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Monday, October 12, 2009

Why Won't I Answer Them?

Most of the time, I don't get very many comments. Shoot, most of the time, I don't get very many readers, period.

Sometimes, people will ask a question, and, if I have the time, I generally try to oblige with an answer. But not always. There are times when I will either give a very short answer, or none at all.


Well, there are several reasons given in "On Comments," the link to which you can find on the right-hand sidebar, but here's the one that usually applies:
I may just be convinced that you're looking for a pointless fight, and that nothing I say short of wholesale public abandonment of my entire belief system will satisfy you. I see no point in messing around trying to convince the unconvinceable.
There are plenty of people in this world that fit that profile. When I become convinced that a commenter hasn't read the post with reasonable care before trying to dissuade from my position, when in his comments he reveals that he hasn't even realized that his question has been answered in the text on which he's commenting, when he's not fully engaged the answers he's already been given, when I have every reason in the world to believe, from the commenter's own words, that he hasn't bothered even to try to understand what is going on, when I am convinced that he is simply skimming what I have written so as to get more quickly to his rebuttal and not at all genuinely interested in understanding--when, in short, I am convinced that all the commenter is trying to do is pick a pointless fight and waste my time, not only, "No, I am not going to engage him," but "Heck no, I am not going to engage him."

Lately, it's been the atheists. Atheists are hooligans in the intellectual world, posing as genuine inquirers but, in reality, behaving like nothing so much as chimps interested only in throwing feces at the church windows. But there have been others. Believe it or not, some of them have been in the church.


  1. When I become convinced that a commenter hasn't read the post with reasonable care before trying to dissuade from my position, when in his comments ....I am convinced that all the commenter is trying to do is pick a pointless fight and waste my time, not only, "No, I am not going to engage him," but "Heck no, I am not going to engage him."
    Nice run-on sentence.
    & yet not only did I read the entire post, I dissected & fisked it.
    I had hoped for a least a spirited debate, but I suppose that was too much to ask.
    'Intellectual hooligans' indeed. Always the 'high moral ground' w/you folks, even though it's an even playing field.
    Tempted to call you something unfriendly, but not feeling very hooliganistic today.

  2. Is that Mas Oyama next to Shakespeare's picture?

  3. Nice run-on sentence.

    I am prone to them. :)

    Is that Mas Oyama next to Shakespeare's picture?

    No, that is Taika Seiyu Oyata.

  4. What I’ve found interesting watching these recent discussions is how in the middle I am of you and the atheists, MOTW. And the other thing that I found interesting is how similar your stances really are (just exchange “God” for “no God” and many of the arguments are the same – I have also made this observation with those on the extreme ends of the left and right wings).

    MOTW said: “When I become convinced that a commenter hasn't read the post with reasonable care before trying to dissuade from my position…”

    I too hate this, but I have run into just as many conservative Christians that are guilty of this as I have liberal atheists. I think that this is something that happens a lot with people in general.

    One other thing I noticed is that atheists really do seem to get under your skin. I can also sympathize there…once someone irritates you it is very difficult to carry on an intelligent conversation with said individual (as you know there are certain bloggers that get under my skin and often my discussions with them end poorly). In the parts of the conversation that I saw with that one individual recently, I truly think that person wanted to engage in a conversation, but the way that he/she did so wasn’t as conducive as it could have been. The specific point brought up (objective morality) were interesting, but as I often observe, they were too caught up in the minutia of the cultural differences to see the bigger picture and larger similarities.

  5. One other thing I noticed is that atheists really do seem to get under your skin.

    I'm sure it looks like that. There's more than one reason. First, of course, is that they really are just annoying as a cockleburr up your backside. Generally ignorant as the nether regions and full of themselves to boot, engaging in arguments that they clearly do not understand themselves and grossly contradicting themselves, sometimes within one sentence! And they have the nerve to act as though they're in a position to lecture about ignorance and stupidity. So, yes, I find them annoying.

    But there are lots of people I find annoying that don't get quite the response from me that atheists do. The reason for that is that I often treat atheists in accordance with their own presuppositions. In their universe, they have exactly the same value as any other biological accident--that is, the only value they have is as food for some other biological accident. They don't matter, in cosmic terms, any more than a rock, a tree, a shrub, or a microbe.

    So many of them want to be free of God and yet somehow retain personal meaning and significance in their atheistic universe. It doesn't work, and my responses to them are often designed to highlight this.

    So, there you have it: they're annoying as the dickens, like poorly-raised, spoiled, loathsome little brats, largely a waste of time to deal with because they approach the whole conversation not with the desire to seek out truth but a desire to suppress it, and it seems to me that they need to be repeatedly confronted with the total lack of their own significance that their worldview demands. Add it all up, and I'm sure that it looks like they bother me a lot.

    I'll address your other points over the years. Only so much time in the day, you know, even if I do have a few more vacation days to burn.

  6. You have obviously had some very bad experiences with atheists to have so much built up anger towards them. Trying to hold a discussion someone who is an absolutist can be a mind numbing experience that is for sure. Most of the time absolutists seem to just want to beat you into submission to their way of thinking. I have been on the receiving end of this from both atheists and Christians and both lack intellectual honesty IMHO. And just to clarify, I said “seem to want…” because I have no idea what is actually happening in their mind and wouldn’t presume to claim to know their motivations or thought processes.

  7. Hmmmm. It's not so much that I've had bad experiences. I'm good at arguing, Dave. Toe to toe, face to face, I usually win--if by "win" you mean, "eventually leave your opponent sputtering venom but otherwise unable to mount an effective comeback." But my experience is that that sort of "victory" isn't worth much. Nobody's mind is changed, they just wind up PO'd.

    It's more that experience has taught me that atheists are in a somewhat different category than certain other sorts of non-believers. I can get along quite well with most Buddhists and Hindus. I generally get on quite well with Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons (once they realize they've got no chance on God's green earth of converting me). I generally get on very well with witches, believe it or not. Matter of fact, the best man at my wedding was a witch. I get along with them all even though they all know that I think they're going to wind up in the Lake of Fire. I get along with them because as far as they're concerned, my "errors" don't have all that big an impact on their own lives. For the most part, I can be a Baptist and they can be witches, and that's just fine. The JWs are convinced that I'm going to Hell, and I'm convinced the JWs are going to Hell, but on a day to day basis, in terms of how we each live, it's just not that big a deal.

    Atheists are not like this, at least not often. They are like Communists--no coincidence that communist states are often officially atheist--in that their worldview dictates that they eventually have to convert everyone in order to live like they think they're supposed to be able to live. You know that communists are continually telling you that the communism will never work as intended until the whole world is Marxist; the existence of filthy capitalists elsewhere inevitably subverts the communist system within any individual country, so they have to export their ideology. Atheists are the same way: look at some of the comments from at least one of them in the recent threads. Atheists are convinced that theism is responsible for all sorts of injustices against them and that it must, in order for them to live their lives the way they think they should be lived, eventually be eliminated.

    Put another, shorter way: I can get along well with Wiccans in part because they are perfectly content for me to be a Christian, and, their eternal destiny aside, I don't have a problem with them being Wiccans. Atheists, on the other hand, can never be content until theism is eliminated from the planet. I know this, and I regard them as actively threatening and hostile combatants in the world of ideas. And, of course, the reasons I gave in my previous comment also apply.

    I hope I don't sound confusing on this. Every comment you make is making me go, "And that's another thing!" :)

  8. Two, somewhat off-topic questions:
    1) Why are Jehovah’s Witnesses going to Hell? They are a branch of Christianity, so what makes their version of Christianity worse than yours? (Sorry if that sounded harsh…I wasn’t sure how to word the question any other way.)
    2) You mentioned a “Lake of Fire” a couple of times in recent comments. Does the Bible actually describe Hell as a “Lake of Fire”? My friend Steve was telling me that the Bible itself doesn’t really mention Hell all that much and the majority that is thought of in regards to Hell come from Milton and Dante. I’m no expert and since you have read the Bible multiple times, I figured you would know.

  9. Pressed for time, so I'll have to be brief.

    Interestingly, no JW would ever admit that I am a Christian.

    No, JWs are not Christians, Dave, not by any fair reading of Scripture. They are Arians, Arianism being a heresy that goes back to the fourth century. Christianity revolves around the person and work of Christ and what one believes about Him. If you don't believe who He clearly and repeatedly said He was, you are not a Christian. He said this Himself: "If you believe not that I am He, you will die in your sins." He made multiple, clear claims to being God incarnate, the creator of every created thing. JWs hold that He is part of creation, the first being that was created, that is, He is not divine. This is a gross error, so much so that since they could not find any manuscripts that actually said any such thing, they got an amateur linguist to do their own translation so that they could at least look, to the unlearned, like they have a leg to stand on.

    The JWs (Mormons, too) are an interesting case in that they really were founded as a means of making money hand over fist for the founder, Charles Taze Russell (or Joseph Smith in the case of the Mormons). This is not really possible to dispute historically; if you're interested in the details, you can find them in Walter Martin's The King of the Cults. But bottom line: no, they are not Christians, they are just one of many pseudo-Christian cults. The differences are not merely tertiary issues, like mode and timing of baptism, or the nature of proper church government, such differences ordinarily being what makes for different denominations, such as Presbyterians and Baptists, the differences go to the very core of who Christ is.

    Hell not mentioned all that much in the Bible? I beg to differ with the esteemed Otter (I presume that is who you mean). Try clicking on this link for the results of a simple search through the Bible for "Hell" and see what you think. There are other ways of referring to it as well, such as (obviously) "lake of fire."

    You will find multiple references to the "lake of fire" in Revelation chapter 20, for example, And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. I prefer to say "lake of fire" because it's pretty clear. "Hell" is an English translation of the Greek word, that is, "hades"="Hel," or in modern English, "Hell," not that the Greeks meant the same thing as the New Testament writers, but that is where the word came from. It's not that it's a bad word, it's just that it doesn't quite make the situation as clear as "lake of fire" does.

  10. Bother. That should have been The KingDOM of the Cults...