True Reason Up For Discussion at The Friendly Atheist

TrueReasonKregel.pngOur newly released second edition of True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism is under discussion at The Friendly Atheist.

It started with Hemant Mehta’s graciously posting an excerpt from the book several days ago, with some gracious(?) comments following. The agreement was that I would write a response for him to post, which came online today—with more gracious(?) discussion to follow.

Check it out!

Tom Gilson

Vice President for Strategic Services, Ratio Christi Lead Blogger at Thinking Christian Editor, True Reason BreakPoint Columnist

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8 Responses

  1. Billy Squibs says:

    It appears that not all the atheists on that blog are friendly atheists. The comments in that post are bruising in places.

    I wonder do people visit this forum and conclude that there is as much or even more derision on display? Certainly Bob Seidensticker got some robust responses recently (perhaps a few of the a little overly robust for my liking) but I suspect that even then there is no comparison to the contempt evident in some of the comments over at Mr Metha’s blog.

    Tom, how do you do it? How do you stand knowing that no matter what you write your words will, in some cases, be met with unreasonable aggression and insult? I guess I can take it when it’s online but I must admit to being made very uncomfortable at the thoughts of being confronted by such hostility in life outside the internet. This is partly why I’m so timid about my faith.

  2. Kyle S. says:

    “I wonder do people visit this forum and conclude that there is as much or even more derision on display?”

    It’s more a piranha tank than a forum, really.

  3. BillT says:


    Care to be more specific. I mean we just had Bob here and engaged him over and over and over on the specifics of his statements. Though in the long run I called him for ignoring what I said, changing what he said and engaging in childish word games that was after numerous honest attempts at dialog. And I was only one of a number of posters who I believe engaged him honestly and civilly. And Tom has and extraordinary amount of patience with posters of almost any ilk. Check his recent exchange with Robert (not Bob).

  4. G. Rodrigues says:

    Leaving aside the rhetorical fireworks, the plain matter of fact is that if the first comments in the thread linked to in the OP are any indication, the intellectual level on this blog is light years beyond what passes for reasoning in Mr. Mehta’s blog.

  5. Tom Gilson says:

    Hi, Billy,

    Yes, I’d say the comments there are more bruising than they are here. I had to look up one word that somewhat aimed at me–I’d never heard it before–and after I did, I knew why I’d never heard it before, and I wished I hadn’t looked it up.

    I don’t think interpersonal bruising on any level is helpful here, but it’s hard to keep things inside the right line.

    I don’t face this kind of insult often, except on the Internet. On the web I can just consider it unimportant, or a chance to think of Matthew 5:11-12 and Matthew 5:43-47. I’ve experienced it once in a great while offline, and I guess I do the same, which is to stay engaged as long as I think there’s a chance it might be productive or fruitful, and then back off from it after that.

    I’m confident enough in Christ that I can let these things pass by. Now, if it’s people who are personally close to me, that’s a different matter. I still have a lot of growing to do.

  6. Tom Gilson says:

    Piranha tank?

    In the past few days at the Friendly Atheist, where “you can be skeptical and friendly at the same time,” I’ve been cussed at and called names including (with computer search frequency counts):

    Weasel – 13
    S**t – 14 (with or without bovine emphasis)
    Idiot – 11
    Lies or Lying – 23
    F**k – 11

    By my count (I believe in evidence), nearly one-quarter of comments on the first thread were drive-by insults, not engaging in the least substance, but offering gratuitously rude opinions like “I heart my invisible, pink unicorn! You can’t prove she doesn’t exist because I have faith (TM)!! IPU blesses you!”

    If you think this is a piranha tank here, get some perspective.

    Your opinions and your arguments may come under pressure. If they do, that pressure really ought to–and usually does–include a substantive explanation. It’s fine to disagree and say why.

    But we don’t do drive-bys. There have been exceptions but not many and I don’t tolerate them unless I miss them.

  7. Tom Gilson says:

    Further clarifying:

    It’s my intention here that every person gets treated as a human being, with courtesy and respect.

    It is not my intention that every argument gets treated with kid gloves. If you take a weak or poorly supported position, expect to be held accountable for it. But expect to be treated with dignity as a person.

    Which has not been the case for Christians over at the Friendly Atheist.

  8. Billy Squibs says:

    I curious, Tom. Do you regret dipping your toe into the piranha tank?

    (You can opt to maintain a diplomatic silence if you don’t wish to answer? )

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