Why are you here?

This is something that I’ve been wondering for some time and had been planning to post even before the latest go-round with the fresh flock of believers here on SEB.

To the religious posters:  WHY ARE YOU HERE? 

Do you come to this site intending to win an argument against the errant atheists?  Do you think you’re going to make the definitive statement that prompts everyone to say, “By golly, you’re right”? 

Or can you just not stand the idea that somewhere, some people are dissing your god and having fun doing it?  Do you feel you have to defend yourself against any criticism of your belief, otherwise you can’t sleep at night?

There are a few religious posters here who seem to enjoy the discussions without getting frustrated.  Obviously they’re not trying to change anything.  It appears that they just want to represent the other side of the argument and are satisfied once they’ve spoken their piece.

There are some atheists who enjoy going over to religious forums, but I don’t.  I don’t see the attraction of engaging in discussion where the point of the site is antithetical to my position and the members are there to discuss their own beliefs, not to change their minds based on any argument I could offer. 

So for those who are perfecting their Daniel impressions:  Why are you here?

101 thoughts on “Why are you here?

  1. I go here because I like to read what Les has to say about different things.  While we don’t agree on everything, I know Les is a stand-up guy who enjoys helping others.  Knowing his past with the institutionalized church, I want to see his thought process, how he comes to his conclusions.  What’s wrong with wanting to know what others think about life and it’s big questions?

  2. I wonder the same thing often but find myself pleased just as often that they are. It takes two sides to build an interesting discussion and sometimes it helps us see the imperfections in our own belief systems. It certainly helps us better recognize who the lazy thinkers are.

    If nothing else, it helps build a thread into a top ten most commented one. Every thread in that list owes it’s position to fundies. It’s enough to make you jealous. I want a “foaming at the mouth fundie” to adopt one of my threads just so I can have that distinction here. I want crazy talkers to congregate there and swell the subject matter beyond any hope of recognition as what it started out to be. Is that so much to ask?

    We talk about them to them, they talk back. That’s how memorable threads are made.

  3. At least most Christians have some capacity for independant thought, and probably arrived here through some errant web search before feeling the need to defend their beliefs.

    There have been cases with other religions where the religion’s “authorities” organised a concerted campaign to flood critical websites with postings from “believers”. Scientology is a classic example of this; when the Battlefield Earth movie turned out to be a complete turkey (surprise) the managers of the corporation (oops, I mean the “priests” of the “church”) sent an order to their slaves (erm, “believers”) to go post as many positive reviews as they could at imdb.com. Very similar campaigns also happened on the newsgroup alt.scientology.

    Go to any forum containing religious skepticism and you will find believers. Some of them are evangelists (small e); some of them are fruitcakes; some of them are hired shills; some of them really are looking for answers and attempting to think critically; some of them just enjoy a good flame war.

  4. Personally, I always enjoyed Peter MacNicol’s rethinking of the question in Ghostbusters II:

    “Why are you came?”

  5. “Who are you?”
    “What do you want?”
    “Why are you here?”

    Sorry.  Babylon 5 flashback.

    There are a few religious posters here who seem to enjoy the discussions without getting frustrated.  Obviously they’re not trying to change anything.  It appears that they just want to represent the other side of the argument and are satisfied once they’ve spoken their piece.

    I’m here because Les is an interesting fellow, and I tend to agree with him more often than not (hence frequent cross-posting), and even where I don’t agree with him, he’s an interesting and thought-provoking read.

    I’m certainly not here to sway anyone to a particular orthodoxy—hell, I’m not orthodox in a number of ways (not even always with myself), so I’m hardly one to talk.

    I tend to avoid the discussions here that have devolved into “Religious folks are a bunch of retards!” “Oh, yeah? Atheists are a bunch of … um … godless retards!” simply because there’s no signal there, just noise.

  6. ***Dave, I knew there was something extra k00l about you …

    We live for the One,
    We die for the One …

    Geek(no one listens to Zathras)Mom

  7. Zathras was my favorite character on B5…

    “Zathras used to being beast of burden. Zathras have sad life, probably have sad death, but at least there is symmetry”


    Sadly, while surfing to find this quote and pic I learned that Tim Choate was killed on 9/30/2004 when his motorcycle was struck by a car. Zathras was right – he did have a sad death. He is survived by his wife and son.

  8. Well, after Netslaves closed shop, I wandered the netscape.  My browser had a flat… this was the nearest site, liked it, thought I’d stick around.

    Oh, wait.  I’m not a religious poster(boy).

  9. Let me pass on to you the one thing I’ve learned about this place: No one here is exactly what he appears.

    G’Kar

  10. Hmmm. It strays further afield, but there are some other B5 quotes that would be appropriate here.

    G’KAR:  By G’Quon I can’t recall the last time I was in a fight like that!  No moral ambiguity, no hopeless battle against ancient and overwhelming forces.  They were the bad guys, as you say, and we were the good guys!  And they made a very satisfying thump when they hit the floor.

    —“A Late Delivery from Avalon”

    Or, perhaps, from the same episode:

    MARCUS:  You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair; then I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be much worse if life *were* fair, and all the terrible things that happened to us come because we actually deserved them?’  So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.

    Or …

    SHERIDAN: Oh, now that is a lie!
      DELENN: Minbari do not lie.
      SHERIDAN: Well then it is slander.
      DELENN: To be slander, it must be false. That’s two down.
      SHERIDAN: Well then it’s damned inconvenient.
      DELENN: The truth always is.

    B5: Thirdspace

  11. Since there aren’t too many True BelieverTM responding to GM’s question I’ll throw out my feelings.

    Aside from a select few, I would say that the evangelicals come by SEB because they are spiritually chicken-shit and posting here makes them feel good.  They figure they can hang around and spout their unfounded bullshit and feel as if they are doing something for their god.

    Posting here allows them all the warm fuzziness of witnessing without getting their hands dirty.  It’s as if they’re saying “look how strong my faith is, I can post on an atheist website”.  As a minister I referred to these types as spiritual cowards.

    We’ve got these multi-billion dollar churches all over the country receiving tax exemptions for their so-called charitable work but it’s all a facade.  The Protestant and Catholic churches take in more than $30 billion a year, making the church number 4 on the Fortune 500.  One would think they’re wouldn’t be a homeless person in the country, or a child without winter clothes.

    Posting here is merely an extension of the church for them.  The post and then go back to their bible studies to rearm and then return to post again.  Calling these people Christians is demeaning to works of Christ.

  12. They come because they see the name of this blog and immediately relate to at least one of those three words, sometimes even hitting the trifecta.

    Hurry up and EVOLVE you narrow minded pinheads.

  13. We’ve got these multi-billion dollar churches all over the country receiving tax exemptions for their so-called charitable work but it’s all a facade.  The Protestant and Catholic churches take in more than $30 billion a year, making the church number 4 on the Fortune 500.  One would think they’re wouldn’t be a homeless person in the country, or a child without winter clothes. -DS

    Good one, DS.

    (sputter, sputter) “But!  But!  The parking lot needs paved and the carpet in the sanctuary is positively threadbare!  Well OK, not threadbare.  But what were they thinking when they chose those colors?”

    Churchians, don’t say it isn’t so – you know it is.  Exceptions too few to matter.  Even “good” churches full of “nice” people.  Take your church’s budget and draw yourself a nice pie chart if you like, but prepare for a shock.

  14. ellie said: Aw!  I’ll see what I can do, which ones are yours?

    You’ve just GOT to master that search feature. I’ll give you a hint, ellie. On the main page, scroll down till you see an entry with my byline. An even better hint: “Why Children Cannot Speak To God In School”

    If I have to ask for a “foaming at the mouth fundie” to visit my thread, it just isn’t the same somehow. If you really cared, you’d just come on in and and foam away.

    Don’t patronize me though. If you’re really foamy, that’s good. But I can always recognize a gimmee.

    I’m as good as in the top ten if you come ‘cause I’ve seen you make as many as 7 comments in a row when you really applied yourself. A couple of dozen visits and I’m there.

    Oh, and thanks, in advance.

  15. Take your church’s budget and draw yourself a nice pie chart if you like, but prepare for a shock.

    I’m sure we have the best churches tithes and donations can buy.

  16. Here’s a perfect example of a religious pork-barrel scam.  I live within walking distance of this monstrosity.  The part about everyone holding up their tithes in front of the camera is a great tactic to guilt the sheeples into buying tithing their way into heaven.

  17. 75% of the time I’m here because there’s a feature built into browsers allowing urls to be stored as a file, so that when you click on a particular icon in the browser menu, the webpage is accessed immediately. It saves having to remember the url. The other 25% of the time I use the Blogroll on my own site because I just happen to be there. It does basically the same thing, and automatically opens in a fresh tab for my convenience.

    Oh, sorry. A little too much atheistic literalism for one day.

  18. “I will kill you all
    Nothing you can do about it
    I will kill you all
    Nothing you can do about it
    Squirrely wrath
    Squirrely wrath
    You’re all gonna die
    You’re all gonna die
    Squirrely wrath
    Squirrely wrath.”  Squirrel Songs

  19. Achtung!  Thread drift!  Thread drift!  This thread is headed for the rocks!

    Brock, I can’t offer foam (most days) or fundamentalism, but you are certainly in my top ten of posters here.

    *** said: I tend to avoid the discussions here that have devolved into “Religious folks are a bunch of retards!

  20. Well I come here for the Nachos.

    Seriously though, I think I have a pretty good idea why a lot of the people who hang out here choose to do so including the True Believers™.

    Indeed, in some cases it does appear to be little more than a misguided attempt to convert us heathens or a way of feeling superior, but those folks actually tend to be in the minority and they don’t tend to stick around for long.

    In the case of Ellie I think she’s here because she’s honestly, if somewhat haphazardly, trying to find her way to the Truth. As frustrating as her views can be I don’t think she means any harm and I’m actually kinda glad she’s here.

    I think Theocrat is here to test his theories and ideas under fire and I think he’d probably find it even harder to fit in on some religious sites than here. We’re used to hearing from folks with some pretty off-the-wall ideas.

    As ***Dave pointed out, he and I have more in common than we do in difference it seems. The same is true for JethricOne who pops in from time to time. When I use the term “True Believer” I’m not generally referring to folks such as these two who can have their faith and still put up with the likes of me. In many ways I think they’re actually good for me because they often remind me when I’m over generalizing which is a very human thing to do. They help balance me out when I let my frustrations with the True Believers™ boil over a bit too much.

    For a lot of other folks I think it’s morbid curiosity. Sorta like being unable not to gawk at car accidents. The name of the site just pulls them in and the number one question I get is: Why do you call you/it Stupid Evil Bastard? Why would ANYONE call themselves/their site that?

  21. You may be right about Theocrat not fitting in on religious sites. I do hang out on some and atheists are usually not worth more than an afterthought – it’s their misguided brothers and sisters they hyperventilate about.

  22. I got here ‘cos I should’ve taken a left turn at Alberquerque!

    Maybe the fundies were googling “naked boobies”?

  23. Tish, I’ll meet you at Pismo Beach! grin

    Les, it might be safe to generalize that those that come here to learn, stay through the fire, but those who actually come for the fire, get burned and don’t stay long.

  24. I arrived after a search for “The Star Wars Kid”. Liked what I saw and decided to lurk in the weeds.
    Have tried to draw in others, mostly people who have invisible friends. It’s a great site for them to test their faith. You might as well sleep through life if you are not going to think about what makes you a believer.

  25. eldritch said, about true believers: it’s their misguided brothers and sisters they hyperventilate about.

    Getting exercised about those who believe almost as you do has a long and honorable history, of course- Protestants and Catholics, Sunnis and Shiites, Atheists and Quack Nostrum Salesmen…

    About hyperventilation:
    1) Bertrand Russell once said (I can’t remember where, sorry) that the louder the argument, the less factual basis it has.  Suppose you’re at a party, he said, and someone there claimed that Iceland was on the equator.  Would you get red in the face and scream “No, Iceland is not on the equator”?  No.  Why not?  Because you simply know it’s not.  If you have to scream, it’s likely in hopes that volume will make up for the lack of support you have.

    2) As kids, we used to amuse ourselves with this little-known trick: get someone to hyperventilate, by breathing deeply and rapidly, say fifty breaths, and to hold the last breath.  You stand behind them and while they’re holding their breath, hug them tightly around the diaphragm and lift them, compressing the air in their lungs.  Let go after a few seconds.  They take a breath, start to say “so what?”, and the next second their knees give way and they’re on the (hopefully soft) floor.  Very surprising.

  26. I was impressed by the quality of the posts and comments, unlike other sites.  I get annoyed with some of the clueless commenting at slashdot, and if you don’t comment while the story’s new, you may not get a reply.  I’m at the point I just read the articles and skip the comments.  Hell, if it’s a big enough story, it may end up here anyway!

    Not to mention I’ve learned a few things about debating from this site.

    But the site could use more naked boobies and cowbell. raspberry

    I don’t remember how I ended up finding this site.  It’s Google’s fault in any case.

  27. I’m glad somebody agrees with me about the need for more cowbell.

    More naked boobies? meh I see too many “naked boobies” here as it is.

  28. Brock- I think you’ve confused “boobies” with “goonies”, as in those birds that keep flying into jet engines.  But perhaps I’m mistaken.  Wouldn’t be the first time, as Laurie Anderson says.

    BTW- what is “cowbell”?  Do I want to know?

  29. I come here because I learn all kinds of things.

    The topics are interesting.

    most people are pleasant to read.

    My area of interest is “people’s behaviour” and this site often debates on how us humans could or should behave.

  30. OB- thanks.  But why didn’t you guys say that “cowbell” means “cowbell”?  That I would have understood.

  31. I’m pretty sure that I first found this site from doing a search for ‘sacred cows’.  I saw a link that said, “Sacred cows make the tastiest burgers,” and I knew I had to check it out. 

    Book of Skippy 4:21-27: Lo, and the internet did part before me, and I beheld a marvelous site.  The Way was revealed, and I passed into a land of dissent and discourse.  I did find many there who spoke of Truth, and many who felt that Truth was an illusion.  For in conflict and honest discussion may a man come to truly understand his own mind, and thus am I made better. 

    Behold, I say unto you, seek not those who parrot, or cluck with the wisdom of fattened barnyard chicks.  Seek not the supplicators, or the lickspittles who only wish to be patted on the head as lapdogs for doing their master’s bidding.  Only in the fires of argument may you forge the steel of your resolve, and the strength to support your spine.

    Amen.

  32. That I would have understood.

    But would you have, zilch, and do you?

    Thanks, OB. Now if we could just find a clip online. That script doesn’t do the skit justice.

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