The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Did Atheist Reddit Save Her Soul?

Posted on | June 22, 2016 | 43 Comments

There was a rather notorious incident in 2011 when a 15-year-old girl using the handle “Lunam” posted the photo above on the Reddit atheism forum, showing a copy of a Carl Sagan book her “super religious mother” bought her for Christmas. This being Reddit during its Wild West heyday — when the infamous troll “Violentacrez” was still in action — the reaction to Lunam’s photo was, uh, memorable. Which is to say, it was an atrocity, a human rights violation, worse than the Holocaust.

If you’re going to denounce sexism, go all-out, I say.

Rebecca Watson did a post in which she cited some of the predictably atrocious comments, e.g., “Well 15 is legal many places, including my country, so I’ll only have to deal with abduction charges.” To which another commenter responded with a meme: “You call it kidnapping. I call it surprise adoption.” There were comments even worse than these which got “upvoted” hundreds of times, which showed that Reddit is “a whole community of people who congratulate one another for being awful,” Watson concluded. And maybe her conclusion was correct.

On the other hand, maybe the average cubicle-dweller lives such a dehumanizing existence — crunching code, responding to inter-office emails, attending pointless staff meetings, etc. — that when he finds an unrestricted Internet playpen where he can say whatever he wants behind the screen of a pseudonym, his inner adolescent inevitably emerges.

Eight hours a day, five days a week, the cubicle-dweller does whatever it is he does to pay the bills, and there are all these rules, see? The 21st-century office environment is quite hostile to free expression. The list of Things You Can’t Say grows longer every day, and the cubicle-dweller’s inner adolescent must be strenuously repressed, lest he accidentally say or do something “offensive” that will get him written up or fired for violating the human resources policy. This regime of repression, I suggest, is why so many guys delight in saying rude things in any Internet venue where anonymity protects them from consequences.

Making rape jokes about a 15-year-old? Obviously this is a very bad thing to do, but what do you expect on a Reddit atheism forum?

The 2011 “Lunam” incident was cited by prominent atheist author Richard Carrier when he issued a manifesto in August 2012:

There is a new atheism brewing, and it’s the rift we need, to cut free the dead weight so we can kick the C.H.U.D.’s back into the sewers and finally disown them, once and for all.

What is a “C.H.U.D.”? “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller,” a reference to a 1984 horror/sci-fi movie. Anyway, Carrier’s call for a “new atheism,” free from the “dead weight” of scummy Reddit types, did not make him any friends among the scummy Reddit types. Carrier was much hated as a fun-spoiling douchebag because of his pretentious call for “building a system of shared values” in order to “start marginalizing the evil in our midst, and grooming the next generation more consistently and clearly into a system of more enlightened humanist values.”

“Eat your broccoli, kids — it’s good for you!”

The recent downfall of Richard Carrier — banned from Skepticon because of sexual harassment allegations — inspired widespread celebration not only among feminists within the atheist community, but perhaps even more by anti-feminists. Carrier’s enthusiastic devotion to feminism had made him obnoxious to male atheists like Phil Mason, who feel feminists have hijacked atheism. What feminists have done in recent years is to attempt to redefine opposition to feminism as “hate speech,” so that being against feminism is equivalent to being a neo-Nazi, and thereby justify silencing dissent. Contrary to their constant claims that they are being “silenced” by online “harassment,” feminists are in no danger of losing their positions as university professors of Women’s Studies, as authors and newspaper columnists, as employees of non-profit feminist organizations. Their security within the Feminist-Industrial Complex is nearly absolute. And no one is trying to “silence” feminists. Who has quoted feminists more often than I have? Only by quoting feminists can I demonstrate how dangerously crazy they are, and I can’t very well quote them if they are “silenced,” can I?

“Truth is great and will prevail if left to herself . . . she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.”
Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1786

This is what I believe — that “free argument and debate” are necessary if truth is to prevail. And it is strange how things happen when free speech is permitted. Remember how “Lunam” was a teenage atheist, proud to get a Carl Sagan book for Christmas? She posted her picture with the book on Reddit and the forum erupted in rape jokes because, hey, it’s atheists on Reddit, and what do you expect from such people? And . . .

So I’m a Christian now! Weird huh? 😀
It’s a big step up from Christmas when I made the top of r/all with an atheism post. I’m just excited and wanted to tell the (reddit) world!
Have a wonderful day.

That’s what “Lunam” wrote in August 2012, about eight months after her famous Reddit moment, and don’t you think that the raw sewer of filth spewed at her by those Reddit trolls may have influenced her against atheism? Let people be who they are and say what they think — remove the repressive force of political correctness — and sometimes things happen that are so amazing we almost might call them miracles.

It’s easier to believe in miracles than to believe in coincidences, when atheists on Reddit end up leading young souls to Jesus.



43 Responses to “Did Atheist Reddit Save Her Soul?”

  1. concern00
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 4:25 am

    I’ll start with a God bless her. Then I’d like to express my view that the wonderful thing about your blog, whether you’re right or wrong, whether I agree with everything you say or not, is the fact that we’re having this conservation. That the difficult topics are out there for us to chat about, and occasionally post a snarky comment about.

    This is why Trump has been, to date, somewhat popular. We must be allowed to have these conversations and let them come to a rational and non-violent outcome.

  2. Jack
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 4:51 am

    “…and grooming the next generation more consistently and clearly”
    That’s turned out to be an unfortunate choice of words.

  3. robertstacymccain
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 6:01 am

    Trump’s success in the GOP field demonstrates that people are tired of politically correct bullshit. Whether this mad-as-hell attitude will be sufficient to elect him president is another question, but after eight years of Obama, a lot of people are so angry that they don’t care about anything else except brandishing a middle finger to the PC elite.

  4. robertstacymccain
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 6:03 am

    Yeah, there are so many layers of irony in the Richard Carrier story, it would be like Schliemann excavating Troy to uncover them all.

  5. Robert What?
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 6:19 am

    As an aside, I can imagine that slaving away in a soul crushing corporate cubicle in this post modern, HR, PC era can lead a young person to conclude there is no God.

  6. Robert What?
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 6:22 am

    Robert, as another aside, the fact that you care about this stranger’s relationship with God is to your credit. Love you, McCain, but in a … you know … manly way.

  7. CrustyB
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 6:49 am

    She recieved hating hatred from hatetastic haters with “NOH8” logos on their avatars.

  8. Steve Skubinna
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 9:15 am

    There are many reasons a person might choose atheism, but one is definitely that if you eliminate God, then you eliminate any requirement for civil behavior or in fact a system of ethics.

    This is not to say atheists are not ethical. I admire the ones who attempt to develop an ethical framework without reference to religion and in fact consider that a very good thing. On the other hand, there are plenty who think “So there are no consequences to what I do! Wooo-hoooo!!!”

  9. Steve Skubinna
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 9:16 am

    But they were “Brights” so it wasn’t really hatred, simply rational commentary. Only a stupid bigot blinded by faith in an imaginary sky friend would take it as hate.

  10. CrustyB
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 9:48 am

    Oh yeah, excuse me. It was “activism” when they did it but it’s “hate” when I do it.

  11. Dunning Kruger
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 10:31 am

    Without God, evil is reduced to “things I arbitrarily don’t prefer”. When you see the scum of humanity acting like this, you need to ask yourself, “is this just something I don’t prefer, or is it actual, real live evil?” Moral absolutes point to a Lawgiver.

  12. Steve Skubinna
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 12:03 pm

    Or as Barack Obama defined sin, “something not in accordance with my values.”

    Actually, I am interested in building ethical systems based on something other than belief in God. Not to say religious ones are not desirable, but those who don’t agree with your faith, or profess not to hold one themselves, really should have something other than mere self interest to guide them.

    At the most basic level, even if it does rely on self interest, is that if you are known to treat people well, with courtesy, dignity and respect, then they are likely to treat you that way (unless they are psychopaths or narcissists).

    To my mind, the most innovative and intriguing TV program of this century so far was My Name Is Earl. Despite running only four seasons, it dealt with precisely this question, in a comedic manner. Earl is a small time criminal and total loser, who after hitting rock bottom hears about karma and decides that’s why his life sucks. So he makes a list of everything he’s done wrong and goes forth to make amends.

    While at first his motives are selfish in that he does good only to improve his own karmic situation, he gradually comes to learn that doing good can be its own rewards, and that by trying to be a better person you can actually become one.

    Despite being farcical and over the top, the show did provide some very subversive (by the standards of Hollywood morality) lessons. In fact I wonder if that was accidental or deliberate. After all, A&E expected Duck Dynasty to be a joke, letting people laugh at these stupid rednecks and their primitive lives. They were taken aback that people actually admired and respected the Robinson family. You lose touch with what people outside your bubble think, feel and believe.

  13. robertstacymccain
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 1:01 pm

    The Roman Empire was built on sheer military power in a very hierarchical society ruled by an aristocracy. Our latter-day devotees of secular democracy tend to overlook these aspects of the Roman experiment when citing it as a precedent for a strictly secular government. All the harms resulting from official atheism — as evidenced by the disasters of the French Revolution, and the even greater disaster of the Soviet Union — are likewise ignored, as we are urged to emulate the secular democracies of Europe. The problem with these examples is that European secular democracy was only possible after the United States won two World Wars and then spent nearly half a century guarding Europe against Soviet aggression. Today, we see Europe weak and decadent, teetering on the brink of anarchy and bankruptcy and yet American progressives still think the United States should be like Sweden, Denmark or, God help us, France.

  14. DeadMessenger
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 1:28 pm

    You’ve triggered me with your hateful rapey comments.

  15. DeadMessenger
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 1:30 pm

    You not Feeling the Bern, Stacy?

  16. Jeanette Victoria ?????????
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 1:48 pm

    Proof that the so-called tolerant left is anything but

  17. Dunning Kruger
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 1:54 pm

    Genghis Khan and the N@tzi party were acting in their self-interest. If there’s a real standard for good and evil it lies outside mankind.

  18. DeadMessenger
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 2:06 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this, and I think that unbelievers are morally led to a degree (which they’d never admit) by the knowledge of God and His laws.

    Romans 1:19-20, “…since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

    I think that because of his sin nature, man is totally depraved through and through, and without God’s moral influence, people would have destroyed themselves long ago.

    Psalm 53:1, 3, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

    Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit has a restraining ministry for the time being. He restrains the actions of fallen angels (and people) who also could have – and would have – destroyed us long ago if He’d let them.

    But – and this is speculation on my part, but seems plausible – He has also restrained planet (or should I say, ecosystem) or people destroying space debris from striking Earth as it has on every other planet and body in the solar system. But we see in Revelation, during the tribulation, large (and small) bodies do strike Earth, with extraordinarily bad consequences. It seems like there are multiple strikes and air bursts from a shattered comet (“Wormwood”) that is accompanied by fire and brimstone (brimstone being burning sulfer, a component of comets).

    Between that, and the creepy demonic locust creatures from the abyss, the wars, economic collapse, famine and pestilence, massive earthquakes, etc., well, you’d think that would make people run straight into the arms of Jesus, but as it turns out, not really.

    But then, what do I know? And I’m not planning to be here for all that stuff anyway.

  19. GruntOfMonteCristo
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 2:10 pm

    It’s also possible that she actually read that Sagan book, “Demon Haunted World,” and concluded, like I did, that Sagan was a Christian-hating, hypocrite moron with weed-induced paranoia.

  20. DeadMessenger
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 2:15 pm

    In the same way that Isaiah said there would come a time when evil would be called good, and good called evil, now intolerance is called tolerance, and vice versa. Welcome to Superman Bizarro World, JV. “Me not hungry, me want hot dog.”

  21. Guest
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 2:26 pm

    I love when atheists talk about good and bad and (gasp) evil as though they are absolute concepts. It’s adorable.

  22. Daniel Freeman
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 3:48 pm

    His name is literally “Dick Carrier.” And he thought feminists would accept him.

  23. Steve Skubinna
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 3:50 pm

    There’s self interest when you intend to annihilate your opponents, and another type when you think you’re going to be sharing the planet with them.

    The Nazis officially considered themselves only accountable to “history,” and the only legitimate self interest was in advancing “the race.”

    It probably helped a lot that they were also more or less pagan. Hitler believed Christianity was a Jewish plot to sap the martial character of the Aryans.

  24. RS
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 4:41 pm

    Here is the problem, however. Either a code of ethics is based upon a transcendent morality or it is based upon one human’s ability to force another to comply with a set of man-made rules.. The “enforcer” may be benevolent but if the benevolent dictator is overthrown by someone with greater power, his ethics are overthrown, as well. (Note, I use the word “transcendent” deliberately to avoid the immediate atheist “don’t force your religion on me” red herring.)

  25. Steve Skubinna
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 6:14 pm

    We need to talk about your TPS report…

  26. Steve Skubinna
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 6:19 pm

    Even many atheists find themselves arguing in favor of natural law. So there is a possibility that one can accept the existence of good and evil without a religious basis.

    It just takes some more thinking and analysis.

    I had an argument years ago where I said it was bad that schools did not teach ethics. My opponent triumphantly asked “Yeah? Who’s ethics?” as though she’d just torpedoed my argument and forced me into the dreaded “separation of church and state” trap.

    “Don’t abuse people. Don’t lie to them. Don’t harm or kill them unless it’s self defense or defending others. Don’t steal. Respect property.” I said. “Whose ethics are those?”

  27. robertstacymccain
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 6:30 pm

    Well, I stumbled on it and wondered, “Whatever happened to her?” So I checked and … 😀

  28. NeoWayland
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 8:35 pm

    What Christians call the Golden Rule works.

    Versions arose independently in many cultures. I’d argue it’s a cornerstone of civilization.

  29. BooBoo75
    June 22nd, 2016 @ 9:23 pm

    I went to skepchick blog to read the comments. Illuminating. For a bunch of people who love to peacock an obnoxious overweening in their so called “rational thinking” they sure as shit descend into a hysterical emotional maelstrom in the blink of an eye.

  30. Jacqueline Mathias
    June 23rd, 2016 @ 2:26 am
  31. Quartermaster
    June 23rd, 2016 @ 5:05 am

    The Bible teaches that God sustains His creation. He’s allowing things to slowly run down, however, which, I think, is the reason we are seeing more and more bad stuff. It’ll all come to head during the Tribulation period.

  32. Quartermaster
    June 23rd, 2016 @ 5:07 am

    Sounds like he might be, he’s just not enjoying the prospects. After all, history shows us what the results of secular government are.

  33. Quartermaster
    June 23rd, 2016 @ 5:08 am

    Alas, ToM is not a safe space for the triggered.

  34. Quartermaster
    June 23rd, 2016 @ 5:10 am

    I think he’s going to win, although the result for the country will be little different from the election of Hillary. Judgment has been set, and it’s about to fall on this country. Alas, we will suffer right along with the guilty.

  35. RichFader
    June 23rd, 2016 @ 8:09 am

    I suspect if the atheist movement kicked out all the misanthropes and misogynists, they could hold conventions in a studio apartment.

  36. ubik
    June 26th, 2016 @ 10:21 pm

    May we reflect the Light, online and in our lives.

  37. ubik
    June 26th, 2016 @ 10:22 pm

    I’ll need you to come in tomorrow morning (Saturday) to get some work done…

  38. ubik
    June 26th, 2016 @ 10:23 pm

    And you need a little more, umm, flair?
    What is it,exactly, that you do around here, Hillary?

  39. ubik
    June 26th, 2016 @ 10:27 pm

    If faith is a gift, maybe some don’t receive it? The need for us to reflect God’s grace and light is needed for them even more. Mr McCain, you are a light shining in the darkest places of America.

  40. ubik
    June 26th, 2016 @ 10:28 pm

    Since 1789, France has been seduced by “rationalism”, as if Man knows better than God.

  41. ubik
    June 26th, 2016 @ 10:29 pm

    I just thought it was funny.
    P.S. I think Earl was a Southerner brought up in a Southern Baptist environment he rejected. Karma was his word for a world that should make sense.
    Don’t think it does, really. Would Hillary be this close to the White House in a rational, just world?
    but, like Israel and Judah under bad kings, we are under God even when the worldly are evil.

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