Mailvox: respect and you will be respected

qwerty complains:

That has been my exact point all along, for which I am called names (old bitter man, asshole, pervert) by the good Christians on this blog.

All I’ve ever done on this blog is to state that some of us cannot believe. Those who do believe are not influenced by any logic or evidence that contradicts their beliefs.

That’s more than a bit of an exaggeration. When one baits and belittles, one should not complain when one gets bit. When one behaves like an anal orifice and indulges in the occasional vulgarity, one should not be surprised when one is labeled, more or less accurately, as an asshole.

There are plenty of regulars here who are not Christian. Some are Jews, some are atheists, most, I suspect, are agnostic. Since they have not had any problem with being attacked for their divergent belief or outright non-belief, the notion that one is being called names for that reason simply is not credible.

It’s not that hard. You can make a case against an idea, even a witheringly contemptuous one, without making it personal. Cedarford, just to give an example of one who is not exactly shy about disagreeing with me, has gone from being a considered a complete troll to one whose opinions must be carefully weighed primarily through the modifying his primary mode of address. (I can just see a few hundred of you nodding your head, then hating yourself for it. But give credit where credit is due.)

I seldom ban people simply for being jerks; you have to go out of your way to manage that. But being a jerk doesn’t intimidate anyone nor will it help you make your case. This may sound somewhat hypocritical given the way in which I often address others who are active outside this blog, but in those cases the negative tone of the communication has already been set by them and there is no direct debate between the critic and I. Also, in such cases the communication is made outside the framework of an intellectual community, unlike here where one’s character is often well-understood by others.

You don’t have to play nice here, but it is in one’s own interest, over time, to play polite.

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