Open Letter to PZ Myers
PZ Myers is an out-spoken atheist and biologist at the University of Minnesota. He runs an immensely popular blog called Pharyngula, which features some beautiful photos of the natural world. Far more popular, though, are his angry, snearing, and not infrequently obscene (though sometimes funny, to give the devil his due) attacks on Christianity. His daily blog often elicits hundreds or more than a thousand almost uniformly enthusiastic responses of like or more vehement sentiment: those few that take issue with anything Myers says, as I have discovered, are not quite welcomed by other posters!
This morning PZ posted a blog called, "We aren't angry, we are effective, which is even scarier." I'll post a few of his comments here, then my quick response. I may follow up with a more in-depth response later.PZ Myers: "What I'm interested in seeing happen is the development of a strong cadre of vocal atheists who will make a sustained argument, over the course of years or generations, who will keep pressing on the foolishness of faith. I also don't mind seeing believers get angry and stomping off determined to prove I'm a colossal jackhole — that means they're thinking, even if they're disagreeing with me.
"I'll also cop to the obvious fact that, knowing that reason will not get through their skills, I'm happy to use emotional arguments as well. Passion is persuasive. Look at all those assertive Gnu/New Atheists — they are not making Spock-like dispassionate arguments only, although there is a strong rational core — we are hitting people in the gut and telling them to open their eyes. It gives us that unseemly aggressive reputation, but at the same time it's a very effective way to let people know we think they are dead wrong."
My (knee-jerk) response: You're joking, Myers. What I've seen from atheists in this forum so far is a lot of swearing, insults (never so subtle as innuendos, and little real wit, though you get in some amusing barbs), and caricatures, in decending order of frequency. I have yet to see any real anti-Christian argument, sustained or otherwise. Maybe those come in June?
What you don't seem to realize, is Christians can get tough, too. The communists in the USSR started off with insults; that didn't do the trick, so they got nastier, and the Christians got tougher. Wait till North Korea falls, and after 70 years, you will find some very tough Christians coming out of the rubble of that hell-hole. I don't think you're planning to go that far: but don't dream that jeering, or "F YOU" a hundred times (last time I posted here, one of your disciples) is going to accomplish anything but make your own followers dumber and more intellectually complacent.
Or you can try arguing. Let both sides talk, as in a Bill Craig debate, and there's a good chance you'll lose. Make it a debate of books, and you may lose again -- I've shown why the New Atheists, Pagels & Co, and the Jesus Seminar are wrong, respectively, in my last three books, without breaking much of a sweat. I'm thinking I may take on Ehrman, next.
Someday some of your disciples -- maybe even you yourself -- will stop hating, and start to think, even ask searching questions. That's when things might become difficult, and interesting.
In the meanwhile -- it's spring, and the mountain snows are melting -- let the floods of vituperation descend!