Last modified on December 15, 2022, at 22:21

Atheist trolls

Richard Dawkins
The new atheist Richard Dawkins has encouraged his supporters to go beyond humorous ridicule.[1] He wrote, "I lately started to think that we need to go further: go beyond humorous ridicule, sharpen our barbs to a point where they really hurt."[2] See: Atheism and mockery

Reverend Mattew P. Schneider wrote concerning atheist trolls:

Two weeks ago, I posted a version of the popular meme-like format of “Don’t say it.” It pointed out the logical inconsistencies of atheists online.

This lead to days of atheists trolling me with 100s of tweets in reply. I want to share a bit with you so you can respond when atheists come after you online. I know a few who have faltered when faced with an online atheist onslaught and my purpose is to help strengthen you in case you experience something like this.

Throughout the five days of being trolled and seeing 100s of atheist messages, they seem to fall into a limited number of repeated errors. Many of these errors are forms of confirmation bias or assuming what they are trying to prove.[3]

Gene Veith in his article entitled The New Atheist Crack-up wrote:

The decline of discourse on the internet corresponded with the rise of the “New Atheists,” who believed that religion is the source of all that is wrong in the world. These New Atheists were not interested in arguing with religious believers, whom they dismissed as evil idiots. Instead, they berated them with mockery and insults. Thus the phenomenon of “atheist trolls.”[4]

Internet trolls often employ mockery and atheists have a history of engaging in mockery (see: Atheism and mockery). In his article, Mockery - the M.O. for atheists, Matt Barber discusses an incident in which the Freedom From Religion Foundation encouraged atheists to engage in tactics which Barber considers to be acts of hateful mockery.[5]

Atheist trolls, atheists and abnormal psychological makeups

See also: Atheist trolls, atheists and abnormal psychological makeups and Atheism and sadism and Atheism and psychopathy and Atheism and mental illness

The perverse and cruel atheist Marquis de Sade in prison, 18th century line engraving. See also: Atheism and sadism

Colloquially, people with the Dark Tetrad of personality are known as known as sadists, narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths.[6]

The abstract for the journal article Trolls just want to have fun published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences indicates:

"In two online studies (total N = 1215), respondents completed personality inventories and a survey of their Internet commenting styles. Overall, strong positive associations emerged among online commenting frequency, trolling enjoyment, and troll identity, pointing to a common construct underlying the measures. Both studies revealed similar patterns of relations between trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was specific to trolling behavior. Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism. Thus cyber-trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism."[7]

Internet trolling has also been associated with narcissism.[8]

A study found that the public views atheists as being more narcissistic - especially male atheists (see: Study: General public believes atheists are more narcissistic).

The atheist Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) was an infamous French aristocrat and author of heavily philosophical pornography, as well as more traditional essays on philosophy.[9] Sadism, a paraphilia in which pleasure is derived from inflicting pain or seeing pain being inflicted on others, is named after him. The debauched lifestyle of the Marquis de Sade caused him to have periods of imprisonment.[10] See also: Atheism and sadism

A few studies have found that there is a positive correlation of atheism and psychopathy (see: Atheism and psychopathy.

A 2016 study relating to atheism and psychopathy published in Plus One indicates:

Similarly, a survey of 312 college students examining the relationship between Religious/Spiritual Well-Being (RSWB) and ‘dark triad’ personality traits found that “RSWB was confirmed to be negatively correlated with these negative aspects of personality, in particular with subclinical psychopathy.”

...moral concern is associated with a spiritual worldview.[11]

According to the 2014 journal article Correlates of psychopathic personality traits in everyday life: results from a large community survey published in the journal Frontiers of Psychology lack of belief in God is positively associated with psychopathy.[12]

Religion News Service article: Online troll or therapist? Atheist evangelists see their work as a calling

See also: Internet atheism and Atheist activist and Evangelical atheism and Atheism and anger

An angry atheist speaking to a woman with a Bible in her hand.

The Christian philosopher James S. Spiegel says the path from Christianity to atheism among several of his friends involved moral slippage such as resentment or unforgiveness.[13] See: Atheism and anger and Atheism and unforgiveness

The Religion News Service article entitled Online troll or therapist? Atheist evangelists see their work as a calling states:

Two years ago, “Max” was a devout Catholic who loved his faith so much he would sometimes cry as he swallowed the Communion wafer.

Then came the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, where 20 schoolchildren and six adults were murdered by a troubled gunman. At that moment, a bell went off in his head, he said, ringing “there is no God, there is no God.”

Now, Max goes by his online handle “Atheist Max.” A 50-something professional artist from the Northeast, some days he now spends two or more hours online trying to argue people out of their religious beliefs in the comments section of Religion News Service.

Max left more than 3,600 comments in the past 12 months, making him RNS’ top commenter. Many of his remarks can be interpreted as angry, hostile and provocative, casting him in some minds as an Internet “troll” — a purposely disruptive online activist who delights in creating comment chaos.

He’s written “Jesus is despicable” or its equivalent more than once — red meat to some readers who come back at him with fervor. Other users have called him “mean-spirited” or “angry.”...

...Several atheist super-commenters mentioned a concern for others as motivation for spending up to 10 hours a day arguing about religion online.[14]

Vox Day on dealing with aggressive atheists online

"Every man has built a roof over his head to shield himself at the point of tension… The Christian lovingly, must remove the shelter and allow the truth of the external world and of what man is to beat upon him.” - Francis Schaeffer[15] See: Francis Schaeffer's "taking the roof off" method of apologetics

On September 4, 2011, Vox Day wrote concerning the evolutionist and atheist PZ Myers:

As for the PZ Myers Memorial Debate, we are still in search of an atheist to champion the argument that the logic and evidence for the nonexistence of gods is stronger than the logic and evidence for the existence of gods. It is certainly informative to see how many atheists do not appear to believe they are able to effectively make this case; in light of this, many Christians may find this to be a useful tactical approach when confronted by aggressive atheists in the future. This tends to confirm my previous observations that while atheists like to challenge the beliefs of others, they are very ill-prepared, and in many cases downright unwilling, to defend their own. So, if you want to shut them up, simply go on the attack. They'll run away with alacrity.[16]

See also:

Atheism debates:

See also


  1. Dawkins: Mock them. Ridicule them! In public
  2. Dawkins: Mock them. Ridicule them! In public
  3. Atheists Trolled Me for 5 Days, So I Learned Their Strategies
  4. The New Atheist Crack-up by Gene Veith
  5. Mockery - the M.O. for atheists by Matt Barber
  6. The 9 dark personality traits of narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths — and what they mean
  7. Trolls just want to have fun, Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 67, September 2014, Pages 97-102]
  8. Who do you troll and Why: An investigation into the relationship between the Dark Triad Personalities and online trolling behaviours towards popular and less popular Facebook profiles by Barbara Lopes,Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 77, December 2017, Pages 69-76
  11. Why Do You Believe in God? Relationships between Religious Belief, Analytic Thinking, Mentalizing and Moral Concern by Anthony Ian Jack , Jared Parker Friedman, Richard Eleftherios Boyatzis, Scott Nolan Taylor, Plus One, March 23, 2016
  12. Correlates of psychopathic personality traits in everyday life: results from a large community survey by Scott O. Lilienfeld, Robert D. Latzman, Ashley L. Watts, Sarah F. Smith, and Kevin Dutton, Frontiers of Psychology, 2014
  13. Christian Philosopher Explores Causes of Atheism
  14. Online troll or therapist? Atheist evangelists see their work as a calling, 'Religion News Service
  15. Sunday Quote: Francis Schaeffer Takes the Roof Off
  16. Running, running by Vox Day