Twitter, as we know, is a ripe and fruitful ground for nothing but brilliance, education and high conversational standards. The words flame and butthurt and troll are scarce and lost amongst the intellectually elite. Our back and forths end wars, settle disputes and reduce crime rates. Twitter is what the United Nations wishes it could be.
LOL. If only.
No, Twitter is instead a bubbling froth of mental sewage on a good day. It should, indeed, be called “Troller” rather than Twitter, as it appears the sole purpose of about 90% of Twitter users is to get under someone else’s skin. This leads to low-brow conversation, childish retorts and a whole lot of butthurt.
In true Twitter tradition, no user is immune to a troll or two, and I am no different. I get piles upon piles of empty, useless questions that appear to have been typed by a monkey. Yesterday in particular, someone asked me this:
Why bother debating? Can’t you just each have your respective beliefs?
This was asked, of course, as a response to my post titled, 7 Things Atheists Need To Stop Doing When Debating Theists, in which I take some time out from my busy schedule of making fun of religion, to make fun of atheists a little bit.
While I briefly answered the asker’s question on Twitter, mostly with sarcasm and personal digs, I saved my actual response for my readers. Why? I like you better than Twitter trolls. Simple as that.
So, why do I bother debating at all? There are several reasons:
1. It’s a challenge. People today are fucking stupid. They have no idea how to defend the shit they say, they think books are boring and get all their scientific knowledge from the Big Bang Theory. I find the majority of the conversation that happens today on deeper topics, is riddled with buzzwords and rehearsed sentences that literally have no fucking meaning at all. For instance, when an American puffs out his chest and says something about American freedom and liberty. The rest of the world knows it’s horseshit because there’s no freedom in the US outside of choosing from 10 different brands of peanut butter. Have you ever traveled through a few countries including the US? In which did you feel least free? As someone who’s traveled to near a dozen developing countries, I can tell you that the least free I’ve ever been is in the US. It’s a lie when Americans tell you about their freedom as though it’s something no one else has done better. Confronting them with debate on the topic, forces them to realize what’s wrong with their own country. True patriotism is recognizing a national problem and fixing it. Not glazing it over with buzzwords and mantras. True debate challenges people to defend things they may have never had to defend before, and working through the logic of defending your own position in your own head, makes the holes in your ideas every apparent, very quickly. It brings you to truth rapidly.
Your average Twitter troll.
2. I always learn something from the other person. I am not the type who’s content to sit around my whole life watching Snooki get punched by New Jersey riff-raff. Indeed, the cabs may be heah, but I am more interested in how they got here. Who drove the first cab? From which country did they originate? Did Andy Kaufman fake his own death and is now driving a cab somewhere in Laos as Latka? You may be content today with what you know, but my hunger for knowledge is absolutely insatiable. Most people learn most from peers and real life experience. I engage in debate, because I always walk away with an expanded knowledge on the topic.
3. It’s a quick way to get to know another person. As a socially-awkward nerd, I’ve never really mastered the art of flirting the way everyone else does it. For me, flirtation always came in the form of healthy debate on a challenging topic. I’ve fallen in love with more than one person because they kicked my ass in a debate. Today, I am married but I still like getting to know people and debate is the absolute best way to do so. It’s where their nastiest bits have a tendency to come out and if by the end of it, you can still stand each other, well then you’ve got a lifelong friend.
4. Theism affects policy in today’s world. I debate with theists in particular not because I give a shit what they believe, but because the major belief systems of today are working their way into our policy and eliminating freedoms and hurting people. If I can shake their faith a little bit, then I’m doing my part to shrink the numbers of believers and the fewer there are, the less their beliefs will affect the lives of people who do not share them. If you want people to respect what you believe and not try to shake it, then keep it to yourself and amongst other believers. Don’t impose your beliefs on us. Don’t knock on my door trying to convert me. Don’t take away my right to birth control. Don’t dictate what I can and cannot do with my body, or how I dress or what my kids learn in school. Don’t force me to swear to a deity that does not exist to prove I am telling the truth. Don’t force me to sing a national anthem that addresses a big ol’ white fucker in the sky. If you kindly keep your lies out of my life, I’d be more than happy to respect the fact that you believe them and not insist on debating you.
5. It’s against the law in a handful of states for an atheist to run for office. This is absolutely unacceptable and while I am not an American, if I can make enough people question their faith, and all my readers do as well, and all the atheists on Twitter and Reddit and Facebook do, too, then these states will have to amend these laws. If you debate a theist enough, you will make them see the holes in what they believe, you may shake what they believe just enough to make it less important to them that others believe, including their elected representatives.
6. Atheism is punishable by death in 13 different countries. The more I debate with theists, the fewer theists there will be. I’m not saying this because I’m all full of myself and think I’m great at debate. I say this because even the simplest of questions will poke holes in theism, because theism is, by it’s very nature, holy. I will not pardon that pun. There is nothing in any of the major religions that holds up to scrutiny and debating a theist will expose that fact. So, if by debating theists, I can create more atheists, then I will do that, because clearly, the more atheists there are in the world, the safer the world will be for atheists.
There you have it, 6 valid reasons why I love to debate theists. Can you think of one reason not to?