So I’ve been thinking this afternoon about how markedly the tone of the site has changed in such a short time. Just the other day Mike J commented about what a great community we have here, and now it seems that the vibe has really gone downhill. I think anyone would agree that the debates we had in these posts had a far different tone than the ones we’ve been having in the past two posts.
While reading through the comments that have been rolling in to my past couple of posts I had all sorts of grand retorts laid out in my head, usually reading something like, “You wanna call me prideful?! Yeah, well, YOU SUCK!” though usually with a little less elegance and charity.
As I hit delete on a particularly troll-ish comment I muttered jokingly, “I swear, these people would crucify me if they could.” Ooooooh yeah. You know, that actually happened to Someone a long time ago. And here I sit, telling myself that these days I am one of his servants, getting indignant and expecting better treatment than he himself received. Upon reviewing my offending post and the internal dialogue I heard when reading the comments, I had to ask myself if my motive here was the glory of God or the glory of myself? Was my goal to bring more souls to Christ or bring more readers to Jen’s blog?
Even worse, I was part of the cause of all this hostility. While I attempted to make the post about pride and atheism mostly about myself and what I was like before I believed, I did throw in a little dig at others while I was at it. If I want to have an open dialogue with atheists, which I really do, I’m not setting the tone very well by making sideways comments and assuming the worst motives on the part of those who disagree with me.
And the cherry on the cake of all the absurdity is that I really feel a strong kinship with my atheist brothers and sisters. One thing my lifelong Christian readers probably can’t relate to is the treatment you receive from so-called Christians when you’re an atheist and you discuss your beliefs. I could tell story after story of mean, hurtful things done and said to me by people who claimed to follow Christ — so I of all people should know to tread lightly when discussing atheists and their beliefs. I’m sure they’ve been called Satan-worshipers and hellbound jerks enough times that they’re getting weary.
I had another post typed up with new rules for commenting on my site. Rather, I would like to propose a truce. I was lamenting the loss of the great community of atheists and Christians alike that we had here, pondering which new commenter should be censored, I realized that it is myself who should be censored first. To all the people I called out as pots in my post about pride, I would like to introduce myself, the kettle.
One thing I will say is that despite the hostility the commenters here still seem to be really intelligent, with many insights to offer. Let’s start over. I am sincerely sorry for the offense that I caused. Especially as a former atheist, it’s really hypocritical. Can we go on from this point forward with a more calm, charitable tone towards one another?
Also, immediately after I hit Publish on this I’m going to say a rosary. My intention is for all my atheist readers: Mike J; Jerret; R and all; Rhinoqlous; Darwin’s Dagger; Anon the Catholic-turned-atheist; Anon whose religious beliefs almost led him to a mental breakdown; Anon (the non-atheist) whom I offended so; all the other anonymous commenters. And especially Professor Chaos, whose story of begging God for help that he never received brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it.
My prayer is that you will forgive me, and be patient with me as I work to overcome my lifelong habit of self-centeredness and pride. And that you may find peace, wherever your search may lead you.
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