Case in point, from a Salon article about "Atheist TV" (which sounds perfectly dreadful from a simple marketing standpoint; similar to M.M. O'Hare's efforts on Austin cable public access when she was alive. But almost none of the comments dwell on that subject). The opening comment is by Jegudiel:
My favorites there are the ad hominems and the general and absolute ignorance. The first reply is ignorant. And then the arguments turn into "elitist!" arguments, before going full "YOU LIE!" by the end, complete with all caps and exclamation points. And what did the original comment say that was so remarkable? It as in response to an article that noted this about AtheistTV:
When I first tuned in at 2 p.m. on Thursday, the closing credits for a show were scrolling, set to a parody hymn that rhymed “Don’t be offended by a word to the wise” with “There’s no real estate in the skies.” Then, after several seconds of dead air, came a prerecorded call-in show called ”The Atheist Experience,” whose co-host Matt Dillahunty, wearing a black Hawaiian-style shirt decorated with flames and infinity symbols, needed no prompting to begin his show with the Biblical story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. “This is just absolutely horrible,” said Dillahunty. “And it’s the type of thing we get when we begin with the idea that the Bible is true and good, and you run into absurdities.”By implication, that is what all the responses to the original comment are defending. And they defend it with the grace of hooting monkeys or drunken frat boys. And with about as much knowledge and reasoning.
What absurdities these were the viewer would have to fill in for himself; there was no extrapolation from this story in terms of what social ills have happened in the name of God, no sense that Dillahunty was bothered by people following the Bible for any reason other than that he thinks it’s nuts to rely on a book for wisdom and guidance. “I don’t worship any being,” he said, “though I respect a lot of people and a lot of fictional characters.”
“If you know why your God is so stupid,” he said, “feel free and call us.”
But remember, it's your God that is so stupid; not theirs.
Tell me again atheism isn't a religion. Tell me again how the internet, like television was supposed to do for my generation, will liberate us from ignorance and make us all equally knowledgeable.*
*yeah, I'm in a bad mood. Spent the weekend helping my parents move out of my childhood home, which I THOUGHT I'd moved out of almost 40 years ago. You can't go home again because you never really leave home, until it isn't there anymore. Got home with a round concrete block a birdbath had sat on (and the birdbath, too), with some soil from the backyard still attached. Got all weepy about it. Last vestige of home, and all that.