Lya Kahlo carried out an
informal atheistical survey of Christian forums—she visited 35 online religious forums as an openly atheist but friendly visitor, to sample their attitudes. The results aren’t pretty. Her summary:
The entire experience can be summed up fairly easily. Generally speaking, they know next to nothing about atheists, they are extremely emotionally attached to their deities, and they are just people looking for truth as we are. The animosity that sparks between atheists and theists seems to stem from the two camps speaking two different languages – atheists speak in terms of empirical evidence and logic; theists speak in terms of faith, emotion, and the unknown. An atheist expects proof before acceptance, a theists sees acceptance as proof.
Do I see it as a waste of time? On some of the boards (*cough*HolyCultureRadio*cough*) it was a waste of time. On boards frequented by a large teenage population or a way-out-there new-agey element, it was a waste of time. But this is not the case overall—surprisingly some of the more useful conversations happened on some fairly conservative forums.
Lastly, I think there are some allies to be made out there in the fight against an impending American Theocracy (okay, that’s a little dramatic), women’s rights and anti-war activism. There are plenty of good, decent xtians out there. However, we are never going to understand each other. We speak different languages.
I don’t doubt that the majority of Christians have good intentions. That language barrier, though…that’s a killer, especially since there’s little mutual interest in learning to speak each other’s language.