You’re Wrong and I’m Right!

In the county where I now live, there is a rather contentious measure scheduled to be voted on in November. While it’s not unusual to “take sides,” there was an article in today’s local paper where a woman who supports the measure was verbally attacked after she posted some information about it on Craigslist.

It seems that shortly after her comments were published, she received some emails from an individual who disagreed with her position. But rather than simply disagreeing, he wrote the following:

“F___ you environmental terrorists! Go hug a tree and I hope you get sniped and carted away to a place unthought of.”

In a second email, after she had posted some additional information about the measure, she received this message:

“Shut your filthy communist scum mouth!!!!!”

This was followed by multiple curse words, and then this:

“If you are interested in mutual combat, I’ll meet up with you anywhere with my bumpstocks and belts of ammo.”

She had also been called an “environmental Nazi” during the time she was trying to collect signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

It seems that nowadays this type of response is not at all uncommon. In fact, I frequently read similar interactions on Facebook where the “comment” section is filled with those who vehemently disagree with an individual’s religious or political perspective. And the longer the conversation goes, the more offensive the remarks seem to get.

And I wonder. Why is this happening? Is it simply a “sign of the times?” Does it have to do with the recent presidential election? It certainly seems intolerance of others is much more prevalent (and visible) during the past several months.

Or does this combative attitude … this disrespect and intolerance of others … go much deeper than external causes? Could it be that it’s actually originating from the core of certain individuals and their words and actions are simply manifestations of inner turmoil?

What do you think? Why do individuals feel it necessary to (verbally) attack those who disagree with them with such anger? Why do some feel the only way to express themselves is through offensive and degrading language? Is it personality driven? Or is it something else?

(Perhaps Victoria will visit and offer her input. 🙂 )

92 thoughts on “You’re Wrong and I’m Right!

  1. I think it’s not new. This latest election cycle has simply exposed the ugly underbelly roiling over the weaponization of the “moral majority” by the conservatives from the Reagan era. Now the chickens are roosting and the establishment GOP who embraced some liberal ideas like gay equality are discovering the religious dominionists won’t be dismissed. Rash Limbaugh and other Right Wing loons continue to pour fuel on the fire and liberals who have made legislative advances for cultural liberalism have discovered much like the GOP that it’s not enough to be “in control” but you must also win the war of ideas. Until Progressives can do that, we may as well be resigned to this upheaval every eight years or so.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. My opinion…..those who feel powerless and castrated in life use the anonymity of social media as a safe way to spew their vitriol without much danger of physical retribution. It is cowardice and it is despicable. I also see it on FB. Trump has unleashed a wave of uncivility never seen before in public discourse. Most of Trump’s BS comes in the form of tweets. I would love to see him level his garbage face to face with those he attacks. I also believe we will, as a society, come full circle and once again embrace tolerance and civility. Great topic.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is what happens when empires die. Yes, the US of A, or as I have been calling it, ‘Merikkka, since W. Shrub invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries that never attacked us nor could have, IS an empire.
    What else does one call an outfit that has over 800 military bases in foreign nations? What else does one call an outfit that is engaged in various wars of choice and countless “black ops” in close to 100 foreign nations? The US of A (‘Merikkka) IS an empire and it is dying. Yes, it is a slow death, but it is dying.
    Just a small FYI, I served honorably in the US Marines and did a tour in the useless Vietnam war with 5th Marine Regiment 1970-71.
    I love my country, but the gummint totally stinks.
    I agree with the previous comments. I do think tRumpski has allowed what used to be common decency to go down thE old drain. So few are even marginally civil today. Makes my life harder as I try every day to treat all I come in contact with the way I want to be treated.
    Ah well, you cannot fix stupid.

    Liked by 7 people

        • Sure, I know. But it was sarcasm to bring it up the way you did. Moreover, if anyone starts attacking your character, they will most definitely be moderated. That hasn’t happened. They just don’t like the way you put things. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • What would you say to me if I said I don’t like the way they put things? You would be right to say, “Suck it up, Branyan. You’re supposed to be an adult.”

            I’m not a fan of censorship.
            When somebody tells me, “Shut your filthy Christian scum mouth!!!!!” I figure they’ve lost the debate. It certainly doesn’t hurt my feelings.

            Censorship is a sign of weakness. The only reason to silence an opposing viewpoints is fear that those viewpoints are superior to your own.

            An anvil does not fear the blows of many hammers.


            • IMO, it’s not a matter of “hurting your feelings.” It’s a lack of respect for another human being. There are ways to get your point across when you disagree with someone other than calling them names and/or threatening them. To me, it’s a sign of immaturity and a lack of common decency when someone does that.

              Further, I’m not talking censorship, which has to do with ideas, not personalities.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Absolutely!
              Name calling and threats does nothing to advance a conversation.

              I was referring to the concept of moderating people who level personal attacks. You’re right. It’s a sign of immaturity and demonstrates a lack of common decency. Personally, I’d let those comments stand for the world to see.


        • @ Branyan
          Hello, Branyan … you “#$%&/(90))”#! A)(/&%e.

          I have never ever told you to “Shut your filthy Christian scum mouth!!!!”.
          I would never use that many exclamation marks for your god’s sake.

          You think censorship is a sign of weakness? Well, maybe it is in some cases. However, having one’s blog space bombarded by those who beleive pornography bible verses will convince atheists their arguments are wrong is enough to want to pull one’s hair out.

          Also, a perfectly valid reason one might want to silence you … or at least to try to filter the untreated effluence you so often espouse is so the conversation can move past ”Hello, my name is John Branyan and I am a Dickhead and will never try to have any sort of honest dialogue”.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Actually, I thought I’d removed you from moderation but I just checked and there you are! I think I may have forgotten to click on “save.”

          Anyway, you’re free to go. At least for the time being. 😉


  4. That’s a really good question, Nan. It seems to me that demagoguery and ideological polarization has won the day over actually listening and seeking to understand the other side and getting to know them as a human being. It’s a relational dysfunction of our soundbite culture.

    Liked by 2 people

    • …actually listening and seeking to understand the other side and getting to know them as a human being.

      Mel, that’s exactly why I spent 10+ fully committed years in the Christian lifestyle, ministry, and years in seminary. First I gained extremely detailed information, history, and exegetical theology of the 4th century CE Canonical Scriptures as well as know and understand Christian church-goers. I found it all very lacking in many areas, primarily in revelations of “their God” as well as a severe lack of biblical and Greco-Roman church origins. In other words, most Christian followers truly define the exact meaning of “faith” as well as the Placebo-effect and peer-assimilation… or orthodoxy. IMO and experience the “feeling” of acceptance and belonging is a powerful dopamine effect that blinds its seekers from larger truth and objectivity.

      Liked by 1 person

    • A very interesting comment, Mel as you tend to to use demagoguery and ideological polarization as almost the entire basis for your posts.

      I have never known you to actually make a single attempt to try to truly understand ”the other side”.
      While you will entertain other points of view it is merely as a vehicle to be able to dismiss them as you can eventually insert your faith at every opportunity.

      Of course, this is based largely on your presuppositional religious views which were so aptly demonstrated during your recent Trinity posts.

      There are many ways to verbally attack or be utterly dismiss of another person without once resorting to vernacular language.

      Religious apologists, as a group, tend to assume their position is the only correct one before a word has been written, even after their position has been repeatedly pointed out to be fallacious.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You are right that I’m biased and I have convictions about my worldview. And everyone who enters into any debate assumes they have the correct (or better) view, whether they are theists or atheists. It doesn’t mean they think they are right on every single point. And it doesn’t mean that meaningful dialogue cannot happen that will help both groups.

        But you are wrong by suggesting I don’t try to understand your view. I may misunderstand it at first, or make a misrepresentation of your view, but I don’t do it to malign. I will correct it when I see that this is so. And disagreeing with your view doesn’t meant I’m not listening, or even that I disagree with every point.

        Liked by 1 person

        • and everyone who enters into any debate assumes they have the correct (or better) view,

          Wrong. My view is subject to change depending on verified and thoroughly tested evidence.
          Where sufficient evidence is unavailable then ”I don’t know ” comes into play.
          But you consider this a failed answer, or non answer, don’t you, Mel?

          Your core views are not subject to change, being primarily dependent upon faith.
          As I expressed, should you be open to evidence then you would soon become an atheist.

          And disagreeing with your view doesn’t meant I’m not listening, or even that I disagree with every point.

          You disagree even before you post. This is what apologetics is all about.
          Defending faith – constructing a theological argument to fit your presuppositional view.

          Tildeb and Professor Taboo have demonstrated your fundamental intransigence in this regard at every turn. and you have always resorted to an apologetic answer, and where this fails, your somewhat notorious epithet comes into play: ”Whatever …”

          Liked by 1 person

          • “Wrong. My view is subject to change depending on verified and thoroughly tested evidence.
            Where sufficient evidence is unavailable then ”I don’t know ” comes into play.”

            You see, Ark, you reveal your worldview by your own statement. You say “verified and thoroughly tested evidence” This is scientific method, which we CANNOT use on a whole host of things. So, what you’re saying is that you’re not really open to anything that doesn’t fit into your scientistic worldview.


            • Correct.
              Current scientific methodology precludes the supernatural.
              Therefore, if one is asked to consider it, then obviously the first question should be;
              Upon what basis, Mel or for what reason should I accede to your request to consider the supernatural?

              I am very interested in your answer.


            • “Correct.
              Current scientific methodology precludes the supernatural.”

              I disagree with your premise. Science does not address the supernatural. As Eugenie Scott said when director of the National Center for Science Education, “Science neither denies nor opposes the supernatural, but ignores the supernatural for methodological reasons.”


            • Sorry, perhaps I should have written excludes.

              So, again, on what basis or for what reason should I accede to your request to consider the supernatural?


            • I would agree, scientific methodology excludes anything that cannot be tested. But, again, there are a lot of things that cannot be tested.

              I believe we should consider the supernatural when a natural cause doesn’t explain the phenomenon or experience. It’s doesn’t mean it is a supernatural event, but it is a possible explanation.


            • Sorry to be a stickler … but this post is not about science and religion. Mel just wrote a post on the topic, so please move your discussion there. (Hope that’s OK, Mel.)

              Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes, it is a sign of the times. Yes, it is a growing intolerance of others. Yes, it does reflect the inner turmoil of certain individuals.

    In a nutshell, what’s happening is the very predictable social unrest and instability which always follows major and/or rapid social changes. The changes, in this case, are twofold: 1) Technological globalization has hit western middle class prosperity very hard, and has triggered both ideological extremism and xenophobic resentments; 2) Overpopulation has reached the point where expansionist colonialism is no longer viable, and the limits of Earth’s natural resources can no longer sustain the exploitative economic policies that have built our modern civilization.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Hello Nan. I think it is basically feeling you are correct and insisting that others follow your way. Guess where that started? Yes, the fundamentalist churches. All the TV evangelist and all those moral warriors. Never settle for letting others live as they will and you do the same, never agree to follow laws you feel don’t give your god his due. Just demand an end at any cost to abortion because god says it is killing babies, so shooting the doctor is holy. I go on YouTube to watch atheist videos and along with them I find the most belligerent videos by teenagers who flat out make fun of and deride well known scientist because their church has taught them that they are correct, not the scientists and that they should disrupt any one who doesn’t agree with creationism and other bible doctrines. Yes they teach these kids that the kids know more than people who have PhD’s and spend a life time in a field of study. It happens in congress also. These kids have teachers scared to teach some subjects because the kids actually confront the teachers and then the parents of the kids come to the school full of fury to get their own church way. I think as I said this comes right down to I want my own way and if I can not convince you, I will force you. Maybe it is ego driven. I must be correct, I simply am / must be, so that makes you wrong. Hey if you disagree with me , then you are wrong, if you are wrong then you are nothing. I see it more and more in the world around me. People who take any disagreement from them to be a personal insult. Again I think it got a huge push with intolerance when the religious groups decided the entire world must follow their deities. Sort of like our own homegrown ISIS. Be well. Hugs

    Liked by 4 people

    • Scottie,
      It goes beyond the old live and let live. That is OK, but it MUST go beyond that. Not only live and let live, but do NOT make the other person feel like crap for living as she/he wants to live.
      Do no harm. Treat ALL people the way you want to be treated. I am 100,000% certain that way of living predates every religion humans have ever invented.
      This god of the bible is supposedly against abortion? OK, then why did that very same god demand his chosen people to kill ALL living beings time and time again? Oh, wait, there were a very few instances where he told the men of the chosen tribe they could take any young girl who had not slept with a man as their very own property, to do whatever they wanted to do with.
      As George Carlin once said, but this god loves you. And, he needs money.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I am 100,000% certain that way of living predates every religion humans have ever invented.

        Walter, if I may add… 🙂

        Eusociality and Superorganism collaboration can be found in 13-19 species on Earth, out of some 2-million plus species that we know of and probably around an additional 15-30 million more we have yet to discover. With the exception of humans, these other 12-18 species have survived for well over 200,000 years and every Earth-extinction event. Why? Because they’ve perfected Eusociality and Superorganism behavior. Humans, not so much; not on the level of say ants. From Harvard University’s E.O. Wilson in magazine:

        Ants rule the microhabitats they occupy, consigning other insects and small animals to life at the margins; humans own the macroworld, Wilson says, which we have transformed so radically and rapidly that we now qualify as a kind of geological force. How did we and the ants gain our superpowers? By being super-cooperators, groupies of the group, willing to set aside our small, selfish desires and I-minded drive to join forces and seize opportunity as a self-sacrificing, hive-minded tribe.

        It’s tough to be a eusocialist. Wouldn’t you rather just grab, gulp and go? Yet the payoffs of sustained cooperation can be huge. Eusociality, Wilson writes, “was one of the major innovations in the history of life,” comparable to the conquest of land by aquatic animals, or the invention of wings or flowers. Eusociality, he argues, “created super­organisms, the next level of biological complexity above that of organisms.”

        Here’s the link to the great article:

        Liked by 1 person

  7. If families (parents) and public education do not thoroughly teach core curriculums and specifically critical-thinking skills with contrasting, comparing, and evaluating methodologies, including SCIENCE, then a nation eventually creates a population with (extreme?) bias, ignorance, and intolerability and inability to see their world and others in a kaleidoscope of lenses. This is NOT just to “compete” in a global market, but equally as important to understand, learn, and exchange ingenious ideas for a common HUMANITARIAN goal!

    The antithesis of this teaching is monism which nurtures and fuels increased exclusion and elitism. The ally to this teaching is improved human forms and functions of Eusociality and Superorganism collaboration… a benefit of the Greater Good for the Greatest Number.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. It’s nothing new, Nan. People try to force themselves on others all the time. The Internet just makes it easier to do so. Rather than have to go some place and tell someone off in person, they can type a few words into a chat box or comment window.

    I think it might end up being a good thing. Beforehand, angrily yelling at someone for having different beliefs could be forgotten and remembered differently. Now, there will be a record of such behavior. It’s something tangible that people can see and discuss and ask themselves if this is how they want to be remembered.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Why is it that the dim bulbs always seem to think they are shining brightly?

    I believe the combination of undereducated assholes and the anonymity of the internet breeds scores of tough guys, tough guys whos mammas still wipe their noses and tell them to be good boys. These types are generally beer swilling, tobacco spitting underacheivers with demeaning jobs, and they really think they are genuine bad asses when they get on the internet and bully someone.

    I don’t think it’s a new behavior, it just has a new outlet.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. If I may, the original questions were: “Why do individuals feel it necessary to (verbally) attack those who disagree with them with such anger? Why do some feel the only way to express themselves is through offensive and degrading language? Is it personality driven? Or is it something else?”

    The reason people attack with anger boils down to one thing: They have nothing to contribute to the discussion.

    People resort to vulgarity and personal attack because they don’t have any ideas. We can find these people everywhere. They identify as Christians, Muslims, Republicans, Libertarians, Feminists, and sadly…even atheists and rational free-thinkers. Contrary to some comments in this thread, these people are not ‘forcing their beliefs’ on anyone. They HAVE NO BELIEFS. They are revealing the complete futility of their thoughts.

    This is why they should never be censored or moderated. Let these comments stand. They are the musings of mindlessness. Anyone who is swayed by this chaotic chatter is no better than the dimwit who uttered it.


    • BTB, I am one of Ark’s heathen buddies (I do so enjoy a good heath!) and I wonder what possible religious trope you can pull out of this discussion? Is it that the godless Internet is destroying our society? I wonder … uh, not that much, forget I said anything. You are not worth the trouble.

      Liked by 3 people

    • In truth it depends on the intent of the person making the comment.

      The implication of the post is that people ( your inference here,JB being ‘Ark’) use anger etc etc.

      Actually I am never angry, I merely shift gears and dip into my writers lexicon of vernacular sayings.
      You see, JB discussing the various topics of religion with one such as you is only ever likely going to produce one result – showing you up for the Giant Nob that you are.
      You have no interest whatsoever in discovering the truth of the topic because of you truly were interested you would soon be an atheist.

      Thus, vernacular wordplay and intricate semantics are just a way of expressing many of the sentiments others may not feel so inclined to do.
      And it is such fun.

      You have never once garnered an ounce of respect on any of the blogs you have graced polluted with your presence and it remains a mystery why Rentokil are not called in after you have fouled up the area.

      In closing, I am curious how long it took you to look up the word ”sincerely”, as it is not a word you would be at all familiar with.

      Ark … the heathen.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ark AND JB

        This post was not written for the two of you to sling insults at each other or to argue among yourselves about wordplay, semantics, verbal attacks, etc.. So just stop it!


        • Apologies, Nan.
          I struggled not to lose my tea after reading Branyan’s almost normal, almost polite comment.
          My first thought was that he was trying a new technique to mine for material for his comedy show.


        • Apologies to you, Nan, for any insults, semantics or verbal attacks I have employed in this comment space.

          Apologies to you, Ark, for my posting almost normal, almost polite comments.


  11. Such comments were verboten in polite society because you had to be present to make them and social measures (rebukes, faces of disgust, etc.) were applied. The Internet now allows people to say thing anonymously so there are no social consequences to such behaviors. I suspect some actually write such tripe as a sport.

    So, Craigslist is a place one shares political information, as opposed to selling pickup trucks and whatnot? What a strange country..

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Nan & for anyone else interested —

    There’s a very interesting interview earlier this year on NPR with Tali Sharot, a cognitive neuroscientist at University College London, that I think is relavent to this post. Part of it is personality driven, another part is parental-familial influence/bias after 2-3 years old, and another part is cognitive neurology, how our brains are wired. From the interview…

    TALI SHAROT: Our psychological biases are the same across individuals on average. We all have what’s known as a confirmation bias. A confirmation bias is our tendency to take in any kind of data that confirms our prior convictions and to disregard data that does not conform to what we already believe. And when we see data that doesn’t conform to what we believe, what we do is we try to distance ourselves from it. We say, well, that data is not credible, right? It’s not good evidence for what it’s saying. So we’re trying to reframe it, to discredit it.


    VEDANTAM: One important idea that Tali has explored is something known as the equality heuristic. It’s a mental shortcut, and it’s really quite simple. We tend to assign equal weight to everyone’s opinion. But sometimes, when there’s an expert in the room, this mental shortcut can lead us astray.

    SHAROT: Different people have different expertise. And it’s better to put more weight on people who are more knowledgeable or have more expertise in the domain that we’re making the decision in. And there’s been a study showing that this equality heuristic is something that people do around the world. So it’s not something that people do only in democratic governments. But studies have been conducted in other countries, such as China and Iran, and there too people go according to the equality heuristic. If they need to make a decision, they will get the opinions of quite a few individuals and then tally them up. And that’s how they make their decision, instead of actually using the person in the room who is more knowledgeable and has more expertise.

    VEDANTAM: But how can you know who the expert is?

    At the end, the interview wrapped up with a brief discussion from Sharot about how human emotions play a large part in whether we embrace data/facts or reject them. Hah! Imagine that. Here’s the link to the interview:


  13. Btw, Nan, I don’t know if you’re familiar with John Inazu’s book, “Confident Pluralism” but he talks about three things we need to have for a healthy diverse culture–tolerance, humility, and patience.

    Tolerance is not indifference. You might be appalled by another’s views but you stay respectful. Humility is not that you don’t believe you’re right, but that you know the limits of what you can prove and you also know you’re always going to learn by listening. And patience is not saying we should put up with evil, but we’re not too quick to posit motives and say someone must be an evil person.

    Inazu’s point is that if we are successful in these three areas it will contribute to a healthy pluralistic society. It might be a good book for our whole country to read. 🙂
    His website has more information on his book:


    • You might be appalled by another’s views but you stay respectful

      Do you believe most of Donald Trump’s current political views are worthy of respect?

      Do you believe the religious views of Muslim fundamentalists are worthy of respect?

      Do you believe the religious/ scientific views of Young Earth Creationists worthy of respect?

      Oh, and these questions are straightforward and require no extrapolation. A Yes or No answer will do.


      • Maybe “respect” is too strong of a word for what I mean. It’s more like making an allowance for or giving place for an opposing view. So, yes, I can vehemently disagree with Trump, Muslim fundamentalist’s ideology, or YEC Christians and still allow them their view.


        • Of course you can allow them their view. You cannot prevent them their view.
          YOU said respect.
          And if they deserve no respect then what do you believe is the right way to deal with the view?
          As far as YEC goes, we surely do not want such nonsense taught to our children, now do we?

          We have to fight against the nonsense of Trump and Muslim fundamentalism as well, don’t you agree?

          Liked by 1 person

          • If we mean by respect “esteem”, that is not what I meant. That’s why I clarified that we can give place to views we disagree with. In other words, we don’t demonize them or tell them to shut up or that they have no right to their view. We hear them out and come to an agreement as a society.

            And, yes, we can and should fight against what we see as injustice or wrong things. In the political arena, with Trump, we can use constitutional channels to peacefully protest what we believe to be unjust or wrong. We can vote them out, etc. But the point is, people who disagree with our views have a right to be heard, otherwise, it’s just another form of intolerance.

            Liked by 1 person

            • How do you come to an agreement with someone that not only believes that dinosaurs co-existed with humans but wishes this to be taught to children?
              Are such people not bloody idiots?
              If they are so far gone past reason but cannot obviously be stopped from having these views then should such views not be open to ridicule?

              Liked by 1 person

            • I don’t have to agree with them, Ark. That’s the point. But I don’t call them bloody idiots either. I reason with them and find common ground to help them see my point of view.

              And society, in general, pretty much weeds this kind of stuff out anyway. Public Schools in America don’t teach YEC, they teach evolution. We don’t need the thought-police to force anyone to submit to what we believe. It should work itself out in the public discourse.

              Liked by 1 person

            • There is no common ground with someone who thinks dinosaurs existed with humans, and they are bloody idiots.

              And society, in general, pretty much weeds this kind of stuff out anyway

              Really? You still preach the crap of the Trinity and that a dead man rose from the grave. You also worship a blood sacrifice and are convinced ”we” murdered him.
              In my personal experience no amount of reasoned argument has ever swayed you an inch.

              And you also believe it is your right to indoctrinate kids with this bullshit and as you are a paid professional, I have no doubt you do it at every opportunity.

              That you consider you have the right to your own facts and the right to simply disregard hard evidence to further you completely unsubstantiated supernatural worldview means you are as guilty as the Young Earth Creationists who wish to convince the education boards of the world that its okay to ”teach the controversy”

              And that makes you, Mel a bloody idiot too.
              You want respect and genuine discourse? Jettison the Horseshit you peddle and come and sit at the grownups table.

              Liked by 1 person

        • I think respectful is a good word. You can always say “You’re wrong” in a respectful way. 😀

          Seriously, IMO, a person can disagree with someone else’s POV — whether it’s regarding religion, lifestyle, political agenda, etc.– without getting argumentative or making derogatory remarks. In fact, in a one-on-one conversation, you might actually win over the opposite party by being respectful and thoughtful.

          Of course, the point of my post is nowadays people seem to think it’s “OK” to say what they want — especially when they know there won’t be any repercussions.

          Liked by 3 people

    • Mel this fits in with the post topic

      And patience is not saying we should put up with evil, but we’re not too quick to posit motives and say someone must be an evil person.

      Because far too many people feel they don’t have to put up with what they see as evil, regardless of the laws or civil rights of others. As a gay man in a long term relationship beginning our 28th year I can tell you I am so angry and tired of “religious church” people deciding to not put up with they see as my evil, and try to take my rights away or diminish them. That whole don’t put up with evil thing is a real slippery slope. One persons evil is not every other persons version of evil. If a person thinks they are doing divine will and fighting evil they will use any means, get angry, say rude and horrible things, damage property and yes cause bodily harm to those they see doing evil ways. They will go over the top in the name of their lord. That is the nature of the game, anything is fair in gods name.

      Now religious people who recognize they are not the judge of what is evil and they are not responsible to take evil out of the world are not so willing to go to extremes in the cause of their righteousness. That is why some religious folk don’t feel the need to force their religion on a secular country and to force everyone to follow their religion. They know they personally are not the “evil police”. It is like an old man in our park who would sit next to the road by his house and hassle everyone driving down the road because he felt they were going too fast. Finally we had enough of him and had a sheriff’s deputy come talk to him. The deputy had to explain to the old guy he was not a traffic cop, he had no right to be hassling people using the road, and that his eyes were not the proper tool to determine speed. Some persons holy book is NOT the right tool for judging morality. Leave detecting and handling evil to god if he exists, and let others live their lives in secular peace. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

      • Scottie, I think we’re mostly in agreement here for what is needed for a successfully pluralistic society. I agree. We, as Christians, are not everybody else’s judge. No one can force their particular views on society. We must learn to live peaceably together, Inazu’s book addresses everything you’ve said here pretty well. That’s why I brought it up on this post. It offers some real solutions to these thorny issues.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mel I have not read Inazu’s book. I do agree religion is not the only group think that can make people intolerant. However it sure does seem to give some of its followers the idea they can enact gods will in any means possible , even violent ones. In the spirit of looking for answers how would you as a pastor advise / teach your fellow worshipers to deal with sects that have lost any idea of co-existing / tolerance. How would you deal with the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS. type people? I admit I do not handle them well as I do not respect them, and I do not tolerate them. I become one of those angry people Nan’s post is about. I think because they are trying to threaten my life, rights, and happiness.

          Nan, I hope I am not getting away from the topic of the post. IF you think my question is, just let me know. But I really am curious in Mel’s answer. Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

          • Scottie, short answer, as a pastor I tell my congregation we’re meant to show Christ’s love for people, that He has reconciled us to God, not to be their judge. The Bible says it’s the kindness of God that’s persuasive in changing people’s minds about Him, not prejudice, hatred, or coercion. I also tell them to read the Bible through the interpretative lens of Jesus Christ, not indiscriminately, as if Jesus never happened. That opens up a longer explanation that I won’t go into here. I’ve written a lot about that on my blog.

            But, case in point, I think the Westboro Baptists are not representative at all of the teachings of Christ. I probably have as much of a problem with them as you do! Personally, I have the biggest struggle showing grace to mean-spirited religious people because of how they misrepresent Christ.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Mel, I got so intent on my answer I forgot to as you where we differ in agreement. You said we mostly agree. I ask because with your answer as I understand it I would say we did agree, unless I am missing something. Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sorry. my bad, Scottie, I didn’t see any apparent disagreement. When making a general comment to multiple points on a thread (instead of talking things out thoroughly in person, etc.) I’m aware that I might not fully understand the intent of everything you mentioned, but it does appear like we DO fully agree on this. So, you would be correct in your assessment. 🙂


  14. Of course, the point of my post is nowadays people seem to think it’s “OK” to say what they want — especially when they know there won’t be any repercussions.

    In one respect (no pun) I disagree with this. There often are repercussions.
    Branyan asked if you wanted a link to a post illustrating some very aggressive comments. They were mine and they were on Mike’s blog.
    And unless Mike (KIA) takes down the post they are technically ”forever”.

    I am not technically hiding behind an avatar either, as my name is easily accessible should anyone care to peruse my blog or Facebook and Branyan regularly starts his comments by addressing me as Doug.

    Branyan is the epitome of a Troll. He is argumentative, simply because he is, never once offers any sort of reasonable answer to any question posed, and honesty is another word he probably has to look up in his dictionary.
    The responses he receives to his comments perfectly befit the level of intellect he displays.
    Thus the colourful language one might feel inclined to express using the symbols on the top line of a keyboard is the next best thing to banning his arse.
    Therefore, in the interest on public awareness I will continue to to label him and his ilk Dickheads at every opportunity and when the mood grabs me expand on this by being as creative as is literary possible.

    After all … he belongs to a group where many believe I am going to spend eternity being tortured in hell and who cant wait to tell me. In the face of this what’s a few ‘F’ words between blog pals?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ark/Doug … I’ve read enough of your comments here and there to know the type of responses to expect. And I do understand your frustrations with people who adamantly refuse to offer thoughtful and intelligent responses to the questions you (and others) pose by prattling on about essentially “nothing.”

      But having said that, it’s my preference that people who participate on my blog try to refrain from insulting others by calling them names and/or using “colorful” language. (Call me a prude, if you will.) Of course, I definitely won’t stand for anyone that attacks a person’s character, beliefs, or lifestyle (as outlined in my blog rules).

      I thoroughly enjoy writing posts that prompt active discussion and I hope none of what I’ve just written causes you or anyone else to refrain from participating. All I’m asking is that everyone keeps it “civil.”

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I have a question based on words used. Bad words. Swear words used in one situation is OK, used in anger are not OK. Are there really any bad words, or just words that express ideas, some that may be rude ideas? If I insult someone with out using swear words but making sure they know it is an insult, is it worse to insult them with swear words? I was thinking of what Ark was saying and some people have a real talent for giving in insult with out any bad / swear words at all. Churchill was really good with an insulting phrase from what I have read. Not a pressing thing but as we are talking about angry responses and intolerance / respect I thought I would ask. Personally I don’t like some words , but that is just my interpretation of them. Hugs


    • Excellent questions, Scottie!

      I’m sure you’ve discovered there are some individuals who simply cannot converse (written or otherwise) without swearing or using derogatory words. Some people on the receiving end could care less and will respond accordingly. Others (perhaps yourself?) prefer to “keep it civil.”

      IMO, attacking others (however it’s done) is unacceptable. We don’t have to agree with everyone … and by the same token, not everyone has to agree with us. But to attack someone with words and phrases similar to the example I wrote about in my post is way out of line. Especially when it’s done in a threatening manner and “anonymously.” As I reported, the woman was frightened enough that she went to the local paper to report the incident!

      I’m sure you’re familiar with the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I’m not so sure I agree …

      Liked by 1 person

    • Scottie experts advise that much of our communication is via body language cues and tone of voice. Thus written expression is much more prone to misunderstanding than face to face communication.

      Personally I try to avoid profanity. It can be a bit of a minefield as some folk are accepting of profanity in general but take exception at some specific words.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. But, case in point, I think the Westboro Baptists are not representative at all of the teachings of Christ. I probably have as much of a problem with them as you do! Personally, I have the biggest struggle showing grace to mean-spirited religious people because of how they misrepresent Christ.

    And yet you firmly believe you have the right to assert that your view of ”Christ’ (sic) is correct?
    Based solely on your interpretation.

    Yet your so-called reasonable interpretation of grace still includes the immutable doctrine of the Trinity,( and that those who do not accept the Trinity cannot possibly be Christian) the Virgin birth, the belief that ”we” murdered Jesus the Nazarene and all are shackled with this guilt, the worship (and necessity) of a blood sacrifice and the doctrine of Hell, in whatever current form you find acceptable.

    The struggle is not with so called mean-spirited religious people ( and who are you to judge?) but with yourself and your complete and utter failure to recognize just how monumentally hypocritical your own interpretation of this Christian doctrine truly is.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Nan I was rewatching the 1974 World At War documentary series on the Second World War. What struck me was how the politics of Europe in the 1930’s (and not just Germany) bore so much similarity to today. The level of bitterness between the left and the right was extreme and frequently violent.

    In France, as an example, the infighting continued even as German Panzers were sweeping through Northern France and trapping the allied armies in Belgium.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Absolutely correct, Peter. What has changed is the immediacy and the ”globalness”.
      I’ve been watching The Newsroom series (yes, I am always somewhat late to the party with regards these things) and it reflects what it was like almost ten years ago when Twitter was kicking off big time. Call someone a bitch offhand and within minutes the potential is there to spread this across the world and bring a career to a grinding halt within hours.
      Reasoned rational conversation only works when one is dealing with reasonable rational people.

      At some point there comes a time when calling the Ken Hams of the world, and climate change deniers bloody idiots should be perfectly acceptable, simply because they are.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I struggle to know how to react at times, I appreciate your sentiments.

        What concerns me is the rise in the ‘it is OK to punch a Nazi’ sentiment. it troubles me because of the argument it is OK to use violence to silence people and secondly I have noticed an increasing tendency to call anyone on the right of politics a Nazi, regardless of their actual views.

        So my concern is who decides what views are unreasonable? I don’t mind speaking strongly against people who deny widely accepted science, like the folk who argue that vaccinations cause autism. What I struggle with is when the same sentiment is applied to non scientific matters such as debates on social and policy issues.

        So in summary I am conflicted as I am seeing a tend in society to shut down legitimate debates in society on subjects like immigration. In Australia we are seeing huge rises in house prices because of high immigration, but when people question immigration levels they are shouted down and labelled as racists.

        Liked by 2 people

        • The immigration thing links to Nationalism, which I utterly despise.
          Everything is about power and control … and money!
          I don’t think the aggression thing has changed much at all,whether it be Genghis Khan sweeping across the steppes of Mongolia, the Visigoths sacking Rome or the perceived or real threat of an Islamic Jihad or nuclear war at the hands of someone like Trump

          You see, I have no desire to see the world dance to my tune of atheism any more than I think everyone should be forced to give up their religious beliefs.

          I really don’t care what people believe as long as there is mutual agreement on the basic rights of those that live on this planet.

          So if the likes of Mel and Branyan want to believe in the biblical character Jesus the Nazarene. Fine by me.I
          Just keep it to themselves or among those who have similar beliefs.
          And leave kids alone.

          Liked by 1 person

        • ‘The immigration thing links to Nationalism, which I utterly despise.’
          Ark I have to disagree with you on this matter. I just want to have a livable city and over population destroys livability.

          Interestingly in New Zealand they have just had an election and the New Zealand First party which is Nationalist went into coalition with two left wing parties, Labour and The Greens, The glue that binds together this unlikely coalition is a desire to reduce immigration. This has become a hot topic in New Zealand because of soaring house prices. Houses in Australia and New Zealand are rapidly becoming unaffordable for first home buyers.

          In my fair city of Hobart the rental vacancy rate has fallen to 0.2%, and people are finding it very hard to get any accommodation at all. Increasingly adult children are having to live with their parents until they reach their 30’s because accommodation is so hard to find and expensive.

          Recent studies show Australia has had 55 year housing boom. Now in many cities a standard house can cost more than a million dollars. This is being driven by immigration rates that are far higher than most other countries in the world. Sydney is now the 2nd most unaffordable housing market in the world (behind only Hong Kong).

          Anyway enough of my rant, I just don’t agree with how you characterise the issue. In a way it was proving my point about being unable to discuss these issues without being labelled a bigot of some sort.

          Just frustrates me so much.


      • Peter, the housing shortage in your country may well be related to immigration … but I don’t feel this is the only factor that’s influencing it. From things I’ve read, insufficient housing is also a concern in many parts of the U.S. — and I wouldn’t be surprised if other countries are experiencing this problem as well. In my humble opinion, it has much to do with over-population. The more people, the less sustainable places there are for them to live.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Nan we only have to look at the high population areas of the USA and how high the cost of housing is going, it is not immigration causing the high prices. Immigrants can not and don’t pay the high prices. It is the crush of humanity and those that can pay higher prices that pushes the limit of cost up. Hugs


        • scottie/Nan

          There are always multiple factors that contribute to an outcome, the situation in Australia is very similar to Vancouver if you want to look at a north American example>

          There is very little undocumented immigration in Australia so the situation is quite different to the US. Most immigrants come from the UK, New Zealand, India and China, The chinese in particular are cashed up.

          But I suppose what is happening is that I am seeing the downside of over population and are looking at it from a selfish position,

          Liked by 1 person

  18. Well, the research from Stanford suggests anyone can become a troll given the right context (link.) This thread shows some trollish behaviors from the usual suspects (both atheist and theist). Other research has found that you basically have about FIVE posts in a back-and-forth discussion to change a person’s mind (link) Add in the Dunning-Kruger effect and other overestimation biases where one thinks they are talented at a skill or knowledgable about a topic, but actually lack ability in it or think they know a lot about a topic, but actually don’t know much at all about it. Add in the Backfire Effect where counterevidence increases certainty about one’s own position link. Add in research that shows the feeling that you have some expertise in a subject area (whether you actually do or not) can increase close-mindedness (link) and even people who do have some expertise are prone to overclaiming link. Then add in the host of other cognitive biases that I haven’t even mentioned, plus the Bias Blind Spot (the perception that other people are more bias than us, but not ourselves) link. Plus tribalism (my group is right and has all the good qualities and your group is bad and has all the bad qualities), general human aggression, and the anonymity that the internet provides and it all adds up to many of the everyday threads we see on the internet. Often atheists and theists, liberals and conversatives, etc. are just as bad.

    In regards to those points, one of the funniest threads ever was over at Nate’s place. Somewhere in the thread Ark made comments to UnkleE along the lines of: “Do you think anything you say will actually change a deconvert’s mind? And you’re so indoctrinated nothing we say will change yours!” In other words, there’s not a chance anyone is going to change their minds. From that point HUNDREDS of posts followed by various commenters! A productive use of everyones’ time!


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