Consider the last sermon I preached at the little church in the town of Zhonghe, in Taiwan, when I was going to seminary. It was on love. It ended with the pastor and the most useful person in the church standing up and yelling at one another.
Apparently this talent for instigating war by preaching peace has not deserted me.
A couple months ago, the atheist writer John Loftus asked me to endorse the "debate" book he co-wrote with the Christian philosopher, Randal Rauser. I read it on the plane to and from the UK, and enjoyed it very much. I wrote the following:
This is not a quarrel, nor one of those flame wars of the deaf that rage across cyberspace then spills angrily into print, nor even that stuffy, artificial creation, a ‘religious dialogue.” What we have here is conversation: at times witty, at times tendentious, often humorous and almost always engaged on emotional as well as intellectual levels. Rauser is master of parables with a philosophical point: Loftus makes an art form of heart-on-his-sleeve pragmatism. Both land blows, yet the book contains hardly a trace of bitterness: at best, it reaches the level of a mythical, Platonic debate in a pub. Almost no one will fully agree with either writer, nor fail to enjoy the rhetorical flow.
Well it wasn't a quarrel, but it soon became one, and the "rhetorical flow" soon became less enjoyable. Loftus cited the review on his blog, and made a few minor quibbles. Rauser then cited both the review, and Loftus' quibbles, and made his own quibbles about those. Our friend Crude launched an attack on Loftus. John replied with profanity and gusto, and deleted his original blog post.
Among other things, John wrote off Christians in general, again:
I will not be linking to any Christian blogs at this point from now on. I have given them too much of an audience as it is. You're all on your own now, delusional people on a par with Scientologists, and I mean that. Damn, it's hard dealing with * for brains and acting like they have them.
Now if you go to that region of Debunking Christianity, you find instead an article (actually from a day or so previous to this little tempest in a teapot) entitled "Why is Everyone on the Internet So Angry?"
Gee, I don't know. Beats me.
And today John announces a new Skeptical Blog Network. Why do we need one of those? Because PZ Myers, the doyen of the alternative Freethinkers Blog network, is (as is widely recognized) rather a jerk, a bit of a megalomaniac, and had a vocal, angry falling-out not just with John Loftus, but with a popular anti-creationist gotcha-artist calling himself Thunderfoot, and with a whole range of atheists whom he considers insufficiently feministo. (Apparently they don't hate men enough, or something.)
|Little-known historical footnote: Mr. and Mrs.|
Giraffe quarreled and ultimately
divorced over who got to ride shotgun.
And you wonder why God sent the Great Flood.