Following reports of Richard Dawkins’ minor stoke this past Friday, the Church of England promptly tweeted a call for church goers to pray for Dawkins:
According to an article in The Guardian, several of Dawkins’ followers promptly accused the church of “trolling”. (“Trolling” involves making online posts that are intentionally offensive in order to anger and alienate others.)
Ironically, the only trolls in this story are the very individuals who are levelling the charge. The Church of England regularly tweets requests for prayers for people in need. (Note to militant secularists: asking for prayer is one of the many ways that Christians express care and concern for others, just in case you didn’t know.) To suggest that this tweet in particular was in fact a mean spirited jab at Dawkins is perverse in the extreme.
Sadly, I’m not surprised that a well meaning tweet is being twisted. After all, many of Dawkins’ new atheist followers are notoriously hostile toward all folks of religious faith. When you are used to mocking and belittling others, it is natural to interpret the kind well wishes of the very people you mock and belittle as passive-aggressive gestures to respond in kind until even a prayer of concern and well wishes becomes something ugly and nefarious.
One might hope that those very individuals who are so preconditioned to interpret everything pertaining to religious faith in such a negative manner might use this as an occasion to re-examine their own irrational and emotionally driven biases.
Yes, one might hope…