Monday, December 02, 2013

Casting Pearls Before Trolls

One of my pastimes is to frequent debate blogs and pages where atheists like to troll religious folk. Once in a while I'll encounter an honest question, but mostly it is just somebody posting some kind of question that frames a Christian as a crazy person, and then waiting for a poor soul to take the bait only to subsequently flip flop on the ground as the troller throws them around on a string. At least, that's how I picture it happening in my mind.

Sometimes I want to come to that poor soul's aid by engaging in the conversation, but my hesitation comes from Jesus' instruction to avoid casting pearls before 'swine'. Seems maybe a bit rude and elitist to think like that, but I have had my suspicions confirmed far too many times to think that the average internet troll is looking for a real answer to their theological dilemma, or any substantive dialogue that doesn't result in confirmation bias.

So I've resolved to post my thoughts on here instead, where I hope real inquiry takes place, and to benefit any individuals who are looking for better ways to answer these kinds of questions, or struggling to resolve these questions for themselves. I will tag these random thoughts on my blog as #trollpearls


  1. I just read and enjoyed your post on evolution and Christianity. For what it's worth, I know that some of my Christian friends and family view discussing religion with me as casting their pearls before pigs. Conversely, I could view trying to help them as the same. Instead, might be best if we just realize people can be completely convinced of something that we find completely ridiculous and visa versa, but are nevertheless not swine for not finding our viewpoint as convincing as compelling and defensible as we find it. I've often heard this verse and the one about shaking the dust off your feet used to defend leaving the swine in righteous indignation for not listening to your truth. The problem with that outlook as I see it is that it fails to allow the truth bearer to learn anything from anyone with a different outlook. Good for insulating a belief, but not so good for productive discourse. Suppose a couple of young devout Jehovah's Witnesses came to your door in obedience to their understanding of pleasing God, and when you put down their arguments and offered reasons that you felt their faith failed to align with reality they just left and shook the ground off their feet noting that you were trolling them and that sadly you would find out just how right they were one day once it was too late. They aren't going to learn from anybody else with that attitude.

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing. I would agree with you in regards to dialoguing with people of different viewpoints. That is why I contrast Jesus' statement with a particular mindset, not a belief. I have great discussion with many atheists and non-atheists about all kinds of things we disagree about; I wouldn't call them trolls. I've also experienced the attitude that sets out to not seek truth but to ridicule and undermine.