A few weeks ago I came accross a woman who decided that she would post her daily devotionals in what was then an almost entirely secular group in the sense that no one else had ever thought to post religous topics, though I still have no idea how many believers vs non believers there are in the group. The theme of the online group was "a few good women" and I would imagine she felt that in order to be considered a good woman, she would show everyone how strong her faith in god and Christ is. She'd go on about how Christ gives her strength and brings love and wisdom into her life. It was really just the typical, fuzzy Christian rhetoric that most of you have probably heard ad nauseam. If it were just the one instance of this woman professing her Jeebus-love and proselytizing, I'd just let it ride but it was becoming a regular topic of discussion.
While I knew that posting an opposing viewpoint would draw a lot of criticism and would end in most of the other people in the group labeling me the "angry atheist", I decided that I would roll the dice and accept the consequences. Yes... ladies and gentlemen, I decided to play CAPTAIN ATHEIST! Once my mind was made up I sprang into action countering her empty, emotive, fallacious assumptions with logic, reasoning, and truth be told a bit of naughty sarcasm (as is customary to less tactful fools like me).
At first she tried to retaliate! She very naively posted an oversimplified version of the watchmaker argument and then threw in a bit of Pascal's wager for good measure. She must have been flooded with feelings of self righteousness and "Holy Ghost" empowerment because she ended with the time tested, "my faith is unshakeable!" After a chuckle or two I pounced right on her overconfident banter and completely disassembled her arguments (not that it was difficult) in several different ways so as to show her that she was as fractally wrong as it is possible to be for a conscious, sentient being. After I cleverly trounced her arguments, I also felt compelled to point out that her ending statement about her faith being "unshakeable" is a proclamation of a close-minded philosophy that begins and ends with empty dogma. When you exclude your views from scrutiny and ignore a well reasoned, logical argument against them, you shut off the very mechanism that would have otherwise allowed you to learn, grow and flourish in the clarity of true wisdom.
It ended with her posting, "blah, blah, blah... what you say can never shake my faith" and at that point; at the point where all intelligent discourse had been forsaken, I pointed out that, "blah, blah, blah" had little in the way of content to respond to and considered the discussion ended. Oddly enough only one or two other people from the group tried to come to her aid and argued worse, but I was also pleasantly surprised when I found out that there were two other atheists or agnostics in the group and after it was all said and done I received more respect and praise from other group members and not the alienation that I expected. Signs of hope? I think so...but CAPTAIN ATHEIST's work isn't quite done. My hat's off to all of you, who at one time played CAPTAIN ATHEIST too, some at a great personal cost and others purely for entertainment. Play hard, play well my fellow die-hard combatants!