I knew that Twitter can be a great medium for harassment, but I had not experienced it until last night.
A couple of weeks ago I posted a tweet to an article about Peter Hitchens, who converted to Christianity after being for a great part of his life an atheist full of The Rage Against God (Amazon USA) , (Amazon UK) that is the title of his autobiographic book on the subject.
I am reading this book, which is fascinating as it shows that he was not just a nonbeliever, but one who hated God and Christianity with a vengeance. His brother Christopher, who died of cancer a few years ago, remained until his death a well-known militant atheist of the same ilk as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.
A Twitter user going by the self-congratulatory misnomer of OpenMind replied to me: "[H]e [Peter Hitchens] was always a theist... claims he was atheist but 1. He was an angry theist 2. He claims to be fearful of being judged."
An exchange ensued, of which I'll spare you the details, but the crux of the matter, the gist of the dispute, is that OpenMind doesn't think it possible to be angry with something you don't believe in.
It seems very obvious that you can be angry at something you don't believe in. Even if an entity or object is not real for you, you can project on the concept you have of it characteristics that exist in real life and that you hate.
I understand that atheists generally haven't studied philosophy, but they also seem to be refractory to learning it, as I tried to explain this to OpenMind in vain.
There is a distinction to be made between the concept of something and its reality. You may very well have not only thoughts but also emotions of various types (including anger) towards something you imagine, visualise, conceptualise or think of, without necessarily believing that the object of your conceptualisation is real.
Many people, in watching horror films, experience genuine fear of the monsters which are characters depicted in the movie, although they don't believe that those monsters exist in reality.
To be quite honest, I wouldn't think that this is very difficult to grasp. It's high-school-level philosophy. But apparently it was difficult, for OpenMind and the pack of fellow atheists whom he unleashed on me and who bombarded me with tweets, all repeating the same pseudo-argument, until I was forced to block them. Twitter could be an all too easy means of harassment without this redeeming feature.
These atheist Twitter users were clearly trying to cause me aggravation and (albeit unsuccessfully) to scare me into never expressing criticisms of atheism again.
Another "reason", if we can call it that way, why, according to OpenMind, Peter Hitchens (who set fire to his Bible) could not have been an atheist is that "atheists tend not to burn books, even the bible or the quran."
The qualifier "tend to" renders such a pseudo-reason meaningless, because it leaves the door open to atheists doing it, sometimes.
Both this and the other motive explained above (an atheist cannot have anger for God) are self-serving, ad hoc definitions of the term "atheist", chosen arbitrarily to fit into a predetermined mould that can only contain good traits and positive qualities.
These atheists remind me of those homosexual activists who define "homosexuality" in such a way as to include in the definition only sexual attraction for adults and never for children. In this way, the "argument" becomes circular: a homosexual, by definition, can never be a paedophile.
Ah, if reality could be so easily manipulated as are words in the hands of liars!