Now, as a single bug, I loved me the ranting and mayhem, but I think I must have married the right woman. Ladybug doesn't get why I obsess over what "imaginary people" think. To her, all the blogosphere is like a virtual Foster's Home where we can triumph over the arguments of total strangers, thus feeding our egos and accomplishing precisely nothing.
She's right. Last year nothing would have stopped me from whipping up a response of some sort to this news about Terry Pratchett. (Be a MAN in the Night Watch!) Now? Well, in short - it sucks that he's not well, but it kind of sucks more to read the comments on the article at bottom. A lot of them are merely frantic assurances that he's still of the body, that he has not surrendered to the taint of "magic sky daddy." And of course, that phrase (and others yet sillier) are all over the page.
Sure, but that was a news article about some big famous writer guy, right? Well, what about a regular person suffering and asking for prayers? Ah, but far be it for any athiests to play favorites.
Oh yeah, and this.
It's not fair to pick on the xkcd guy, I suppose. He's done plenty of comics I love, and he's awfully expressive for a guy who works primarily in stick figures. I just use this as the quickest expression of the common thread in the disparaging comments of all sorts.
It just seems to be something of a logical fallacy to me: if any such claim could be confirmed by experiment, it would disprove the claim just as surely as refutation, by showing that the ability was natural rather than supernatural. Q.E.D. (There's more to it than that, but this in brief.) It's probably partly why Jesus turned down anyone who asked for a sign or wonder. It's certainly not because He couldn't do them, as thousands could give eyewitness accounts of His healings, commanding the weather, multiplying loaves, and raising the dead (including Himself). Rather I think it was that He meant to do those things for a reason - from love for His people and for His Father - and anything that didn't serve that reason was pointless. In the end I'm forced to agree. "Hey, I know you claim to be the Son of God and savior of Israel, so how's about a few parlor tricks to clinch it for us?" Yeah, that's likely.
So, did I have a largish, philosphy-lite rebuttal to atheism? I did and do. Am I royally ticked that people would hijack Rachel's thread about her boyfriend's family? It's Friday-level anger. But was any of that motivated by love for God and my neighbor? Honestly, not much. Certainly not enough to further trample the ground. I'll save it for a proper time.
UPDATE - Joe is improving. Amen.