I checked out the link and was both amused and disturbed by it. It seems that by simply identifying yourself as atheist, or by expressing anything contrary to Catholic dogma, you are instantly labelled a troll.
What was glaring to me, though, was the complete unwillingness of the theists there to engage in any honest, rational debate about anything opposing their beliefs, just incredulous dismissals and name calling. I encourage anyone who hasn't done so to click on the link Hatter posted and see for yourself, but here's a start:
After atheists are accused of being aggressive, angry, ignorant, and ill-mannered, Hatter (as his alter-ego Doug Fo)
chimes in with:
Ill mannered? Now some might be, sure. So tell me, what’s the polite way to inform someone that their entire life has been centered around a delusion? A delusion that tells people that an all powerful invisible being had to sacrifice himself, to himself (but only for a long weekend), in order to avoid his own wrath again his own creations that he made in full knowledge they weren’t going to live up to his own standards.
To which the OP responds:
The way you’ve re-stated the theory of the atonement is not totally wrong per se, but it is the reductio ad absurdam tactic: reduce things to a ridiculous minimalistic statement so you can dismiss it. This can be done with anything: to continue my football analogy I could say, “Geesh, people pay good money to watch eleven men in tight pants running around a field knocking each other senseless to chase a piece of inflated pigskin across a white line on the ground?” If someone explained football like that you’d rightly dismiss him as not a serious debater.
At which point I can no longer resist getting involved, and post:
Regarding Fr. DL’s football example, if the totality of an individual’s understanding of the game could be summed up with “Geesh, people pay good money to watch 1. eleven men 2. in tight pants 3. running around a field knocking each other senseless 4. to chase a piece of inflated pigskin 5. across a white line on the ground?”, you are correct that a knowledgeable football fan would most likely consider such an individual ignorant. However, it would take very little effort to inform this individual that:
1. 2 teams of 11 men each (for a total of 22) are on the field during game play. 2. The players also wear protective padding over most of their bodies, helmets to protect their heads, and differently colored and numbered jerseys to identify each team and player. 3. Well, you pretty much got 3 right. 4. Early footballs were made of inflated animal, including pig, bladders, but present-day footballs are inflated rubber bladders encased in leather. 5. One team (on “offense”) tries to advance the ball over the length of the field to cross their opponent’s goal line in order to score 6 points (a “touchdown”), while the opposing team (on “defense”) attempts to stop them from doing so. If the offense scores a touchdown, they have the opportunity to then score another point (the “extra point”) by kicking the ball between the upright goalpoast erected at the end of the field, while the defense, accordingly, attempts to prevent them from doing so. After a touchdown and extra point attempt, the scoring team will then kick the ball to the opposing team and the teams’ respective offensive and defensive roles will reverse.
Now, there are plenty of particulars about football that my description does not explain (field goals, the 4-down system, punts, etc.), not to mention the myriad nuances it usually takes one years to recognize and appreciate about the game. But with a single post I have easily demonstrated and corrected the obvious errors in this person’s assessment of football, and increased his knowledge of the game substantially.
Why is it that no one here seems willing or able to do the same regarding Doug Fo’s statement?
My comment is currently being moderated, so we'll see if it makes the cut.
A few questions for you, Hatter. What's the story (if any) behind using the Doug Fo handle rather than just good ol' Hatter?
Who is abb3w? Is it someone already on WWGHA? If not, can we get him here? He's awesome!