Recently, Jerry Coyne received some antisemitic hate mail and posted it on his blog. This one looked real to me, as it lacked the over-the-top spelling errors and didn’t have the arguments-that-make-you-laugh. Even though that hate mail did not have any religious overtones, Coyne’s readers, relying on their uncanny Gnu sense of critical thinking, began to connect the hate mail to Christianity. Here is some of their Atheist Think in action:
I’ve never understood how “good Christians” could condemn the Holocaust and then turn around and express horror that a Jewish person might move into their neighborhood! It is attitudes like that
They killed Our Savior. Haven’t you heard?
It doesn’t help that in my life time Catholics have been taught that Jews are “Christ Killers”. Good grief.
I’ve always thought that anti-Semitism stems from some Christians and Muslims suffering from the dreaded psychological condition known as Jew Envy.
It turns out the sender of the hate mail was not the Christian who haunts the minds of the New Atheist. He was someone who decribes himself as an “anti-Christian.”
If you read through the links in Coyne’s posting, you will find the the author of the hate mail was some teen from Australia who not only describes himself as an “anti-Christian,” but also says he likes science and is an atheist who was raised in a secular household. What’s more, he says he never got excited about atheist activism until he began watching YouTube videos of New Atheist leaders and then began to donate money to The Cause. He’s become disillusioned with the movement, largely because he thinks atheists need to unite to fight against such things as creationism in the schools.
So while Coyne’s readers were itching to blame the antisemitic hate mail on some Christian, it turns out it came from within their own tribe – a fellow New Atheist.
Maybe that’s why Coyne suddenly felt the need to move on – “And that’s all I have to say about the bilious and odious Gerard O’Neill, neo-Nazi and antisemite” and some of his readers began to comment, “He’s a kid. There is hope for him yet- maybe something will come along and he will see some light.Sounds kind of desperate but looking around and curious” and “The only thing I can aay in his favor is that he seems to be an equal-opportunity hater. Says he hates christians, too” and “I do feel rather sorry for him. Maybe if the internet had been around when I was his age I would have used it to vent my spleen with the world.”