Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Atheists and "venom"

A post on the CNN Belief Blog talked about the online conversations people had about Sandy, and broke them down into four categories:

"1. God bless: It was a message expressed by well-wishers around the world....

 "2. Thank God: For those caught in Sandy’s path, the conversation was different...Those who could post online expressed gratitude...

"3. God’s wrath: A small minority saw Sandy as God’s judgement.

"4. God does not exist: Some used Sandy to question religion or at least the idea of blaming the storm on God, employing science, humor and venom."

See what they did there? Items #1 and 2 are presented as positive-- support, sympathy and gratitude are used to describe the posts. (Did no one offer support and sympathy without referring to God or prayers? I find this highly unlikely, but the writer seems to want us to believe it.)  Item #3 (which is by far the most horrible one listed) is presented without comment, which suggests a neutral stance on the part of the writer. Only item #4 gets negative editorializing thrown in: atheists may be funny, but they're also venomous. Bad atheists!

Frankly, I don't think the aftermath of a hurricane is really the time to be posting one's religious or anti-religious beliefs. A simple message of support (which does not have to include phrases like "God bless" or "my prayers are with you") seems more appropriate. Even so, I can understand the thought processes that led to this post: "Praying won't do any good. Send some aid or go volunteer if you really want to help. Talking to your imaginary friend won't do anything." Seeing so many people praise God after he supposedly sent devastation on such an epic scale is frustrating. The "God's judgment" quote, on the other hand, comes from Westboro Baptist Church. I can't understand the thought processes of anyone associated with that church at all, and don't wish to try.

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