Saturday, 5 March 2011

Lying for Jesus

I wrote before about the "Tom Johnson" affair, wherein a blog was started by a supposed atheist-butter, bizarrely obsessed with the tone and conduct of new atheists. He indulged in passive-aggressive posting and sock puppetry, and targeted one or two gnu atheists, such as Ophelia Benson. Even after his exposure as a fraud, his identity wasn't revealed.

But Ophelia was on the ball and recently noticed a recognisable signature in the postings of a new commenter called 'Hammill'; she followed up her suspicions, and confirmed it was TJ again.

Because of this perfidy she has also revealed his true identity: Wally Smith, a Grad student at the University of Alabama. And now, Oedipus, who was a catalyst for the original exposure, has presented evidence to show that it seems he is a theist, or at least, contra TJ, was brought up Christian, and Ophelia confirms it.

I suppose one shouldn't be surprised at such immoral behaviour from a theist, but it's indicative of the lengths at least one is prepared to go to, if this is true, to attack new atheism. This is subterfuge on a pretty staggering scale. I guess we should be relieved it's just cyber-terrorism, however. I'm afraid I see a logical connection between belief in salvation after death and this sort of behaviour. When a person prioritises eternal happiness over earthly happiness, action dilemmas will be resolved against the best outcome in this world, in favour of the other (non-existent, as it happens) world. We see this in the actions of theists around the world, in support of doctrine over good sense.

I've always assumed a certain number of atheist-butters are in fact theists and I guess it's to be expected. In future, however, I think well known atheist bloggers will be on the lookout for anonymous commenters who seem oh-so-keen to cosy up to the faithful; without provenance, from now on it must be assumed they could well be believers.

In the meantime, file this under 'theism doesn't make theists behave well'.


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