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  • Darwins +135/-3

Omen, I almost regret posting that reply. I was lurking the new forum when it first came on the scene roughly four years ago. In that time I’ve read nearly every one of the thousands of replies that you and the other big timers have posted, so I sometimes forget that you guys don’t know me nearly as well as I like to *think* I know you all. As sad as it sounds, I consider the regulars here like family- both the self dubbed “unfriendlies” and “friendlies” alike (I also don’t like dividing the house like this, but that’s another topic). I connect with you all in a way I can’t with my deluded friends and family. I guess that’s why I didn’t hesitate to call you on this, and I expect you all to do the same if you don’t agree with me. Geez, that sounded mushy…

Thanks Zankuu, you're the first person I think that has contributed some useful criticism. My concern is whether or not I'm being uncivil unfairly, which I have been accused of repeatedly with little regard to promoting solid criticism of realistic examples.  This has increasingly made me angry as people keep making accusations, but never adequately support the kind of accusations they make.

No worries, I knew your thick skin could handle it. I just don’t see how being uncivil at any time is helpful in any circumstance. Can you cite an example? I’m open to the idea that it could be useful, but I’ve never viewed an instance where that was the case and where patience and civility wouldn’t trump it.

Most theist come here with no intention of learning or listening, their primary goal is more often than not to do nothing but confirm what they want to believe.

I absolutely agree here. But don’t forget that we’re encouraging that type of Christian to engage us. Hell, look at the link on the front page- it’s as if we're begging to be converted:

Are you a devoted, unwavering Christian?

If you are a devoted, unwavering Christian, you know that God is real because you have seen him work in your own life. You have also seen God's love work in the lives of many other people, perhaps at your church or in your local community.

Obviously your belief is powerful and very meaningful to you.
Would you like to spread your belief to others so that they can see what you see? If so, we would love to hear from you.


That’s a trap if I’ve ever seen one (I think Gray pointed this out also), but it’s a very useful trap in getting Christians to post on the board. I believe the “devoted, unwavering Christian” that we goad into visiting won’t respond to the bludgeoning that perhaps a more open minded Vynn did well with. But to semi quote the Dude, "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, my opinion, man."

They have a support system built upon emotional dependencies and often other kinds of rhetorical reinforcements for which to rely upon ( such as tautological in group language in the bible, that either praises those who believe or condemns those who do not believe ).   This is a well known phenomenon and one I've deeply thought about, but I disagree on who is or is not 'enabling' them.  I find that enabling them involves encouraging their confirmation bias through any means possible.  Now that includes being aggressive and unapologetic, but it also includes not challenging their presumptions or engaging in rhetorical games where as long as you never address their presupposition they will always rationalize towards that presuppositional unquestioningly.

Hmph. Makes sense, damn it. I think I’ve made the mistake of grouping all theists together and thinking that one style and approach works, rather than treating them as individuals and acknowledging the uncompromising and confrontational strategy can produce results.

Whenever you point out a biblical contradiction, that person will always rationalize it through any effective means available to reach the conclusion that they've already assumed.  […] This is a little bit of a pet peeve of mine watching other non-believers engage in it, but I am not saying this to distract from any other criticism.

Confirmation bias is a bitch, indeed. I won’t pretend I’m not above it happening to me. There was a badass journal article with a study done on confirmation bias and just how much it affects us. I’ll see if I can find it. It’s worth a read.

You're going to mention Vynn in the next paragraph, but I really was a fundamental part of those discussions with Vynn and we became close friends.  I bludgeoned him with the same unapologetic fervor as I bludgeon anyone else.  […] If you don't challenge them emotionally on what they believe emotionally, they'll never budge from their pedestal.

Good point. I’ll have to really think about this as well. A couple questions: Do you think you were as aggressive with Vynn right out of the gates as you are with our recent theist visitors? And do you think your level of patience with theists has changed at all since hearing the same old arguments over and again?

I do hear your criticism about whether theist will listen or not, but in my experience I've never seen a person come here and convert that wasn't a fence sitter anyway.  On the other hand, I see not taking them to task on their claims as simple enabling them by confirming what they want to believe.

I believe (and I could be wrong) that TOT wasn’t sitting on the fence when he arrived, nor was Vynn. But you’d have to ask TOT and you’re more familiar with Vynn than I am, so you tell me. *shrugs*

I guess what I'd like to see from the members is the ability to evolve and adapt to the theists we get. If a logical castration is resulting in hostility and heavy bleeding from the decent theists, let's try something else. The same would go for when a less than innocent theist is taking advantage of the more gentle approach, then release the hounds. On the other side of the spectrum I've realized I'm guilty of letting too many dodges go unpursued. But I'm not suggesting we change our personality and become someone we're not, however, I do think a little flexibility would be good for the forum.
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