September 30, 2016

When You Are Trolled on Twitter

Jack Dorsey and Barack Obama at Twitt...
Jack Dorsey and Barack Obama at Twitter Town Hall in July 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Here's an odd fact about me that you might not know unless you follow me on Twitter: I have little interest in arguing with Christians on Twitter. Among the atheists I follow on Twitter, this would seem to place me in a fairly small minority. I'm okay with that. I harbor no ill will toward atheists who do enjoy arguing with Christians on Twitter; I just don't happen to share their interest in doing so.

I have certainly argued with Christians on Twitter before. When it has happened, it has almost always been in the context of my mistaking trolling for sincere questions or comments. In the most common scenario, a Christian reaches out with what I assume is a legitimate question or comment. I respond, and then it quickly becomes clear that I have been trolled by a Christian who has zero interest in any sort of meaningful interaction. Instead, the Christian is interested in proselytizing, showing off for other Christians, or trying to elicit an angry reaction to support claims of atheist hostility. The moment this becomes clear, I stop responding. This isn't why I use Twitter.

September 28, 2016

My Take on the First Presidential Debate

Donald Trump - PortraitMy take on the first presidential debate is fairly simple and does not require a lengthy exposition. I was disappointed but not surprised that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were not invited to participate. I suspect that their involvement would have shown voters that they have other options besides the two candidates who were invited. Moreover, I think that their presence probably would have made both of the major party candidates look even less suited for the job than they did.

With that out of the way, I'll consider the question of who won the debate. I am doing this from the perspective of someone who does not support either of the two candidates who participated in the debate. I think there are three ways of looking at this question. First, we can set aside expectations of each candidate coming into the debate, focusing instead on the typical way of evaluating debate performance (e.g., the debaters' grasp of the subject matter, delivery, points scored against the opponent). Second, we can emphasize the pre-debate expectations, comparing how each debater performed relative to his or her expected performance. Third, we can focus on whether each debater accomplished the specific objectives he or she needed to accomplish, something that typically differs for each candidate and is expected to matter in the sense of attracting undecided voters.

September 27, 2016

You Just Gotta Believe

The Belief Wall
The Belief Wall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I was about 14 and struggling to come to terms with what I was just beginning to recognize as a lack of god belief, I sought help from several Christians. You see, I had no desire to stop believing in gods. I found the prospect terrifying. Everyone I knew believed. What sort of future could I have if I could not do so? I desperately wanted to keep believing, and so I asked Christians I trusted for help. Again and again, I was told, "You just gotta believe!"

Most of the Christians I spoke with were perfectly willing to acknowledge that there was no conclusive proof of gods or any other supernatural entities. They pointed to the need for faith in such matters; faith meant that they believed without requiring the sort of evidence they would usually require to support their beliefs. The lack of evidence was not a problem for them. They just believed, and they told me that I needed to do the same.

September 26, 2016

The Two-Party System is Broken

Trump & Clinton
Donald Trump by Rob13; Hillary Clinton by Gage Skidmore
I wrote this post a couple weeks ago. I suppose it might be more than a coincidence that I'm finally getting around to posting it on the day of the first televised debate between the two major party candidates who have been allowed to participate; however, I wrote it before I was thinking about the debates.

Something occurred to me recently while I was mowing the yard in the Mississippi heat (93 degrees with a heat index of 103 due to the humidity). I really don't want to see either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the White House. I'm not claiming that they are equally bad. I think I've been quite clear that I do not believe that is the case. Compared to Trump, I regard Clinton as at least a somewhat lesser evil in at least some ways. And as I've said before, I would probably try to force myself to vote for her if I lived in a swing state. It is getting harder by the day to imagine that I'd be able to go through with it, but I'd probably try. Still, I'm not crazy about the prospect of either of them being our next president.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...