I’ve been doing this blog for a couple weeks now, and one thing I’ve learned is that talking about being polite is, well … boring. I’m thinking it might be interesting to liven things up a bit by leaving the area of politeness occasionally, and talk about ways atheists can engage with the world without worrying about ruffling feathers.
So let’s look at an area where it’s totally acceptable (IMHO) to stop worrying about being polite — debate forums that have been set up explicitly for the purpose of debating the merits (or lack thereof) of religion or atheism.
I’m not saying there aren’t any restrictions (moderation is often an issue), or that you always feel free to let fly with all the vitriol you can muster (I have many online “friends” who are devout believers, and I try to respect their feelings even though we’ve never met).
But if it’s an online forum, set up for the express purpose of arguing about atheism (or arguing about religion), then you don’t need to be closeted, you don’t need to worry that announcing your atheism will be a bummer or will distract people from the event at hand and make it “all about you,” or any of the other considerations that often motivate atheists to keep a lid on it in public settings.
Needless to say, not all non-atheists are equally fun to debate (or argue with, or hassle, or whatever). There are those really annoying believers — the cool ones who know that they don’t have some special line to God, they just have a faith that they believe in. Those people are a real pain.
Fortunately, those types of believers are a minority. The really awesome non-atheists are the ones who combine ignorance and arrogance for a perfect storm of nose-tweakability. You know the kind — the ones who insist the Bible is completely accurate because nobody’s ever sat them down and showed them the contradictions.
The ones who say the reason there’s good in the world is all because of God, and the reason there’s evil is all because of humans (without pondering who’s responsible for creating the humans in the first place).
The ones who say God knows everything — even the future, even all the bad things you’re going to do, even before you decide to do them — and then claim you have free will (without pondering what would happen if you used your free will to choose to do something God “knew” you wouldn’t choose to do).