By Bill Muehlenberg
Atheists, secularists, and even trolls pretending to be Christians, have learned how to attack Christians and seek to shut down their work – all in the name of tolerance of course. One major way in which they do this is by rehashing and regurgitating red herrings, straw men, and other logical fallacies as they object to Christian beliefs and practices.
They have turned this into an art form: raising silly objections which have no bearing on reality whatsoever. They will repeatedly claim that Christians believe something or do something, and when you point out to them that they don’t, they will just keep on making the same claims. It does not matter how many times you answer their questions and refute their false charges, they will just keep raising them again.
This happens all the time, and is a prime characteristic of the secular left. I experience this all the time. With so many examples to choose from, I could write a book on this. In one instance for example a secular left reporter from a secular left newspaper interviewed me about homosexuality.
She actually asked me the same question at least six times. Each time I would carefully answer, but because it was not to her liking, because it did not fit her agenda, and because it did not conform to her narrative, she just kept asking it. In other words, she was not the least bit interested in what I had to say, nor was she the least bit interested in truth. She simply was intent on pushing her agenda.
I get folks like this all the time making comments on my website or on other sites. They ask a question, I carefully answer it, and they ask it again! They are of course not interested in truth or in learning anything. Their minds are fully made up, and all they are doing is coming to pick a fight and cause trouble.
They are trolls in other words. And regrettably it is not just the atheists and secular humanists who do this all the time. Quite often people claiming to be Christians will pull the exact same stunt. They pretend that they want dialogue with you, but they simply prove by their actions that they are nothing but trolls.
Let me provide another example of this. On another site a guy claiming to be a Christian kept asking the same stupid question over and over again about how Christians are forcing their morality on others. It was a bogus claim, I dealt with it, and he would come back making the same claim. Yet incredibly this guy kept whining about how no one answered his question! So I wrote this as my final response to this deceptive troll:
I have called your bluff on this a half dozen times now, so you simply prove your lack of integrity and honesty. Just like the atheist trolls I deal with all the time, you raise a complete red herring and straw man here. That is why you will never get an answer to your liking, because you deliberately ask a false and deceptive question.
The truth is of course no one has ever said “Christians have a mandate to force the unsaved to live according to non-secular principles”. I have dealt with this furphy over and over again. What I have said repeatedly now are a few basic biblical truths that you are unable or unwilling to handle because it does not fit your preconceived agenda. So let me say them one last time:
– Basically all laws are based on morality. Look back far enough and you will find some moral principle being appealed to in any bit of legislation or law.
– Everyone is pushing their morality in the public arena all the time, whether secularists, atheists or whoever. The idea that only Christians are doing this is simply ludicrous and blatantly false.
– Christians have every right to share their concerns in public just like anyone else, and can vote for laws, candidates, parties, and so on. And none of this has anything to do with Christians forcing people to do anything as you falsely and maliciously keep saying.
– Every law has an element of enforcement, otherwise it is not law but mere advice. You may not like wearing seat belts, paying taxes, or going only 50kph in a 50 speed zone, but you are forced to do it, by penalty of law. That is how the law works. There is always an element of coercion in law, with consequences for law-breaking.
– Christians cannot force anyone to do anything. You simply – and willfully it seems – confuse two ordained institutions of God. The state of course was created by God to do just that: to punish evil, establish order, and use force to do so. The church is not in the law business, but the state is. But the church is to be involved in politics and the public arena. So of course there is some overlap here. The church can have influence on what takes place in our society, our laws, and our culture. We are called to have this godly influence. And this has nothing to do with forcing anyone to do anything as I keep repeating.
– We all expect non-religious people to fully comply with our laws. We have laws against murder for example. Where do these laws come from? How about “Thou shalt not murder”? The simple truth is, most of our laws have a moral basis, and most of this morality comes straight out of the Judeo-Christian worldview. We rightly expect non-Christians to obey such laws. No judge in a court of law would ever say to an offender, “Well, you are a pagan and therefore you cannot obey laws against theft or murder or rape, so go right ahead and keep breaking the law. We fully understand.” The simple truth is, a person does not have to first become a Christian before he obeys the law. While a law against theft or lying may well have a religious basis, we rightly expect everyone to obey them – whether they are religious or not.
So this guy in fact was asking a deceptive and fraudulent furphy. When I answered him, he kept on demanding an answer! I gave it to him over and over again, but he just kept deceptively pretending that no one had answered it. This my friends is a classic example of a troll. This is not someone asking honest questions – this is someone with a preconceived agenda that he is trying to ram down the throats of others.
Given all this, whether he in fact is a Christian or not is a moot point. When someone says and does the very same things that militant atheists and secularists say and do, then you have every reason to suspect these guys are not at all Christians. I certainly do not expect a biblical Christian to carry on this way, and be so willfully uninformed, misinformed, and out of touch with basic Christian truth.
So let that be a lesson to you: if you plan to open up an interactive blog site, or become involved in discussion on websites about controversial issues, be prepared for trolls. There will be plenty of misotheists out there deliberately giving you a hard time and seeking to wear you out and discourage you.
But beware that not everyone who claims to be a Christian may be one. There are lots of trolls out there, and lots of wolves in sheep’s clothing. We need to be wise and discerning as we deal with such folks. They simply want to wear you down and get you to quit.
And I am aware of Christian websites where this very thing happens. An important but controversial Christian topic is posted and discussed, the trolls come out in force, and pretty soon the admins simply pull the whole thread. What they of course should do is allow the very important discussion, but weed out the obvious trolls and trouble makers.
By censoring the whole discussion, the trolls win – big time. And Satan wins – big time. Truth is important, and it is vitally important that it gets out into the public arena. So if you run a Christian website, you need to pray for wisdom, discernment and courage.
You will be targeted. The aim of the enemy is to shut you down. Barring that, they will work overtime to render your Christian ministry totally ineffective, by forcing you to avoid all the important issues that must be discussed. So beware of Christian trolls. They can be just as dangerous and harmful as any pagan troll.