If you hang out in the right parts of the internet, and especially if you’re a Christian who ever talks about atheism, you’ll encounter a variety of atheists lecturing you about:
- Atheism just means a lack of belief in God, despite acting as if God doesn’t exist
- Atheism is a free-floating proposition with no consequences or presuppositions
- Theism is irrational
- Despite possibly being true
- There’s no evidence for God
- No religion has even a shred of evidence for it
- Evidence can’t exist for religion
And so on. Many of these people seem to be simply repeating things they’ve heard from more charismatic people. But among the atheists one meets, there’s a subset who is astonishingly angry. They’re extremely aggressive, and at the same time generally very poorly educated and uninterested in thinking. By and large, they do nothing but make extremely confident assertions and accuse you of logical fallacies in your response. Even if you didn’t make any sort of argument at all but just asked a question. And very curiously, they get almost frothing-at-the-mouth angry if you simply make contradictory assertions to their assertions.
One possibility for some of them is that they are cult recruiters. Many of their qualities are exactly the approaches of cult recruiters when interacting with skeptics in front of potential recruits. (The key is to realize that attacking the skeptic is showing off for the potential recruit, who in this case would be a non-cult-member atheist looking on.) I’m only at the stage of wondering about this possibility; the behavior seems to line up fairly well, but that’s circumstantial evidence at best. All sorts of things are compatible with all sorts of theories; compatibility is very weak evidence.
Another interesting possibility is demonic possession. Some of these sorts of atheists may be cooperating with demons for the purpose of sewing discord and disorder, and whatever the man may think the object is, demons are concerned with souls. To try to make Christians angry and wrathful would be a victory for a demon. Peace is the right ordering of the world according to God’s will; sin is, therefore, disorder. Demons like to scatter out and separate.
And again, actions merely being consistent with a theory is extremely weak evidence. I’m not trying to oversell this; while demonic possession is real it seems to be uncommon and so skepticism at any given possession is not the same thing as skepticism of possession in general. But the nice thing here is that erring on the side of caution is practical. At least it seems to me that the best thing to do after interacting with an anonymous demoniac online would be to keep the knowledge of God’s dominion over the world close to one’s heart, to keep in mind that Christ has defeated death and overcome the world, and to pray for the demoniac. That is also a very good strategy if it’s merely an angry unthinking blasphemer one is dealing with.