I post this conversation here as an example of the sort of bias I dealt with, not from Christians, but from atheists.
All the words are copied and pasted directly from the original posts; no changes or corrections have been made.
My comments after the fact are in brackets.
[I had earlier posted, in a comment or discussion, that my political views were most closely aligned with Libertarianism. That was apparently enough for Lara B to assume all sorts of things about me.]
I said [as a Facebook status update]: “My views are too complex and thoughtful to be reduced to an emotionally charged soundbite, to be cut, pasted, and spread like a virus, in an attempt to subtly shame anyone who dares not participate.”
To which Lara B**** replied: “I wrote a response, but I’ve slept on it a couple days, and have decided I don’t have the heart to post it. It’s not mean or anything, just factual, but I know it would be no different (common sense wise) than trying to have a conversation with Rush Limbough about politics, or trying to have a conversation with a fundamentalist about religion. And because I really want to feel respect for fellow athests, I’m going to bow out of this, to try to hang onto what I have left for you.”
[She’s bowing out before she’s even begun? She was going to comment, but instead she decided to comment to let me know she decided not to comment?]
So I said: “I’m naturally puzzled by your comment, Lara. I really can’t imagine what it could be about my post that should spark such a strange statement. You have basically said (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that what I said was not factual, and that if you attempted to explain to me in what way it was not factual, I would behave something akin to a closed-minded bigot (like Limbaugh or a fundamentalist Christian). Have I had an argument with your or sometihng in which I behaved that way?
I think I’m insulted. But it likely won’t last the night. :)”
To which she replied: “No correction needed, you’ve got it right. (I suspect you do not care at all about my response [unless it’s irresistible fuel for the writter’s nature in you], but if you really do, it’s on my desktop. It’s already written, so it wouldn’t be a waste of any more of my time to post it. I just know it won’t get me anywhere. People who are stanchly anti-government [I’ve found those are usually people who call themselves libertarians], are just as closed-minded about that belief as the aforementioned people.)”
[The brackets in the above quote are hers, not mine.]
[And by now I’m thinking, who is this person?]
So, she updates her profile and says: “I can’t believe there are so many people who do not want me and my kids to have health insurance. I can’t believe there are so many people who have it themselves, and actually think they are covered.”
And I say: “I guess I can imagine that there actually exist some people who, for some strange reason, don’t want you or your kids to have health insurance, but I can’t imagine why. I certainly can understand lots of people not understanding their own insurance policies.
What I have a problem with is the rhetoric on both sides. For isntance, I have no doubt that the vast majority of people are against government run health insurance (and are fearful of government intrusion) NOT because they don’t want people to have insurance or they don’t care if people are sick and dying, but simply because they disagree with you about the role of government in our lives.”
And she says: “Oh, I have a problem with the rhetoric, WITH A PASSION. It’s nearly *the* biggest problem I have with politics. In this case, the ****rhetoric**** of how bad it would be to have government health care as an option. (Example of hated rhetoric: “people simply disagree about the role of government in our lives.”)”
To which, I crazily reply, thinking I’m actually talking to a thinking human being: “Lara, did you mean that what I said was heated? Or do you really mean to say it was “hated.” ?? Either way, huh? How?”
So she says: “I was trying to point out that an example of rhetoric, that I myself hate, is, “people simply disagree about the role of government in our lives”
Not detestable. Just hard to listen to sometimes. It looks like just more rhetoric, and it’s a hot button with me, when I sit here without being able to take my kiddos to the dr. It’s rhetoric that’s keeping them from it; not real stuff.”
So I say: “Rhetoric: the undue use of exaggeration in speech or writing. Language that is elaborate, pretentious, insincere, or intellectually vacuous. Typically, the use of inflammatory language, or propaganda, in politics.
What I said was not rhetoric. It was a statement of fact. People disagree, sometimes vehemently, about the role and influence of government in our lives. And that strikes at the very heart of the health care debate.
Perhaps if your passion was tempered just a bit with some objective reasoning, we might have been able to have a discussion. But I’ve had enough prejudice and mud for a while.”
[And it was true. I was really tired of this person.] On the other thread, the one about my views being complex, I asked her: “Why do you feel it necessary to respond only to tell me you don’t like me and talking to me wouldl be a waste of your time?”
But she just said she didn’t say what she said. [It’s unfortunate that I didn’t quote her and now I’d never find the original posts. She must have just said, plainly, “That’s not what I said,” or I probably would have quoted her. I get a lot of that with people. And even if you quote their own words back to them, they’ll say they didn’t say it. It’s almost as if words can mean whatever you want them to mean. Reminds me of Biblical apologists. Hmmm.]
And then on her update she said:
“Yes, I know what rhetoric is, LOL!
Perhaps if your passion was tempered just a bit with some objective reasoning, we might have been able to have a discussion. (Almost verbatim what I’ve been thinking for almost a week.)” [These two conversations occurred over about a week.]
I said: “So, let me get this straight. You start out by posting on one of my updates (an update in which I simply state that my views are complex), insulting me, in effect calling me a closed-minded bigot, saying you won’t even really respond to what I’ve said, you just wanted to let me know that what I said wasn’t true, and I wouldn’t really care to hear your views anyway.
And now you have the raw nerve to tell me that I’m the one lacking in objective reasoning skills. Lara, you take the cake. I applaud your vastly superior rhetoric. I bow to your circular inanity, your complete lack of ability to actually argue a point, not to mention your mind-reading and character discerning capabilities.
And now, I leave you to cuddle with your delusions of reason.”
[Jesus, talking to some people is like wading through vanilla yogurt. You’re always asking yourself, why am I doing this? And later, I found that I was on an email list with Lara B.. When I joined into a discussion, I must have disagreed with someone, because here comes Lara B. with an email to the list directed at that person telling her some nonsense like, ‘just because some people use big words and fancy language, it doesn’t make them right.’ I ignored her. So here’s to you Lara B.–My vocabulary and precise communication skills are a reflection of both my intelligence and my education; they may not make me always right, but they hint that I am at the very least better educated than most. Take that in whatever way you like.]