A very odd thing I’ve noticed is that online atheists only know how to be on the defensive. Many of my friends have observed that this is because they’re on a one-trick pony, and their one trick is rejecting all arguments presented to them. This generally doesn’t work with me because while I’m willing to answer questions, I’ve no interest in trying to force people to believe anything. To that end, I made the video, Dear Lack of Belief Atheists, I’m Not Your Father:
This puts online atheists who want to “argue” with me in a difficult position, since if I will simply accept that they don’t accept an argument, they’ve got nowhere to go. Some of them merely say, “OK”. I’ve even had a few of them thank me, which I find a bit odd since they all came to me, I didn’t seek them out. It just seems a bit odd to me to walk up to someone then thank them for not talking to you.
But the ones who do want to argue now need some way to try to get me to prove things to them. And while there are several techniques that I see, the one I find oddest is what I’ve called strategic narcissism. Basically, they tell me about how they don’t find arguments compelling. In general, I tend at this point to ask why I’m supposed to care, though of course I’ll vary the specifics with the circumstances. And then the usual response is to get offended. I’ve had more than a few tell me that they’re magnanimously overlooking my rudeness. I’ve never yet had one tell me why I’m supposed to care. Now, I doubt that they’re genuinely so self-absorbed that they think everyone must truly be interested in their (lack of) thoughts; I suspect most of this is various people trying various things combined with an evolutionary monkey-see-monkey-do approach, but it is none the less a very strange thing to be on the receiving end of. I’m almost tempted to start developing better rhetorical strategies for atheists just so I don’t have to listen to all of the terrible ones all the time. Almost.