Q&A – How Do I Deal With Online Village Atheists?

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“Hey James. I have a general question for you, if you don’t mind. I’ve recently stumbled upon a YouTube atheist by the name of darkmatter2525 who posts regular videos about atheism. I’ve also visited a Facebook group called Life After God, which I think focuses more on humanism. How do you defend your faith against these types of people?”

-Tsang.

The atheists you just referred to, Tsang, I’d tend not to engage on their home turf. Even though a popular atheist YouTuber, for example, might promote fallacious reasoning that might, for instance, commit the genetic fallacy or a false dichotomy, I still wouldn’t challenge him on his own YouTube channel or Facebook page (even though one might feel the intellectual urge to). I used to think that this was an effective way for spreading my views. However, after some years of engaging all kinds of critics I have gained several valuable insights. For instance, engaging “darkmatter2525” at his channel would be mostly pointless (though not always, more on this in a moment). Atheists like him are already fixed in their beliefs and more often than not they have no intention of actually familiarizing themselves with opposing viewpoints. Rather they resort to ridicule and mockery while also dismantling straw men caricatures. This is why the term “village atheist” is so appropriate in capturing such atheists. It is easy to mock others, but it is not so easy to be patient in attempting to understand them. The former suggests intellectual immaturity.

Also note that these atheists make a living from their sites and YouTube channels. It would take something quite miraculous (did I say miraculous? Oh boy.) to get them to change or convert to any other worldview. It is a lot to give up especially given that some of them make a decent buck from ad revenue alone. So, the theist’s arguing on the atheist’s turf would generally not prove very fruitful.

But, to be charitable, it would be unwarranted for me to generalize all atheists in this way. I’ve seen atheist writers who are far fairer, more reasonable, and who at least attempt to understand that of which they dismiss. However, I think these atheists still present weak arguments in several ways. They present weak arguments in favour of their atheism, against religion in general, and Christianity specifically. Although I really appreciate atheists who aren’t like the common village atheist I often don’t find myself agreeing with them. However, by saying that I perceive their arguments to be weak is not the same as saying one shouldn’t consider them or concede that they give us a need for deliberation. For example, I don’t think the probabilistic problem of evil somehow undermines God’s existence, or supports atheism (as opposed to say agnosticism or some other worldview), but I don’t think we should just sweep it under the carpet.

Now, an unfortunate component to internet atheism is that whenever (or at least on most occasions) atheists conglomerate in large numbers they represent a hate group. You’ll know what I mean when you glance at YouTube comments, on their sites such as the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science & Reason, and even in their gatherings at the Reason Rally or on Blasphemy Day. I wouldn’t say that these gatherings are hateful in of themselves. However, most would think that the atheist’s resorting to deliberately offending others crosses the line of decency. This is certainly not to say that my own religious beliefs, nor anyone else’s, are exempt from scrutiny and criticism. I invite criticism but there is a line that one should not cross. I also believe that atheists, like everyone else, have the right to gather, be in community, and represent their beliefs. No-one should dispute that, however, it is the atheist himself who turns these gatherings, whether they are in person or online, into hateful movements. Now, this is also not to say that atheists are by their very nature hateful. Certainly not. I know atheists who are not at all in this way inclined, and I don’t wish for readers to perceive me as implying that that is the case.

So, should the Christian engage atheists on their home turf then he should be ready for the zealous acolytes to depart the mother nest and converge en masse. This usually renders discussion pointless. However, there are some notable cases when this has actually led people to reject atheism. In one case, Richard Morgan witnessed how atheists on Richard Dawkins’ personal site repeatedly insulted and berated a Christian visitor who only ever remained polite and humble in his responses. Morgan was repulsed at how some of the online atheists actually wished for this Christian to die; Morgan, now a Christian, explains that “I’m not condemning all atheists. I’m talking about anonymous atheists on internet discussion boards and the messages they express which are extremely negative, puerile, [and] full of hate…” (1). Other atheists have similar stories to share through how atheist hate has actually led them to reject atheism and embrace another worldview; consider Judith Babarsky and Peter Byrom for example.

So, it is not entirely impossible that one could engage atheists on their home turfs and actually win converts, but I wouldn’t be the one to say that it the most effective way to do so. It is also certainly not an effective way through which to have a substantive discussion. However, winning one soul for Jesus is certainly worth the effort and so I believe Christians should discern for themselves if such engagement is worthwhile.

Moreover, I would urge fellow believers to not stress too much over such atheists. Just because they might have a large following doesn’t somehow make their arguments good or their worldview coherent. I often feel that some Christians put too much attention on such matters of which diverts attention away from the real need of sharing the gospel and winning souls for Jesus. It also leaves some Christians annoyed and angry. I think we just need to accept that village atheists exist and go on about our own work. Personally speaking I certainly don’t tend to lose any sleep over them and so shouldn’t other Christians.

Now, with some of my preliminary thoughts out of the way we can tackle your question directly, “How do you defend your faith against these types of people?

Simply, I put in the effort into writing about it and share my work through as many avenues as possible (sometimes with great results). Over the last few years I have built up this site with a decent amount of emphasis placed on contemporary atheism. I consider what they say and try to be fair in my analysis and I think that this is a good way to go about it. Creating a space where one is able to push back against false beliefs is important. I show why I believe that common atheistic arguments are weak in that they do not go through to their logical conclusions, that the arguments against Christianity and Jesus’ resurrection are particularly frail, and how atheism itself fails to be a logically coherent worldview. In this way atheists are welcome to engage me at my site in the comment sections below. There I try to be fair and allow them the opportunity to voice their views without others jumping down their throats (like what would happen if I visited an atheist site). Sadly, however, I haven’t always engaged visitors to my site because I often haven’t the time, or else I have no intent of engaging the critic on a matter I’ve already written about on my site.

I hope I answered the question.

References.

1. Sun E. 2011. Former Dawkins Atheist Richard Morgan Continues to Praise God. Available.

53 responses to “Q&A – How Do I Deal With Online Village Atheists?

  1. Darkmatter is certainly not one to care for in the youtube atheist community. His videos are good quality wise but whatever arguments he makes are buried underneath a ton of dirty jokes. In other words, it’s a channel dedicated to stroking ego and bias, it doesn’t challenging anything.

    • Oh so jokes are not to be taken seriously? A joke or mocking, is there so that you can see how deep down the rabbit whole you are. Just like we mock creationists or moon landing conspiracy believers.

      All religions are subject to mocking, because they are indeed childish superstitions.

      • Why would I take a joke seriously? If I laugh at a joke I’m not being serious, am I?

        “All religions are subject to mocking.” True, but why stop with religion? Ever heard of Jesus Mythicism? Anyhow, I find mockery to be pretty hopeless in the long run. It stings in the present but wears off awfully fast once the debate is over. I’m not sure about you, but I want to be a threat to opposing views, not a mere nuisance.

        • Of course you can be serious while telling a joke, it depends on the subject. It’s not like the jokes are being directed at someone who is being tortured, they are being directed at an IDEOLOGY.

          I am a threat to the opposing site, logic is a “bitch”.

            • You mean like Elon Musk? The brightest minds on this planet are atheists, while believers are the nut cases in corners screaming Jesus is cumming.

              Study after study shows religion as a psychosis, a type of narcissism that works with dopamine to make you feel good. Like a child with a candy bar that keeps eating sugar, knowing it’s bad for him.

              Religion is a turd covered in sugar, known to make children loose a grip on reality and lead to an average loss of 5 point in the IQ bar.

              So no, the joke is you.

          • I can be serious, but if someone’s not laughing it’s either a dud or it’s offensive to the listener. When it comes to atheist mockery they often use racial slurs (i.e. desert people, a slur Dark Matter has been guilty of on numerous occasions) or make fun of cultural diversity (i.e. ritual purity laws, collectivist cultures, etc.). Both of which are not funny in the least. I hardly see evidence of IDEOLOGY being mocked (apart from views such as young earth creationism), it’s usually the above two. If you can’t respect the diversity of humanity you don’t deserve respect yourself. I agree with mocking outrageous views, and that includes religious ones, but if anti-theism becomes a door to racism it’s you who should be ridiculed.

  2. “Atheists like him are already fixed in their beliefs and more often than not they have no intention of actually familiarizing themselves with opposing viewpoints”

    No, atheists like him require real evidence, not childish apologetics. We wont believe that donkeys and snakes can talk unless you shows us that indeed they can, your words along with the words written in ancient books are not evidence of anything.

    Either it’s empirical evidence or it’s meaningless dribble.

    It’s up to you to continue down that rabbit hole of lies and deception that is the church and its religions.

    I rather be slapped by the truth, than kissed by a lie.

      • But the main source for your beliefs does. You simply twist reality to fit your bias. It is highly unscientific and irrational.

        You may think your answers are rational, but they are not, they simply confirm your biase.

        Go learn about the difference between pseudoscience and actual science.

        The only reason you believe your doctrine, is because you are from a country that carries that culture, if you were from Afganistán, you’d be defending Mohammed, and Krishna if you were from India. Your beliefs are based on geography, not on evidence, and just like the others, you deny this glaring fact.

        Apologetics is exactly what it is, it’s creating apologies for irrational information to explain your irrational bias; pseudoscience.

          • I just told you, all the stuff that you are posting is APOLOGETICS, they are CHEAP excuses that are ILLOGICAL, they ONLY make sense to YOU and people who WANT to believe.

            ANYONE with a critical mind, would LAUGH at your posts. They are pseudoscience.

            I don’t know how it is that you don’t understand that.

            YOU have NO evidence, just TALK and talk is CHEAP. ANYONE can come up with an excuse that fits their bias.

            That’s how ALL religions work. That’s why Muslims believe they are right and you believe you are right, because NONE of you actually KNOW how to analyze data.

            PSEUDOSCIENCE.

            • If your brain, and consequently your mind, simply “evolved” over millions of years from randomly-produced chemical accidents, please explain why you consider yourself to be “rational”?
              Where exactly did your so-called “critical mind” come from if it is composed solely of unintelligent, material chemical substances?
              You mention the word “illogical” – just where did you obtain your objective and immaterial “law of logic”? From a purely material brain, I suppose?
              For a creature that actually believes it is descended from a cosmic “accident” billions of years ago, in a pond composed of “primeval sludge”, you surely can’t take yourself seriously?

              • Oh boy, we have ourselves a creationist on our hands.

                Where did your god come from? Can you PROVE where he came from? and how did he produce himself from NOTHING and come out FULLY formed with intelligence?

                What does it matter where we come from? You were once a sperm, does that bother you? Does it make you any less of an adult today? Would it have made a difference if you would have been a grain of sand? If you were still able to be an adult today?

                Rationality is not a result of the materials or the processes that produced it.

                Rationality is based on empirical evidence. You could be created by a god and be Hitler, or you can be created by evolutionary processes and be an Einstein.

                Your answer to all your questions only produce MORE questions.

                YOU have NO answers, only WORDS.

            • Then why bother to be here. You allege everything I say is nonsense? You’ve done what you’ve intended to do yet you still persistently spam my site. I shall concede then that everything I’ve ever written on, and anything related to God, is nonsense. Now there is no point in you being here. Will you kindly leave.

  3. Dorian seems to have a problem with civility. He appears unable to have a discussion without resorting to insults. Not only does he disagree with Christians, he seems to actually hate them. Why else would he use such derogatory language? If he claims it’s in response to derogatory comments made about him and other atheists by people claiming to be Christians, then why not demonstrate the alleged moral superiority of the atheist by simply ignoring such insults?

    • I quite agree. I would mention, however, that it is impossible for any atheist to demonstrate “moral superiority” because his own worldview cannot account for the existence of objective moral values in the first place.

      • So I’m supposed to accept all these insults and turn the other cheek? Dream on. We are demonstrably morally superior than religious people, because we take responsibility for our own actions, instead of accepting the blood shed of another individual for our actions. Your jesus atonement is nothing short than an escape goat for your immoral actions.

        A killer could be in heaven with his victims simply by saying “I love you jesus”. That’s pure irresponsibility.

        So get off your pathetic high horse and face the music. And NO, I will not bow down to anyone who is insulting me, I will return the favor, each and every time.

        • Interesting to note that you, as an atheist, consider yourself “morally superior”! Objective moral values can only emanate from God – so where exactly do your own own “moral values” come from? What gives YOU the right to tell anyone they are “immoral? How do YOU decide what is right or wrong?

          • There are no objective morals. You e been convinced by a preacher that this is the case, but if that was the case, why are you not killing homosexuals as your god instructs in the Bible?

            And why does your god change laws? An objective and perfect law doesn’t require any change, ever.

            No, EXPERIENCE, tells me what is right or wrong. The accumulated experience of millions of people around the world as recorded by history, not the words on a book written by ignorant sheep herders who didn’t know where the sun went at night.

            If you truly believe in following the Bible, follow it to the word and go kill people as instructed.

            • So you don’t believe in objective moral values. Are you therefore saying that murder, rape, child abuse, or racism are not always wrong? If you honestly need the “experience of millions of people” to enable you to “decide” what is right or wrong, that merely reflects what a sad, misguided individual you really are!
              As for your arrogance in telling me what I should or should not do, based on your perverted view of the BIble, just what gives you the “moral right” to do so?

              • Why do you turn the coin around? Your bible says to murder, so are you going to murder, yes or no?

                NO, the experience from millions of people give m DATA that I can use to make an INFORMED decision, something YOU completely lack.

                You base your morals on an OLD useless book that tells you what to do NO MATTER if it’s consequences.

                Perverted? I don’t cherry pick, I READ the damn book and it’s right there in BLACK and WHITE.

                Do you have slaves?

              • Additionally, you claim that it’s a bad idea to require millions of people’s experience to make a judgement, yet you MAKE the judgement based on ONE book.

                YOU make a judgement EVERY day on what to pick from your bible. If you actually followed that book, you’d be in jail.

                That’s called hypocrisy.

    • As you refuse to answer my question regarding objective morals I must therefore assume that you do consider that murder, rape, child abuse, racism are not always wrong, and that the morality of those actions is purely dependent on human opinion at the time. In which case I consider you to be misguided – that is not an insult, just a fact..

      • Are you serious? I consider all those things wrong, but not because your little book tells me so, but because of empathy, and the understanding that killing each would make it impossible to live in peace and that comes from experience, and experience is what science is all about.

        I’m not misguided, you are misguided, accusing me of the very thing you are doing. Again, why are you not killing homosexuals?

        Are you not following the laws of your lord, or did Jesus change the laws? And if he did, why do you cherry pick and follow the 10 commandments which are part of the original 613 laws? And if you do follow the 10 commandments, why do christians work on the sabbath?

        Guess what? Humans made your book change, the customs between the first book and the second book had changed, and then came the reformation, CHANGING it again! It’s the same thing they are trying to do to the Koran.

        Do you have slaves? It’s you who is not answering the questions. Your morals are not based on the Bible, they are based on society.

        You are upside down on everything your mentioned.

        • Nice to see that you acknowledge that some actions are objectively wrong – even though you do not accept the real reason why.
          I am still at a loss to understand how someone who believes that God does not exist, and therefore considers the Bible to be irrelevant, thinks they have the “moral” authority to tell others what to do. Why are all your dubious comments and questions based on a twisted interpretation of a book that you consider to be total fiction in the first place?
          Could it be that you have no other arguments to support your “atheism”?

          • I didn’t say they were objectively wrong, I said I used data to determine whether I should act one way or another.

            If we lived in a place where children had to be eaten for breakfast in order for other children to live and the species to survive, and it was the NORM and EVERYONE did it, that’s probably what YOU and I would do.

            You just don’t get it. Your bias has your mind wrapped in a veil of darkness that you just can’t see thru.

            Holy smokes! Because the bible tells us to KILL, have SLAVES, it has orders from your own god to slaughter women and children, including the opening of the bellies of pregnant women, and done for NO reason other than what men used to live like back in those days.

            The bible reflects humanity in that point in time, that’s why there is NO mention of satellites, or the speed of light, or what the sun is, or what even oxygen is.

            Why on earth would I base my understanding of the world on an OLD and useless book?

            What twisted interpretation? READ YOUR BIBLE! It’s there in BLACK AND WHITE.

            • I certainly would not eat children, but obviously it would be quite acceptable and agreeable to you. As for having slaves, or even killing them, is it objectively wrong to do so – or is that just your opinion?
              Regarding murder, rape, child abuse, etc., I assume all these actions would be quite acceptable to you as long as the society round you agreed with your “opinion” and legalised them.
              As for requiring empirical evidence for the existence of God, that’s simply an excuse – you just hate the idea of there being a higher authority than yourself.

  4. An answer to your question…you don’t defend your faith to the atheist. Your life or how you live defend your faith. Your trust in Jesus will be seen in what you do not by what you say…Ephesians 6:12

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