Here's a positive review of my new comment policy on this blog, where I now moderate (approve) comments before they're published. One day in, I'm enjoying the lack of off-topic crazy comments from dogmatic religious believers.
I regularly exchange emails with the person who wrote what follows. John used to be religious, but now, like me, he's seen the atheist light.
John makes some good points. I don't know any atheists, which includes me, who go to religious sites and try to convert believers to atheism. But this churchless blog gets many visits and comments from religious people.
Why? Well, like John says, I agree that believers in God get a lot more defensive when someone questions their religion, than atheists do when someone questions their lack of belief in God.
Which makes sense.
I don't get upset when someone questions why I don't like country music. Since I don't have any attachment to that type of music, it doesn't bother me if a country music lover thinks I'm a fool for not being a fan of that genre.
Plus, atheists are used to being put down by religious people, while this is much less common for believers -- given that the vast majority of people in the world believe in some form of supernatural divinity.
This is the message I got from John today.
Hey Brian, I saw where you are moderating comments again. Good for you! I think I’ve talked about this before, but I can’t understand why religious folks go on sites like yours and try to convert people, or “prove” that others are wrong, or whatever. It seems very common.
I wonder if atheists go on religious sites and rant and rave and such? I would think there are some, but my suspicion is that it’s less common.
I kind of understand why the religious folks like to argue their points. I was never really zealous in my religious days. I was very serious about my faith, but I didn’t argue with many people who didn’t believe like I did. But I think it’s more threatening to have a believer’s beliefs questioned than it is for a non-believer to have their non-beliefs questioned. LOL If you know what I mean?
There were a few times that I got into a discussion with an intelligent atheist or agnostic and they would ask me questions that I just didn’t have the answers to. That was very unsettling!
I thought the cartoon that you posted was great, as well. Oh man, how accurate is that? I remember, in my early days of walking away from religion, I read a lot of Wayne Jacobsen’s material. At that time, he talked a lot about how religion always seems to have a hook in it.
“Invite your non-churched friends to the church picnic!” Why? Just so you can get to know that and bless them and see that they have a good afternoon getting to know some great people? NO! It’s so we can get them to come back, and eventually get them saved. And then they will tithe, of course.
And inevitably, if they get worked on long enough without getting saved, then they are normally discarded and the believers move on to someone else. Often with the attitude from your cartoon. I’ve heard many a church member say something along the lines of, “well, I’m glad they are going to hell”. Really?!?!? WTF? Ugh.
I have yet to hear of a blogger whose mind was changed by the religious comments on their blog. And vice versa.
In my experience, and in others that I’ve talked to, any time a person makes a big change in their beliefs, it’s usually because something happened to make them start thinking and seeking answers. Now, in that seeking they may come across someone who says something that will help them down the road a bit.
But the classic knocking on someone’s door out of the blue and converting them to your beliefs, or flooding someone’s comment section, usually doesn’t have the desired result. Most of the time, it actually works in the opposite direction! The person being preached to normally walks away just that much more sure of their own beliefs.
Thanks, as always, for the great posts.
Talk to you again soon.