Over the last few weeks we’ve have some atheist trolls visiting the combox. I have attempted to answer some of their questions through a series of posts, and regular readers who are more learned than I am have also added comments.

What has emerged from the discussions is how genuinely ignorant most of the atheists are about the things on which they wish to comment. I don’t mind a good debate and am happy to entertain questions and am willing to question my faith and examine the truth. However, more often than not what comes out of the discussions is an atheist throwing wild assertions around–very often accompanied by crude language, poor manners, and aggressive style and an appalling level of ignorance.

Of course I would not expect an atheist to be an expert in New Testament scholarship, medieval church history or Catholic moral theology. What I would expect is that anyone who is not knowledgable about a particular subject would have the courtesy (and the self respect) not to make wild, groundless assertions and then continue the argument by simply stating the same thing over again, but this time a little bit louder.

I am, like all people, ignorant and uninterested in many things. For example, I am not an athlete. I have a very mild interest in football. I know the basic rules and I can sit down with some friends to watch a game, but that’s about it. In fact, if truth be told, I’m not only not an athlete, but I have a bias against athletes and athletics. I sometimes feel it is all a huge waste of money, time and effort. What I don’t do however, is get on an anti-athletic soapbox. I don’t go on to sports blogs trying to show everybody what a stupid, idiotic and wasteful thing sports are. I don’t go into their world spouting arguments about how destructive sport is because so many young children are seriously injured every year or how dumb sport is because it wastes millions on what is just a game when there are starving children in the world or how athletes are all dumb mutts who get paid big money to act like a gorilla or how terrible sport is because there are gamblers and ticket touts and people making money hand over fist with outrageously huge salaries and charging exorbitant prices for crap souvenirs…blah blah blah.

All these arguments could be made, but I would be embarrassed to make them. I realize I’m ignorant and biased against sport. I also realize that millions upon millions of people love sports of all kind. They’re passionate about it. Therefore why should I be right and they be wrong? Maybe what I ought to do is be open minded and learn more about sport. I should probably take up a sport myself. I should go to more games, broaden my world, become a bigger and better person by branching out into something that is new to me. I ought to have some curiosity and learn something from someone else–especially from someone who I have an inclination not to like. That’s where real enlightenment and learning come from.

If I can’t do that at least I ought to be dignified enough to mind my own business and keep my mouth shut.

Maybe atheist trolls should do the same.