I find it funny how much flack I get for saying that debating theists is a waste of time, but time and time again, I find that with the religious, its just pointless to engage in any kind of intellectual religious discussion, they just don’t comprehend the basics and dragging them, kicking and screaming, through the most rudimentary logical discourse, only to have them remain blindly faithful at the end seems like a waste of my time.
I had that experience yet again today when, on Twitter, some theist showed up, spamming the #atheism hashtag with a load of nonsense. Now if I’m bored, sometimes I’ll respond to something absurdly nonsensical and correct the theist and on rare occasions… wait… make that absolutely no occasions at all, a decent discussion will arise from that interaction. I cannot remember a single instance where I’ve thought there was as worthwhile talk with a theist of any stripe on Twitter, where something was actually concluded or I thought progress had been made. This is no different.
The guy, @PhillyLector, started spamming the channel with the typical “believe in God” nonsense and I responded that I’d think about it if he could present any objective evidence that God was actually real. Of course, he couldn’t and was rather insulted that I’d even ask. Oh course there was evidence, he told us that God existed and that should be all we need! How dare I ask for more than his credulous word! So I pointed out that all religions make the exact same statement and if he isn’t willing to take their word for the existence of their gods, why should I take his word for the existence of his? Oh, because only his God is actually real! How does he know? Because he knows! Now wait a minute, he’s already admitted that he has no actual evidence for God, how did he come by this knowledge? He just did! And what if a Hindu said he had the same knowledge about the existence of Krishna? That Hindu must be lying because his gods don’t exist!
I trust you can understand the frustration of the next hour of around and around and around again, he couldn’t get through his head that every other religion out there is doing the exact same thing he’s doing and declaring their gods to be real and all other gods to be imaginary. He is entirely incapable of even imagining the merest possibility that his beliefs could be wrong. He is so totally and fanatically convinced that his beliefs are true that getting him to apply any reason or logic to his faith is sure to be met with failure. He cannot fail. He cannot imagine failure is even a remote option.
Yet this is how it is with all theists that I talk to. It comes at different points, but there is always a point where they dig in their heels and won’t budge another inch. I know people like to say “maybe you planted a seed”, but judging by these idiots that come back night after night, repeating the exact same claims, I doubt that’s true. Maybe someone in the peanut gallery got the message and deconverted? I also doubt that happens very often, especially on something like Twitter where it’s a free-for-all. I’ve noticed that a lot of the deconversion stories tend to come from people who were already looking for a different voice. You don’t tend to find them among people who never leave religious forums and websites, you find them from people who are venturing out, reading atheist forums and blogs and specifically seeking out people outside of their religious tradition because they’re already having questions. The likelihood of getting some random Christian on Twitter to deconvert is somewhere between slim and none because that’s not what they’re there for. It’s the people who might come here to read my blog that I’d have a better chance at and frankly, I’d only try with those who weren’t here to stir up some shit. I have no interest in converting to Christianity, that’s why I avoid looking at religious blogs, websites, forums, reading religious hashtags on Twitter, etc. I’m just not interested in what they have to say, except in those rare cases where it’s so absurd that I laugh at it and I never go seeking those out.
So now I wonder why the hell I just wasted my time on this moron. Maybe I ought to just ignore all theists on Twitter entirely, all of them just lead to frustration and face-palming.