Am I Being Unfair?

I have renewed activity in posting and answering comments. I know I have ruffled some feathers in terms of the responses I have given in the comments section. One poster by the name 'Leann' came by and gave what I thought was a minor sermonette trying to save us all before it's too late. As I explained in the comments, I felt a bit offended that a total stranger came by and just dumped a pity-sounding sermon on us. Perhaps I overreacted to it as one reader suggested. I can admit that perhaps I did. My apologies if I overreacted- I didn't think I was doing that. But sometimes I react a bit heated if I feel insulted or offended and I can overreact to something if I am rubbed the wrong way or if I misunderstand a reader's tone or motives in posting. I'm as human as anyone here and so I see no problem in admitting mistakes. I am glad that a reader, Pat, and myself have cleared up a misunderstanding and apologized. There's nothing more that I like than being on good terms with good people.

I want to make a statement here. My purpose in counter-apologetics is to give fellow skeptics/infidels some ammunition so they can defend their skepticism. I do believe in personal evangelism but I believe in getting to know someone and evangelizing them on a personal, friendly level. I do not intend to engage in any evangelism here and I do not expect anyone to try and evangelize me on here. My chief purpose on this blog is myth-debunking and counterapologetics, period. For skeptics- that is. I am not out to deconvert believers on this blog and so I do not feel the need to befriend any Christians for any purpose of evangelism because I am not on here to do that.

I really do not consider evangelizing sermons to be comments on here. John Loftus and I can disagree over this and if he tells me that it should be allowed, I have no trouble abiding by his deicision. But I do not like spam-like sermons and that is what I felt Leann's post was. It's possible that I misunderstand the nature of spam and what is spam-like. I felt that Leann had nothing of value to share with us but to simply warn us to repent before it's too late. I didn't consider that to be a comment and that is why I wanted to delete it. If folks do consider that to be a comment, I can be persuaded to allow it if they want to correct my misunderstanding and help me out. I consider myself a reasonable fellow and I am open to constructive persuasion by both skeptics and Christians alike.

However, some readers, it seems to me, think that I am being unfair. I am willing to hear some Christians out if they think I am being unfair and unnecessarily rough. I am not persuaded that I am but if some Christians beg to differ and want to offer some constructive criticism that they believe will illustrate otherwise, I am all- ears actually. Let me extend this to my fellow atheists on here. If any of my fellow skeptics think that I have been a little too rough with some readers or elsewise, I am open to some constructive criticism on how I can respond better.

Even though I consider myself a reasonable fellow, that doesn't mean that I consider all criticism in need of heeding. I do believe that there are some Christians who are hypersensitive and perceive almost anything as a threat or done out of spite. The fact of the matter is that I see no reason to accomodate every person who may be hypersensitive and will whine about everything not coated in sugar. There are some Christians who are so sensitive as to think that when Jesus said "He who is not with me is against me" think that all criticism is a hateful attack and the only thing positive can come from fellow Christians. Anything from a non-Christian is, by necessity, made out of bitter hatred and a desire to persecute Christians because they supposedly hate the truth Christians embrace and that heathens are, by nature, incapable of offering positive, constructive criticism.

These folks I try to avoid. I believe that such folks are actually in need of counseling and perhaps medication. I believe that these Christians are victims of a horrible persecution complex and they scream "Persecution" at the least bit of criticism. They see all criticism from any non-Christian sources as an attack and believe that they are zealously hated. They see a conspiracy in the world to silence or even kill them. I sincerely and honestly hope that such folks get the help that they need. If I had that terrible of a complex, I would seriously consider going in for psychiatric treatment.

There are other Christians, while not as paranoid, do believe that anything not made with a tone of absolute praise, is in fact condemnation and an attack against them. These folks tend to think that anything that is not super sugar-coated is an attack against them and they tend to whine about how persecuted they are. I think these folks are a wee-bit too sensitive and while I am not sure that they need medication, I do think of them as having serious issues and in need of counseling. These folks tend to see a possible conspiracy in anything that is not pro-Christian and they tend to see most of everything in a black-and-white, "us vs. them" mentality. They feel free to dish out some very judgemental condemnation against the world and when the world reacts sourly to it, they tend to react "See! I told you they hated me because I am a Christian!" What they tend not to see is that their persecution is a self-fulfilling prophecy. They go out and let the world know what filthy scum us heathens are and when the world of heathens responds negatively, they whine about persecution.

I don't know how many Christians fall into these categories but I have seen it before and I suspect that some readers on here fit perhaps into the second category. My point in explaining these kinds of Christians is to illustrate a reasonable boundary in terms of accepting criticism. While I will not accept any criticism from the first category, I am open to accepting criticism from the second category if they honestly believe that I have done some injustice to them that requires an apology. But generally I have a hard time taking these groups of Christians all that seriously. Folks from the second category do have some cogent criticisms from time to time and can be forgiving of injustices by "heathens" while the first group will never forgive anything bad by a "heathen" unless that heathen converts to their faith. The first group will hate you until you convert while people from the second group doesn't really but many tend to feel sorry for you and will even pray for you but are able to forgive you and even accept a criticism from time to time as long as its doused in sugar-coating.

This being said, I am open to constructive criticism here...



Benny said...

I think some people became unnecessarily heated in that thread. Myself definitely included. A new rule I've set for myself is to not judge anyone by their first post in a discussion. *Especially* one that I find offensive. Instead, I'll wait for additional posts or try to engage them to see if they belong in group 1, group 2, or were just mis-understood.

John W. Loftus said...

I don't want any spam-like sermons here at DC, okay? Team members who have the power of administrator at DC can decide for themselves whether a comment has crossed the line. Since I'm not interested in spelling out exactly what a spam-like sermon looks like, when any administrator says it's a spam-like sermon, then it is one. If others object then they object, that's all.

This reminds me of a preacher-type story I used to tell. A farmer hired a guy to separate potatoes as they were being dug up. "Separate them into three piles" he said. "Put the large sized ones here (pointing), put the medium sized ones here (pointing), and put the small sized ones here (pointing)."

Well after 3 hours the guy came back to the farmer and said, "I quit." "Why?" said the farmer. "Is the work too hard for you?" "No" said the guy. "But the decisions are simply killing me."

Have fun deciding. ;-)

pat said...

Hello Matthew,

It sounds as though you are still thinking about deleting Leann's comment/entry... imho, I think that would be a shame. As Jose pointed out the fact that her comment indeed spurned much dialogue... which is a good thing right? If you delete her comment then that would leave a gaping hole in that thread. It's just my opinion though and I do tend to enjoy freedom of speech and religion.


adam s said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John W. Loftus said...

Adam, that was an easy choice. Thanks for an example. ;-)

adam s said...

man, you couldnt tell i was being sarcastic? jeez, that took alot of effort.

Matthew said...

Pat said:

"Hello Matthew,

It sounds as though you are still thinking about deleting Leann's comment/entry... imho, I think that would be a shame. As Jose pointed out the fact that her comment indeed spurned much dialogue... which is a good thing right? If you delete her comment then that would leave a gaping hole in that thread. It's just my opinion though and I do tend to enjoy freedom of speech and religion."

Pat, thanks for your comment. I am actually very content in putting this whole thing behind us. However before I declare it to be history from this point on, I wanted to explore one option as I close this chapter in this blog's history- and some people like a fellow named Ken from "Ten Minas Ministries" and a fellow named Jose have complained about my approach.

In case there is even the smallest cogency to their remarks, I wanted to give them a fair enough hearing for them or for anyone else who wants to air an opinion about my activity so far. If all past heated exchanges are forgiven and everyone is content to move on and dialouge on more friendly and peaceful terms-great!


adam s said...

i dont think you should delete any comments because we really dont have to read them if they are lame, plus, they might be really funny (like mine was) and then get deleted. besides, one of the best testimonies against christianity is the stupidity of most christians. e.g., today i was listening to some calvary chapel pastor within the first five minutes of his sermon the progression went from;
people who believe in evolution are; rediculous, blind and hard hearted, to; you shouldnt spend time with them.

Derek Berner said...

Actually, you misquoted Jesus slightly but significantly: In Mark 9:40, he says "for whoever is not against us is for us". While you can find plenty of Christ's sayings that would indicate otherwise, this particular one is frequently used as ammunition against the "us versus them" mentality of Christians.