When a Christian decided to go soul fishing on the Unreasonable Faith site recently, his ignorance of the reality of non-belief and non-believers tripped him up.
Most Religionists are incredibly ignorant of what it means to be a non-believer. Fundamentalists of any brand are among the most naive in this respect. The gross inadequacy of their primary assumptions about the causes and characteristics of atheism is one of the reasons why attempts to reconvert the disillusioned faithful meets with abject failure.
We have heard it all before. The false picture of the atheist painted by the theist is that s/he has no moral grounding and either hates god or rejected god in order to live a life free of moral restraint. The atheist is believed to be a bitter and humorless person whose life is empty of warmth, happiness, meaning and purpose. Those who have not deliberately rejected god have never heard the true message, experienced the joy of the fellowship of the truly faithful or been in real communion with the true god.
As could be expected, given such a fallacious belief set, the soul-hungry evangelist got nowhere when he represented himself as a Christian. Frustrated, he decided to "deceive for Jesus". He logged himself in under multiple pseudonyms and put out viral hooks while pretending to be an atheist. His ignorance of reality soon tripped him up. Trolls with a straw man view of atheists are relatively easy to spot.
Three people, including Daniel Florian the blogger, detected the fraud. Some judicious detective work unraveled the troll's multiple posting history and a little cross checking resulted in the surprising information that the poster was the Rev. Chris Fox, the Pastor of Kendalls Baptist Church in New London, NC.
Naturally, Florian and his readers were incensed by the deception and the possible ramifications. The implications were ugly. One reader went so far as to suggest that the Pastor's intent might have been to incite hate crimes by planting false evidence of atheist "immorality" on the site and then, armed with this "proof", goad his congregation into performing bigoted and inhumane acts against non-believers.
You can read the original story here:
When faced with his unmasking the Pastor did not see the need to apologize for his actions. He argued that they had been perfectly godly. According to him, he was merely trying to circumvent what he called a "censorship of ideas". This is not a reasonable assertion since the site, unlike many Christian sites, does not routinely censure material unless it is blatantly hateful or crude.
If you would like to make a formal complaint to this man or inform his parishioners of his behavior here is the URL of his church. http://www.kendallsbaptistchurch.org/staff.cfm
Please be sure to explain in detail why his behavior is both immoral and unacceptable by secular and community standards, even if it could be argued as acceptable to the god defined in the church's holy book. In fact, you might like to explain that the Pastor's actions lend further support to recent polls suggesting that the average atheist has higher moral standards and less of a tendency to be convicted of a crime than the average Christian.
Here is a list of the spin-off blogs about this story.