Father Dwight Longenecker, a Catholic priest, wrote a rather ridiculous screed against atheists on his blog. When atheists began to respond to him and challenge his bigotry, he deleted the post and replaced it with another one where he threw a whiny tantrum about how the atheist trolls were being mean to him. When people continued to challenge him, he deleted that post as well, hoping it would all fade away.
Well, it won’t. This is the internet.
In their full glory, here are his two posts, both entitled “The Authentic Atheist”. The original:
an excerpt from my book about to be released by Crossroads: The Quest for the Creed.
Is there really such a thing as an utterly authentic atheist? I think so. I have a dreadful feeling that there exists a sort of human sub-species who have lost their spiritual capacity completely. These authentic atheists do not profess belief in God, nor even disbelief. Instead they seem entirely deaf to such ideas. They do not hate the Church or say the Bible is a fairy tale. They do not spit out bigoted remarks that blame the Pope for the holocaust or missionaries for murder. They do not attack the arguments for the existence of God, say the universe is random, or call Rick Warren a simpleton. They do not rage against God, any more than someone born blind has dreams in color. These are the authentic atheists. They plod through life eating, working, shopping, breeding and sleeping, and God never seems to flit across their consciousness. Members of this sub-species may be sparkling sophisticates or ill-bred boors. They may be the decent and moral folks next door, or they could be despicable murderers. In a frightful way, it doesn’t matter. If they exist, perhaps they have bred and spread like the alien bodysnatchers, and exist in our midst like spiritual zombies—indistinguishable in the teeming mass of humanity except to those few who see them and tremble.
And its replacement:
Once upon a time there was a sample of my writing here which has now disappeared. The post was an excerpt from a chapter of my upcoming book The Quest for the Creed. The excerpt was about a certain type of atheist. The whole chapter discusses in some detail different types of atheist and agnostics of all sorts. The excerpt was out of context, and because of that it occasioned the highest level of misunderstanding, and animosity I have yet encountered.
The comment box was virtually buzzing with hornets from the nest I had stirred up. There were wild accusations, wild eyed ravings, vitriolic and coarse name calling of all sorts. Unable to wade through it all, and seeing the impossibility of any rational conversations going on between all the atheist trolls and the feisty believers who were willing to have a good scrap, I have deleted the whole mess. If you were salivating and biting your fingernails waiting for the next response, and your fingers were poised over the keyboard just waiting to make your own brilliant riposte to someone you deemed an ignorant fool, I am so sorry, you’ll have to wait for another opportunity.
For all of this veritable combox riot I take full responsibility. I do not retract anything I wrote in the post, but I do realize that it was taken out of context and was therefore miserably (but understandably) misunderstood. Perhaps I will publish the whole chapter about atheists so anyone who is really interested can read the whole thing.
Until then I wish all readers well and a happy evening!
UPDATE: If anyone is bored and would like to read a sampling of the vituperation, name calling, and spluttering rage still emanating from the atheist trolls take a moment and pop over to the combox. I approve all the comments because they show just what sort of people are out there ready with their ammo.
A comment from a user named Baron Scarpia was absolutely perfect:
If you deemed my comments too shocking to allow onto your blog, then you’re going to be in for a terrible surprise when you release the entire chapter for public consumption.
If you want to see the posts as they originally appeared, I’ve gone ahead and downloaded the Google cache of each post and zipped them up for you for local viewing. Enjoy. (Unfortunately, it looks like the Google cache snapshot was taken before any comments were posted on the original post.)