When a Christian decided to go soul fishing on the Unreasonable Faith site recently, his ignorance of the reality of non-belief and non-believers tripped him up.

Most Religionists are incredibly ignorant of what it means to be a non-believer. Fundamentalists of any brand are among the most naive in this respect. The gross inadequacy of their primary assumptions about the causes and characteristics of atheism is one of the reasons why attempts to reconvert the disillusioned faithful meets with abject failure.

We have heard it all before. The false picture of the atheist painted by the theist is that s/he has no moral grounding and either hates god or rejected god in order to live a life free of moral restraint. The atheist is believed to be a bitter and humorless person whose life is empty of warmth, happiness, meaning and purpose. Those who have not deliberately rejected god have never heard the true message, experienced the joy of the fellowship of the truly faithful or been in real communion with the true god.

As could be expected, given such a fallacious belief set, the soul-hungry evangelist got nowhere when he represented himself as a Christian. Frustrated, he decided to "deceive for Jesus". He logged himself in under multiple pseudonyms and put out viral hooks while pretending to be an atheist. His ignorance of reality soon tripped him up. Trolls with a straw man view of atheists are relatively easy to spot.

Three people, including Daniel Florian the blogger, detected the fraud. Some judicious detective work unraveled the troll's multiple posting history and a little cross checking resulted in the surprising information that the poster was the Rev. Chris Fox, the Pastor of Kendalls Baptist Church in New London, NC.

Naturally, Florian and his readers were incensed by the deception and the possible ramifications. The implications were ugly. One reader went so far as to suggest that the Pastor's intent might have been to incite hate crimes by planting false evidence of atheist "immorality" on the site and then, armed with this "proof", goad his congregation into performing bigoted and inhumane acts against non-believers.

You can read the original story here:

http://unreasonablefaith.com/2009/03/20/pastor-gets-caught-lying-for-jesus/

When faced with his unmasking the Pastor did not see the need to apologize for his actions. He argued that they had been perfectly godly. According to him, he was merely trying to circumvent what he called a "censorship of ideas". This is not a reasonable assertion since the site, unlike many Christian sites, does not routinely censure material unless it is blatantly hateful or crude.

If you would like to make a formal complaint to this man or inform his parishioners of his behavior here is the URL of his church. http://www.kendallsbaptistchurch.org/staff.cfm
Please be sure to explain in detail why his behavior is both immoral and unacceptable by secular and community standards, even if it could be argued as acceptable to the god defined in the church's holy book. In fact, you might like to explain that the Pastor's actions lend further support to recent polls suggesting that the average atheist has higher moral standards and less of a tendency to be convicted of a crime than the average Christian.

Here is a list of the spin-off blogs about this story.

http://zeekeekee.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/pastor-gets-caught-blog-trolling-for-jesus/

http://thebeattitude.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/pastor-caught-impersonating-an-atheist/

http://brentpeak.comoj.com/wordpress/?p=497

http://shamelesslyatheist.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/reverse-poe-exposed-baptist-pastor-no-less/

Views: 5

Tags: atheist, baptist, christian, deception, ethics, lying, morality, pastor

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Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on March 22, 2009 at 11:04pm
He probably justifies it on the grounds that his motives (maybe) were to save the immoral atheists from a fate worse than death, in which case sinning in order to do so does not count. That argument really does not work because he used his deception to insult atheists out of stupidity and ignorance. At least one (mostly illiterate) reader misread the site and thought that it was an atheist saying that they could not see any reason why they should not kill their babies.
Comment by Daniel W on March 22, 2009 at 10:48pm
I have two mutually incompatible points of view on this. First is that a 'true beleiver' would not deceive, so he can 't be a true beleiver. Second is that when someone has absolute, total beleif, they might beleive that any action is justified by their intention, so he might be a true beleiver.

Clarence said it better than I can.
Comment by Richard Goscicki on March 22, 2009 at 12:29pm
The story reminds me of Dan Dennett's talk on the fluke that infests an ant's brain to induce the ant to climb up blades of grass. This is not healthy for the ant when there are cows around. But to complete its life cycle, the fluke needs to get into the cow's gut.

The point is that the fluke has taken over the neural apparatus of the ant.

Rev. Fox is demonstrating how strongly his brain has been taken over by a very contagious meme complex called Christianity. All the reverend lives for is to help propagate the memeplex.

In a biological sense, he's a bee (though most bees are sterile females) doing the bidding of the flower. He gets his sustanence out of it, but still he's no more than a vector for the memeplex's replication.
Comment by Clarence Dember on March 22, 2009 at 4:01am
Honesty and religion, now there's a contrast in terms!

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