use Control +F to open the Find tool on your web browser and cut and paste a sample of the excerpt in to find it. I have no idea what a Mac user would do to replicate this. Last time I touched an Apple product was in 1983 in high school and it was an Apple IIe. 🙂
What I am going to do is use these comments to demonstrate some classically bad tactics to use in an internet discussion. It may serve as an example for atheists on what to expect from theists. It should also serve as an example to theists on how not to conduct themselves with atheists if they want to earn any respect at all. In any type of debate on any subject, using these are going to get bemused looks at the screen and maybe a chorus of laughter if you insist on repeating them.
1. Redefining words, ignoring context to choose a definition that was not intended by the author and redefining words so your pet idea is not defined in a way you don’t like.
Dictionaries are pesky things. They chronicle the definitions of words in a culture. They can cite several definitions if the definition has expanded from an original. To attempt to claim that atheism is a religion and claim that Christianity is not, ignores those definitions and their context. Unilaterally deciding that an author “really” meant something that they did not doesn’t work if they are right there to tell you that you are wrong.
For example, many theists do not like the term “religion”. They will insist that they do not have a religion e.g. a system of attitudes, beliefs and practices dependent on the belief in a supernatural force. They have found that the term religion has gained a negative connotation, thanks to the actions of the religious, and they want nothing to do with that legacy. They claim that they have “relationships” with their gods, ignoring that they do indeed have the attitudes, beliefs and practices based on their gods. Since they do not like the term religion, claiming that atheists are religious is an unsurprising tactic. It appears to be is no more than saying “you are no better than we are, so we can ignore your points”. (Incidentally, this Christian decided I must have been a Roman Catholic when I was a Christian. An unsurprising assumption, similar to the above, from a evangelical protestant type Christian).
“Do atheists have a personal set or institutionalized system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices?”
“I do not believe the Bible to teach religion but a way of life with a creator God who loves and desires humanity to choose him as opposed to doing it their own way.”
“Religion in the dictionary is not synonymous with god/s or the belief in god/s.”
My opponent also tried to redefine unconditional.
“I will teach them not to condemn anyone, not to judge, not to ardently believe they are always right and someone else is wrong.”
“God accepts everyone but not everyone accepts Him.”
“““If I spread a message of unconditional love and acceptance, how is this wrong or bad?””
““If I did not unconditionally accept or love you, my words would be negative towards your beliefs, practices, and attitudes.””
“Like taking part of a quote: “God loves and accepts everyone…” and neglecting “…but not everyone accepts God.” Which is not unconditional love or acceptance.”
2. Claiming that you have no time to support your claims by a simple cut and paste, but then continue to write massive posts of thousands of words. Continue reading