First Posted 18-Oct-2014
This really isn’t news nor worthy a thousand words in this space. If you can’t tell by now that I am in no mood to be copacetic or amenable then you haven’t been paying attention. I got called a troll back in October of 2014 on the web site Quora. I felt the punch of that word deeply enough to burn a couple of hours writing a blog post about it. Today? Bring it. Call me a troll. I own that word. I be that word.
Most of the world trundles along its way never paying much mind to where the wind blows. The murmur generated by us who somewhat give a rip about what is said online is heard faintly below the din of ambient urban noise. Most of the world views us as exhibits in a circus sideshow. Once in a while they glance at us and go back to watching Wheel of Fortune. The wind blows where it will. Seasons pass, and we age from mewling babe to babbling old person to dust, never being on the radar of many for long. This is good. An empire of whackable moles would be too chaotic to sustain.
I am defying those who insist that we all become uniform and comply with their perfect utopian orthodoxy in the name of preventing harm. They call me a troll because I am an insult to their careful safe space constructed of recycled resins and dumpster dove building materials. The insult is intended to prompt me to examine my privilege, reflect on my narratives and repent. Sucks to be them.
I will not comply. Sorry, but we are not better if a bitter history of abuse based on skin color or gender is remediated by being abusive to me because I happen to have an ancestry you find offensive. Making me feel the pain your ancestors felt and that you refuse to let go of just propagates the sickness you say you want to end. There are no names, no words, nothing I can do sufficient to repair the damage done by my ancestors. You will always feel an ache as long as you hold on to resentment that began when some of my ancestors sold some of your ancestors into slavery.
The answer isn’t new. You know it. It is three words: repent, forgive and serve. These are not specifically Christian words. These three have been around various religious traditions far longer than the resurrection of Christ. They have been around because they work.
The battlefield is within us. It is our soul, our spiritual health that is at stake. I was put here to serve everyone, love everyone, foster justice as appropriate, and be responsible for my shit. I was not put here to cower when called an insulting name.
A big reason I have the tagline I have is because of the vocal minority that is in a very authoritarian mood. These folk insist on a narrow orthodoxy of acceptable behavior. They are very similar to the legalist tradition of Islam. I am a troll because I am defying this vocal minority. I am a troll because my attributes, a WASP of late-middle age, are at odds with what this cadre says is socially acceptable.
Following is what I wrote the first time: I know better. I’ve said as much. I went back and answered a question on Quora. I’m thinking maybe I have a problem here. Even worse, I’m going to spend 4-500 words talking about the question as if that is meaningful. You can find the question here: Now, to the reason I’m spending a few hundred words talking about this. I got called a troll by an atheist. The implication being that I am on Quora only to yeast things up, to start and sustain rhetorical wars with atheists. He said I am a theist trying to make the case that atheists are nuts.
I am nuts. Make no mistake. I am batsh*t crazy. It’s just that over 30 years ago I decided to keep it together enough that I could hold down a job most of the time, stay not-homeless for long stretches, and was married for a bit. I also have an amazing son who seems to have turned out well in spite of his bonkers parents.
Because I didn’t sign up for a psych disability check in my early twenties I’ve had to reign in some of my behavior. So, I know from nuts. Atheists are not, in whole, nuts. Some may be, just as some Christians may be nuts. Some of either are bolts, but that’s a post for another day. The thing is, I find more Christians who are patient with those who oppose them than atheists. It seems to be at least as important to an atheist to win us over to their side as it is for some Christians to evangelize and get that surrender prayer from an atheist. Winning souls for atheism seems to be as big a thing for them as it is for us when we win an atheist soul for Christ.
The difference is, at least with my friends, we don’t get our panties in a bunch if the person we wish to evangelize turns us down. God is bigger than one person, a few minutes out of their life, to say, “no,” to us. He’s got time. He’s got plenty of followers who are wonderful. One more is nice but not necessary. Yes, he gave us a job to do. He did ask us to spread his word and expand the members of his Kingdom. But, failure is an option. Happens all the time. The wind still blows where it will and the sun still rises.
Tell an atheist he or she is full of sh*t, that he or she is crazy, and the fur starts to fly. They get pissed off. It becomes a personal mission to use all available weapons of rhetorical mass destruction to kill the words of the one saying that the atheist is full of sh*t and/or crazy. The only possible outcome is verbal pink mist where a theist once stood. Which, is sad, and explains why I got called a troll. If the writer can attack my character, can make me a fairy-tale character, a fiction made of wind and water, he or she can dismiss everything I say as rhetorical smoke & mirrors. Victory in one word. Just say, “troll” and suddenly I am rhetorical pink mist. Lovely fantasy. I’m still here, still annoying.
Who then, is the creative writer, the fairy-tale author? I, who along with many, believe that a martyred carpenter of Nazareth was the son of God, died on the cross, rose again on the third day, and upon his resurrection, launched a new kingdom and covenant for God’s chosen people, or the atheist, who believes his or her single word spell, “troll,” is the verbal bullet which blows me away? Say what you want, I’m going with the story of the martyred carpenter