Support the Café

Search our Site

Browsing in the comments section…

Browsing in the comments section…

The Religious News Service explores the ministry of online atheists in “Online troll or therapist? Atheist evangelists see their work as a calling” by Kimberly Winston.

Atheists using the comments sections of religious or secular websites to counter religious claims may be following an evangelical call to convert others. The article interviews a couple of these missionaries for atheism:

Matt Davis, a 33-year-old British atheist who engages in religious debate on multiple American religion and atheist sites, says he often feels frustrated by the distance between himself and those he spars with.

“Most people won’t change their minds,” Davis said. “But maybe some of the people reading and not commenting might be on the fence and I might influence them.”

These “super-commenters” follow certain standards to prevent gentle persuasion turning nasty:

A lifelong atheist, Rocky has his own rules of engagement. He tries to be respectful, to place himself in the other person’s shoes, and refrain from name-calling. (One swear word from another commenter and he is out.)

Sometimes, he says it actually works.

Jonathan Bishop of the Crocels Trolling Academy concludes:

“Where the trolling is done to inform, as opposed to harass or stalk, then religious trolling of this kind can be helpful in encouraging those religious or anti-religious groups to look at themselves before pointing at others.”

The article is “part of a series on religious tolerance and combating hate speech online, brought to you with support from Google.”


Posted by Rosalind Hughes


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
خرید کریو

very nice

Gary Paul Gilbert

Yes, it does seem hard to navigate. I would love to have a list of titles of articles so one could click on the one one wants to read.

I figure eventually all I would have to do is click on “lead” and find the articles.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Philip Carr-Jones

This is simple feedback on your new format: not so much.
Glitchy. Unnatural to navigate. Really lost coherence. Big BOLD “Donate” dominates annoyingly. Not sure you get anything out of a too-brief sentence fragment and a “continue” button. Then there is the content itself. This bit about atheists commenting was shallow, and all too brief. It basically offered very little as do some other newer postings. This is loser. New does not imply improved.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café