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Challenging Christian Bloggers On Their Own Turf by Neil Robinson

i am right

Guest post by Neil Robinson. Neil blogs at Rejecting Jesus.

Is it ever reasonable for non-believers to comment on Christian blog sites? I know Bruce compares it with turning up at a church service and arguing with the preacher, and a recent comment on Debunking Christianity described it as ‘bad manners’. But are there circumstances where it’s reasonable to do it?

Can I suggest a couple of scenarios where it might be? I should declare first that I rarely comment on Christian sites – I have a life to live, after all – and have, I’d guess, done so no more than a dozen times in the past three or four years. This hasn’t been to promote atheism, but to counter the ignorance and intolerance of some Evangelical sites.

So here are my thoughts on when it’s okay to stray over to the dark side and engage with its denizens. First, is when True Believers arrive on my site and tell me, usually in no uncertain terms,  where I’m wrong. This is often for the same few reasons that are directed at Bruce: I don’t know the Bible well enough; I misinterpret it; I don’t know Jesus the way they do; I was never really a Christian. Having batted these ad hominems around for a while, some commenters decide there’s nothing for it but to recommend posts of their own. They provide links to their blogs that will set me and my reader straight. Now and then (but not always) I’ll take a look at and, if appropriate, comment on what they’ve written. After all, they have specifically invited me round to their place; I haven’t gate-crashed, they wanted me to visit so they could enlighten me. I have, as a result, the right to reply, to let them know they haven’t. I don’t, as a rule, argue theology or push any particular ideology, but I have been moved to point out that the Bible is open to multiple interpretations and theirs (or, I suspect, their minister’s) involves a considerable degree of cherry-picking to make it compatible with their orthodoxy. Of course, they have the right, and the means, not to publish my comment if it upsets them too much.

Second, Facebook’s algorithm – and that of other social media sites presumably — is fond of finding extreme Christian sites to add my much-neglected page. Invariably I delete these and tell the algorithm I want to see fewer posts of this sort. It complies for a short while before it decides I really do need to know that Jesus is my friend or that I’m headed straight to hell. (Honestly, you write a few articles that mention Jesus and God and the entire Internet thinks you want to become an Evangelical.) Now and then, and rather more frequently than I’d prefer, the nuttier sites that pop up announce that atheists have no basis for morality and are shaking their collective fist at God who’s feeling mighty wrathful about it. Alternatively, these sites find the need to headline the scourge of homosexuality, which likewise is bringing the Western world, and more specifically America, to the verge of destruction. Now I happen to be both an atheist and a homosexual (I don’t have any trouble with this word despite its use by some as a slur). I feel that, as sites disparaging either atheists, gays, or both have intruded on my FB page, it is again perfectly appropriate for me to respond, which, every few years, I do. Prejudiced, ill-informed, hateful opinions about me and my kind, be they atheist or gay, need to be challenged. These bloggers’ claims that their anti-atheist, anti-LGBT rhetoric is a ‘ministry’ or a demonstration of love are disingenuous. They are nothing of the sort.

So I suggest to these bloggers that they are wrong. I like, also, to remind them that their Saviour commands them to love their neighbours as themselves and to love and pray for their enemies, to which they invariably reply, ‘even the devil can quote scripture’. I have been known to point out too that Jesus expects them to feed the hungry, help the needy, and care for those less fortunate and that sitting at a computer for hours at a time, trashing non-believers and ‘sodomites’ (I do object to that one) isn’t what he had in mind.

Am I wasting my time? Almost certainly, but I can’t stand by as ‘loving’ Christians judge me, and others like me, as fit only for hell – and sometimes for more worrying, tangible fates in the real world.

Commenting on Christian blogs is not always for the faint-hearted, nor is it something I’d advocate. Many don’t even allow comments, so certain are they that they’re right. Occasionally, however – a couple of times a year – I feel compelled to counter the attacks on others.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    Neil, it’s totally understandable why you would want to respond to some of these bigoted, hateful fundamentalist evangelicals! Are you likely to change their minds? Probably not. Heck, there was a recent piece in “The Federalist” critiquing Dolly Parton for being accepting of LGBTQ people (and it raised quite an uproar).

    Sometimes I feel like engaging with a particular MAGA family member. Usually I try to change the subject, but occasionally I’ll butt heads with him. It rarely goes well. 🤣

  2. Avatar
    Ben Berwick

    I think it depends on what’s been said on any given Christian site, as to whether or not I’d challenge them. Sometimes it’s easier and better to ignore them, but sometimes a challenge needs to be made.

  3. Avatar

    I think it’s OK to challenge Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians, as well as MAGA acolytes, as long as you realize that you probably won’t change their minds. Their beliefs are exactly that—beliefs—and challenging them with facts and evidence is like speaking another language.

  4. Avatar
    Bruce Gerencser

    Dr. David Tee weighs in on Neil’s post. Of course he did. 🤣 I’d say go leave a comment on his post, but he doesn’t allow comments. Why? And I quote:

    “We would open up the comment section here if we got unbelievers who posted respectful posts that dealt with the topic of the post they were commenting under. But most unbelievers have a different content they usually post and it makes it a waste of time to entertain such frivolity.“

    In other words, unbelievers won’t say what he wants them to say.🤣🤣

    • Avatar
      Yulya Sevelova

      I bet that Tee Hee also won’t tolerate believers who take him on, when it comes to his lack of ethical behavior. I’m sure he censures and prescreens. No surprise !

    • Avatar

      Yet again Tee writes an article in which it is impossible for a reasonable person to agree almost any point he makes. How does he do it? And his obsession with writing in the third person continues to grate. I wonder if he has any regular readers at all?

      One point I might pick from his horrible jumbled nonsense is regarding biblical interpretation. Tee says

      “ If one wants to know what God said, then one has to go for the truth of his words, and how God intended those words. Interpretation does nothing but hide the truth”

      He contradicts himself. If one reads the words precisely (I’ll not go into the very obvious point that all reading is, by definition, interpretation), then they must mean what they say. I don’t need to work out how God intended the words, I need only read them. Of course, Tee daren’t concede this point because then he’d have to acknowledge the horrific nature of the bible if taken literally. What he really means is that the bible must be interpreted (another way of saying re-written) but only by him or those tiny few who agree with him.

    • Avatar
      Ben Berwick

      That sums him up. He says he wants ‘honest’ comments, but that merely translates as ‘agree with me’. He then throws a tantrum when called out on his unreasonable standards.

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