Sometimes I like to take a look at the top stories on WordPress. Today there is a blog entry from Daniel Florien who caught a pastor impersonating atheists on his blog to make a point. The pastor, according to Florien, admitted it when caught but didn’t see anything wrong with his actions… at first. Here is an excerpt:
… this comment was posted by an atheist:
What’s wrong with killing babies? I see no problem with it. I have enough mouths to feed. I don’t get the argument and I am an atheist. Since I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe in anything characterized as good, bad / right, wrong. So, what’s the big deal?
At first I was shocked that anyone could say that. Then I realized that it must be a fundie in disguise, a sheep in wolves clothing. I wasn’t the only one — wintermute and Ty immediately called him out for “lying for Jesus.” … The problem was, he wasn’t getting anywhere. Nobody was being convinced or converted. So he tried another tactic — impersonating atheists under different names to show how immoral and stupid they supposedly were.
In a few hours, he went from apologizing for our past dealings with slimy lying Christians, to suggesting it’s okay to abuse women, kill neighbors, and slaughter children under the guise of atheism.
So I banned him. I found what he did to be disgusting. It would be like me pretending to me multiple Christians on a Christian blog, asserting there’s nothing wrong with raping women and killing children because God commands it in the Bible.
… I was able to figure out the commenter’s identity: Pastor Chris Fox of Kendalls Baptist Church in New London, NC. … I confronted him about his deceitfulness. He apologized “for upsetting me,” but doesn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing. He said:
There were others who wanted to make comments and had ideas, and they simply wanted to share those in the forum; so for those remarks, my sincere apology. I would also suggest attention given to the name-calling and other profanities used in various posts.
I was trying to make a point from a different perspective, of which I hear quite often, regarding morality and where it is derived. There was a debate recently where some of the same questions were asked and were actually given an honest look and answer….
I am in no way a fundie or extremist. Like you I believe in thinking, searching, asking questions, and hearing others from outside my box. I thank you for your allowing various opinions and sides to share.
Isn’t it interesting that a pastor comes here to preach morality and salvation to us sinful atheists, but then lies about his identity numerous times in order to slander atheism — and even when caught, refuses to acknowledge he did anything wrong. He thinks the issue is censorship of ideas, when it it’s really disgust at his actions.
In the latest update, the pastor does realize he messed up and he apologizes:
I want to express to you how deeply sorry I am for coming on this site and making the remarks I did and violating my own faith. It was out of bounds. I allowed the “debater” part of me go too far. I messed up and I have come to ask for your forgiveness. … – unreasonablefaith.com
Does the end justify the means? It seems he believed that was the case … until the story went public.
The pastor is wrong because he does not realize that we learn morality from many sources. I started out Catholic, but my morals come from many sources: Dr. Seuss, cartoons, songs, friends, teachers and life experiences as much as early religious teachings. All of these different sources, by the way, reinforce the same things: Don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t cheat, work hard, etc.
I don’t think this is a lesson about religion at all. This is a human story about our personal vs. our public morals.
I imagine in the future that we become far more connected than we are now. If every person’s every thought and decision were known instantly by hundreds or millions, would the world change for the better?
Another top WordPress story fits this same theme: Olivier Blanchard writes in a post titled “How to lose your job in 140 characters or less” about how someone got a job offer with Cisco, then wrote the following on Twitter, which was discovered and quickly commented upon by a Cisco employee. Oops!
I like Olivier’s caution:
So please, please, PLEASE, for your own sake THINK about what you are are about to post to the web (especially blogs, social networking sites and Twitter). Before you click “send,” “publish” or “update,” assume that everyone you know will read your comment. And by everyone, I mean your boss, coworkers, parents, grandparents, exes, recruiters, future employers, and yes, even your kids (even if you don’t have any yet).
It applies to more than just what we write. As Jason Mraz says, Live Righteously … no matter what you believe.