I had someone point out an old episode of the Thinking Atheist Podcast where he talks about various types of religious debaters. Since I engage in so many debates, I was interested in what he identified and I largely agree, but I have a couple of other categories that I’ve seen and want to know if anyone else has other ideas.
First, the four categories the Thinking Atheist came up with:
The Feeler: 100% emotion, they never think about their beliefs, they have no evidence, they don’t care, they just look around and are instantly convinced that God did it all.
The Theologian: The person who knows the Bible backwards and forwards, the Bible is their only foundation and questioning whether or not the Bible is factually true falls outside of their wheelhouse.
The Folklorist: The guy who really doesn’t know anything, but he sees something that vaguely appeals to him, he forwards it to everyone, claiming he’s discovered something amazing.
The Footsoldier: The apologist who is always out to do battle for God, but really has very little to do battle with. He’s combative but not intelligent, but he never, ever gives up.
Now I thought all of those were excellent, I’ve certainly run into those in debates, but those aren’t the only kinds I’ve run into so I added a few more, in no particular order:
The Pseudo-Rationalist: These are the theists who are absolutely convinced that God is real and there is evidence to support it, but can never actually come up with any evidence to present. But they’re sure it’s out there!
The Accomodationist: These people aren’t necessarily theists, they’re people who are more concerned that everyone gets along. Truth isn’t important, people just ought to hug and sing kumbayah.
The Emotional Basketcase: A sub-set of both the Feeler and the Accomodationst, these people honestly don’t give a damn if what they believe is true or not, it’s completely irrelevant, so long as their beliefs make them feel good. This is probably the group that frustrates me the most because they’re very open about not caring, in fact, half of them don’t even know what they believe, but it feels good to believe it so it must be okay! These people are idiots.
The Asshole: This is a sub-set of the Footsoldier, except they’re belligerent. They’re out looking for a fight, they’re just going to be dicks about it. They’re very common on Twitter, @Sacerdotus is a great example of an asshole apologist. Assholes are not to be confused with the Troll, Trolls say things specifically to piss people off whether they personally believe them or not. Assholes actually are true believers, they’re just dicks.
The Student/Teacher: Yes, I phrased that correctly. This is very common in “professional” apologists, they tend to assume that the people they’re speaking to are idiots and therefore, they are holding a class. These people have very little actual knowledge. You know how they say someone has enough knowledge to be dangerous? These people tend to have enough knowledge to be dishonest. They have a few speaking points that they are absolutely convinced are true and beyond that, neither know nor want to know more. Even if their speaking points are absolutely proven false, even if they admit that their points are wrong, you can be sure that the next week at their next speaking engagement, they’ll be making the same points verbatim. Even reality cannot dissuade these people from spewing the same old and oft-disproven tales.
So what other kinds have you identified? Please let us know!