Fishing For Atheists

27 Apr

Have you ever risen before dawn, gone down to the shore and cast your line into the sea, contemplating in the silence the majesty of creation and the wonder God has wrought and perhaps wondered what the atheist would contemplate at such a time, for he is the mighty empirical atheist, what does he see where we see such profound and spiritual wonder?

No, me neither.

If I’m up before dawn it’s insomnia, so I’ll read a little before going back to sleep, or it’s a trip to the airport, so I’ll go and make a pot of tea before waking my wife.

But obviously this blog isn’t going to be about atheists going fishing, that would be a little too bizarre and random even for me and I like bizarre and random, there’s a lot to be said for it.

You see I make assumptions about people.  I assume (against all the evidence) that individually people are of at least moderate intelligence, understands self referential humour, can cope with context, have a basic understanding and appreciation of servers and databases and read around just a little before opining.

As I hope you can appreciate such assumptions can lead to all sorts of hilarious shenanigans.

[I have somewhat more unpleasant and darkly cynical opinions about people en masse, if you take people en masse then at least one of them reads the Daily Mail and doesn’t take the contents with a hefty pinch of salt, least said.]  I also have a tendency to return to things from a day or even a week previously and as long as things follow a logical sense in my mind I’ll do or say them and willingly relate the thinking behind it if questioned (and if I can be bothered, obviously, and if my interlocutor isn’t rude, you really don’t need to swear and generally be abusive on the internet, unless you’re trying to make some sort rhetorical point or you want to demonstrate the paucity of your argument.)

On reading around a subject the news that Catholic priests in Ireland may be forced by law to violate the secrecy of the confessional led me to discover that in 2011 the law changed in Ireland such that if anyone is aware of any act of theft or fraud, in planning or having taken place, they are required by law to report it to the Garda.  That hasn’t been very well publicised.  Think on it, any act of theft.  What if you’ve paid no VAT for cash, is that an act of theft?  Should you grass up your builder?  Yourself?  Would you?  Massive barrel of snakes.

And I may occasionally go off at tangents, as you may have gathered by this point.

Anyway, yesterday Henry tweeted about apocalyptic hailstones.

So this was probably somewhere in my mind after I nipped into the garden this morning to close the shed door (it opens randomly in the wind no matter how you fasten it, I have actually bought a lock for it, about 2 years ago and should probably fit it this weekend, if it stops raining long enough, I’m not wandering around with power tools in the rain that’s asking for trouble) and I got soaked.  It’s only a few yards.  So I was thinking apocalyptic rain.  So I tweeted about the apocalyptic rain:

Then, as it does, my mind wandered on, if this is some sort of Apocalypse what can we expect?  Fire from heaven?  Well it’d dry things out at least.  And who would it be directed at?  Well the atheists presumably, that’d teach ’em.  So I tweeted to that effect:

Now I know that if you mention atheists in any tweet then some atheists are going to see it.  They look for tweets mentioning themselves.  Why?  Insecurity?  A basic thirst to be offended?  God alone knows.

I know that this goes on.  But it was early and I was soaked and I didn’t think on it all that much.  Anyway, as I tweeted shortly after the rain stopped.  Apocalypse averted.  Michael was kind enough to respond with a little light humour:

So I left it and went off about my day.

Later I discovered that I had left it too soon, some angry atheists had found my tweet, had decided to be offended and had decided to throw a slew of abuse in my general direction:

If they’d taken a moment to read other tweets in my timeline, and consider possible context or read around on the subject, even on my own blog, their ire might have been saved.

Now considering my previous experiences with tweets containing the word “atheist” I should know better, and I probably shouldn’t do it again, but then I am allowing others to dictate my behaviour by their ire.  I don’t think I should do that so periodically I may, even intentionally, go fishing for atheists.  Don’t get caught.

But before I go a little note to those Proselytizing Atheists who felt an overwhelming need to over react to my tweet.  Next time you see something like that go and read the other tweets of that person, read their blog, get a feel for them, ask, don’t go off half cocked.  I know some of you feel a compunction to tell anyone who is being a bit religious or a bit non atheistic that they are wrong (I know this because I’ve been told by some people like you that do feel that need), but really you don’t have to.  Religion may be wrong for you, but it’s not wrong for everyone.  I don’t pretend that religion answers all the questions that everyone has in life, the questions vary by person, the answers vary as well and so do the routes to those answers, and as such atheism cannot answer all the questions of life either.  We are all different.  Please learn to appreciate that diversity whether you believe it is wrought by the fractal complexity of nature or by the ineffable plan of an all knowing and all loving deity.


Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “Fishing For Atheists

  1. MrOzAtheist

    April 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I’m not sure that people can ‘choose’ to be offended. Also you make the assumption that your god exists. Lastly, I, for one, don’t look for ‘atheists’ so I can be offended but to find the ridiculous and erroneous things people say about us so I can help educate them.

    P.S. Substitue atheists for ‘black people’ ‘women’ or ‘homosexuals’ and wonder if making a joke anout those groups being burned alive is still funny. Being an abused minority is not always fun. People like you should know better.

    • Damocles

      April 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      “I’m not sure that people can ‘choose’ to be offended.”, People can choose not to take offence if presented with something of possible offence, they can turn the other cheek if they wish or simply walk away. Similarly they can choose to go with the taking of offence. If they trawl for comments that might offend them simply so they can have a rant at the person making the comments then they may have some sort of psychological issue IMO.

      “so I can help educate them.”, Oh, Oz. I’m surprised at you. While you have shown yourself to be a reasonable person, interested in debate, you must appreciate that just as I don’t represent all Christians (far from it) you don’t represent all atheists. Atheism is, if you’ll forgive the phrase, a broad church. While some are reasonable people others are aggressive and unduly antagonistic and largely uninterested in any form of polite discourse as shown above. Please don’t lower yourself in their defence.

      “Substitue …” If I’d said this other thing that I didn’t say it would be another kettle of fish? You don’t say.


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