Friday, August 13, 2010


Tom wrote a nice post on extreme atheists recently, but I think he got the title wrong. The people he's talking about aren't extreme atheists, because that conjours up images of bloodshed and violence. Instead, evangalist atheist is a more accurate title.

Evangalists are, from my personal experience, people who have often converted later in life- they have mostly either been a fervid believer of something else, or been surrounded by people of that belief system and felt constrained by it. Finally they discover something new and empowering, whether thats god or the lack therof, and they are so astonished by this revelation that they want to tell everyone. They can't believe quite how stupid they were before, how they swallowed their previous belief systems ideology, and are happy to make their decision known to others, by pointing out those failings.

Sadly, most evangalists are obnoxious. Their inability to talk about anything other than their new faith (yes, I'm going to call atheism a faith for the purposes of this post), and to force it into every conversation, is extremely tiresome. Most, I suspect, calm down after a while, and learn that being rude to people is not an effective way of changing their opinions. I want to change minds, and I'm happy to engage in a discussion, but I am fully aware that ranting to every non-atheist that I meet about how stupid I think their beliefs are are not going to win them over.

I know I've discussed evangalism before, and I do think its a dangerous habit, because evangalists tend to exaggerate the problems of their old beliefs way past what they are. But my primary reason for writing this is to point at this post by John Walker.

John Walker is an excellent games journalist. He is freelance, and has worked for several magazines. I am mainly familiar with him thanks to the splendid pc gaming blog rock paper shotgun, plus his and Nick Mailer's podcast, Rum Doings, which I would heartily recommend (Nick Mailer is not a video game fan, so be not put off by that!) He writes on various subjects, including skeptisism and television. He's a fun and interesting writer with opinions that are worth reading.

This latest post on his blog is very much about his belief in God, and how he thinks an advert for church is exceedingly misleading. Now some people have disagreed with Mr Walker over said advert- indeed I sounded a note of caution as well, which I'm not going to discuss here. Incredibly shockingly though, one person threatened to unsubcribe from his blog, and another actually did.

Good grief. This is an astonishing reaction to have to discovering someone's beliefs. I understand why people might be disappointed, certainly, to discover that someone they enjoy reading believes something they do not agree with, but to decide to never read that person again (and announce it to them, in a rather rude manner)... thats bizzare. He hasn't changed. He was never not a christian, he just hadn't mentioned it on his blog before, and theres absolutely no indication that that is all he will ever write about again. I literally cannot imagine doing that on such a harmless discovery. If he had revealed that he was a holocaust denier, perhaps, but he revealed a very personal faith- he's made it quite clear that he doesn't impose his beliefs on others, and in most indications he's a very liberal minded gentleman.

I really have nothing more to say on this matter, only disappointment that there exist people who would act in such a manner.



At 11:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, only a pedant would point out it is "evangelism"......

Pedant dad

At 1:30 pm, Blogger Mr K said...

hmm, that'll teach me to remember to spell check my posts....


Post a Comment

<< Home