Good day on this the thirteenth day of December in the year of our Lord 2016.
I ran into an atheist on Twitter today who was repeating the talking point that if there were no people who believed in God, no one would call themselves atheists. This is a point as profound as saying that if human beings couldn’t produce the “b” sound, English would not use the word “blue” to name the color “blue”. Yeah, no kidding. I think it might have been news to the poor fellow that this point is barely fit for a kindergartener, and is a shameful waste of time when said to adults.
There are more than a few atheists on twitter who are:
- poorly educated
- not very bright
It’s hard to know what to do with such people. One wants to be kind, but on the other hand the kindest thing to do seems to be to point out that such people have nothing of value to say and be best off by far if they stopped talking and went and rectified numbers 1 and especially 2 and at least took number 3 into account since there’s not much they can do about it. Their lives are being based on a whole collection of lies, and it is in their best interest by far to throw the lies and out and rebuild on a solid foundation.
And I’m not just talking about repenting and believing in God. Learning what an argument is and how to make it would be a great idea. I had to explain to one atheist today that if he holds one of the premises of his argument to be unprovable, he can’t legitimately use it as a premise in his argument. (Specifically he claimed that he didn’t rape because of his empathy, and when I asked him for evidence of his claim he asked how he could be expected to prove a lack.) This is purely secular incompetence. I also had to explain to the same person that you can demonstrate you have understood somebody else’s point by explaining it in your own words to their satisfaction. He actually asked me how he could demonstrate he had understood my point! (I made that a condition of giving him an example of the rule I was quoted as saying which is why he was talking with me at all.) He made it all the way to being an adult without ever having encountered a technique for demonstrating that you’ve understood something!
It might be his fault for being badly educated—he might have attempted to assault all of his teachers until they gave up on him—but presumably it isn’t. And yet at the same time, he’s aggressively saying stupid things on the internet and acting as if he is competent at thinking and arguing when he obviously isn’t. That very incompetence means that one can’t use reasoned demonstrations of his incompetence to convince him—that would be like trying to demonstrate to a man with bad vision that he has bad vision using sharp pictures. The fault you’re trying to communicate inherently prevents that mode of communication. You can’t convince a man that he’s deaf by shouting at him.
There don’t seem to be many options open which have any plausible chance of working besides bluntly telling such a person that he should learn how to think and argue properly, and refusing all conversation and argumentation with him until he does. It’s not nice, but there doesn’t seem to be any other way to help such a man. Until he knows his current state is unacceptable, why would he change it? This is a most unpleasant conclusion, but I believe I’ve rediscovered excommunication. It’s almost like there was a reason for it in the first place.
God bless you.