Atheists have become much more publicly militant and belligerent in recent years. And they have taken to the Internet as their bullying playground. They have found the Internet a favorable medium to spew out godless vitriol, and have actually had some success converting people to their cause by so doing. They do not typically gain their Internet converts by means of logical reasoning. While holding a public debate, one renowned Internet atheist admitted to the audience, “My job is to confuse the (expletive) out of you.” This seems to be a main focus of their online approach as well—simply to confuse people, rather than by proving their view is correct.
The primary way online atheists confuse people is by throwing out lies and half-truths. Of course, a half truth is a whole lie; but sometimes they give added credence to those lies by throwing in an element of truth. A commonly perpetuated Internet lie is that “radical (i.e., actual, Bible-believing) Christians are just as dangerous as radical Muslims.” And as “proof” they will cite Timothy McVeigh and Anders Behring Breivik as examples of Christian terrorists. McVeigh was guilty of killing 168 people when he bombed the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995; Breivik killed 8 people in a bombing in Oslo, Norway, and then murdered 69 more in a mass shooting at a nearby youth camp. However, neither of them were actually Christians, even in the denominational sense, much less the Biblical sense. Consider this quote: “It is essential that science take an undisputed precedence over biblical teachings.” Does this sound like something a Christian would say? Yet it is a direct quote from Anders Breivik. What about this quote? “Science is my god”—direct from the lips of Timothy McVeigh. Their views were not remotely Christian, and certainly the Bible had no influence on their actions; contrary to Muslim terrorists, who act in direct obedience to the teachings of their supposed “holy book.”
Internet atheists also like to throw out the Crusades as evidence of the supposed atrocity of Christianity. Unlike McVeigh and Breivik, the Crusades were certainly perpetrated by those at least professing an allegiance to Christianity. However, this fails to prove anything flawed in the character of true Christianity. The New Testament, the Christian’s constitution, nowhere authorizes waging physical warfare against a group of people simply because they are not Christians (the causes of the Crusades were more complex than this, but that is a story for another day). Conversely, the New Testament specifically states, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal” (2 Cor. 10:4, emphasis LM). Jesus rebuked Peter when he attempted to defend Christ’s Cause with a literal sword (Matt. 26:51-53). The fact that certain people professing Christianity have acted immorally proves nothing—one must establish that the teachings of Christianity (the New Testament) compel people to act immorally. And this no atheist can do, but that will not stop atheists from attempting to cloud the air with such accusations.
Remember, an atheist has no reason to see himself as having a moral obligation to tell the truth. The more a lie is repeated, the more it seems to be the truth in people’s minds. Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda is credited with saying, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” and Internet atheists seem to adhere closely to this maxim.
And as might be expected with bullies, Internet atheists also attempt to win arguments and proselytes through name-calling. One of their favorite epithets is “flat-earth creationists,” as if to believe in creation were equivalent to believing in a flat earth. They cast any number of insults in such a way as to insinuate that believing in the Bible renders one less intelligent or incapable of thinking for oneself. However, it does no such thing. One who blinds his mind to the abundant evidence for God is the one who dulls and darkens his intellect (Rom. 1:19-22). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7); all knowledge to be obtained rests on this most fundamental awareness.
The Christian who ventures online needs to understand that online inhabitants are typically not interested in a fair exchange of ideas. That goes at least double for atheist trolls who lurk online to seduce the innocent. Seeking to engage and reason with atheistic proselytizers online is typically a waste of time. This does not mean that one should never consider,
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Tim. 2:25-26).
However, if atheists encountered online continue to “oppose themselves and blaspheme,” you need to be ready to move along to better soil and a better environment for a Christian soul to dwell (cf. Acts 18:6).