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← How the Web is killing faith

justinesaracen's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by justinesaracen

As a full time fiction writer, I sit for twelve hours a day in front of a computer screen. Obviously the human brain cannot produce for that amount of time, so I spend tons of time playing on the internet. Much of that is on Facebook.

And before you wrinkle your nose, you should know that FB gives me an unexpected audience for the refutation of all kinds of religious woo.

Not being able to remain silent (a common writer’s weakness) I confront some woo peddler or other almost every day, and my comment often elicits an entire dispute. Even if it begins in a civil way, which is about half the time, the discussion soon becomes soured by the believer’s sense of outrage. I am always careful to speak to the issue and not to the person, and bend over backwards to be polite, but usually by the third response, their anger sets in. The ad hominems begin arriving like snowballs and soon the believer deletes the entire conversation, if he can, unfriends me and storms off.

While the believer remains unreformed (as far as I know), he/she has in any case been challenged and his/her argument publicly discredited . More importantly, the onlookers have witnessed a civil discussion by one person met with angry sputtering by the other. I am convinced that I have chipped away at many a wall of ignorance this way.

So yes, the internet, above all Facebook, provides an open forum where ideas can duke it out. Beyond the drivel about what people ate on vacation or the platitudes about how to live and love, little bits of useful information and good ideas do percolate through, as much in the commentary as in the postings themselves.

I have lost a handful of theist readers though. Quel dommage.

Sat, 26 May 2012 08:08:46 UTC | #943625