EDIT 11th Nov 2010: Since this article was first published, Heidi has revealed her true colours. It’s very sad, but I’m leaving the article up for purposes of clarity. Please read here after you’re done: https://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/the-latest-video-from-qualiasoup-is-excellent/#comment-6673
It’s easy to forget, sometimes, that the radical lunatics we spend so much time trying to publicly shame only represent a tiny percentage of the wider Christian community. That’s why I should probably apologies for not spending a little more time now and then telling you all about some of the non-crazy Christians out there, who take an interest in science and rationalism and do understand many of the cogent arguments put forward.
Heidi, twitter name @heidiraff, first came to my attention when she agreed to take part in a podcast with myself and two other non-theists. She immediately impressed me with her attempts to remind her fellow Christians on the panel of what Jesus is actually said to have taught, as opposed to their sometimes rather selective interpretation of the New Testament—and how, to them, it somehow justifies teaching people things that aren’t true. She did this in a non-confrontational way and also managed to remain respectful of the opinions expressed on my side of the debate, even though we strongly disagree in some key areas.
The podcast was hosted by Juanita Berguson (@JuanitaBerguson) a self-confessed ‘Kingdom Capitalist’ who sells a particularly weird blend of Jesus and anti-science, ‘New Age’ spirituality.
Heidi was as disgusted at the way myself and the other atheists on the panel were treated by Juanita and her business partners at the time. Readers will recall, when myself and @antitheistangie took objection to Juanita silencing our microphones before we’d been allowed to answer some serious allegations of “struggling with the format”, Juanita’s puppy dog Paul Collier decided to leave some rather choice comments on her behalf.
So when Heidi was again invited to take part in another of Juanita’s podcasts she did so with some reticence. What happened next was both sad and also rather predictable. Heidi writes:
Last Sunday, I get this message from Juanita. She tells me that she has this wonderful Christian scientist. He’s going to be on the show and she’ll let him give a talk and then allow atheists to ask him questions. I thought, wow, pretty cool. I’m thinking it’s gotta be someone with the genome community … but stupidly, I did not ask about his credentials. I just assumed that Juanita had a good person, especially because she said this guy was a very good friend of hers. It never crossed my mind that he’d be crazy.
So then … I go on Twitter for about 2-3 hours, and I’m hyping it like crazy. I probably hit up about 20 different atheists I know, and I’m telling everyone that this scientist is going to be on and it’s going to be a really great show, etc.
Then … the guy started talking. My stomach literally dropped and I got so dizzy. I have all these atheists pinging me on Twitter and sending me DMs saying, “What the heck, Heidi? Why would you promote this guy?”
And I’m totally mortified, so I explain that I didn’t know. To demonstrate that I meant business, I hung up my line and then sent out messages on the atheist hashtag, saying I was sorry that I had wasted everyone’s time and that I didn’t know that the “scientist” was going to be like that.
As if that wasn’t bad enough Juanita then started to private message Heidi, accusing her of “bashing her guest” and “supporting the atheist cause”. That’s right folks, as soon as you call someone out for talking nonsense, unless you fall in-line and say nothing, you’re on “their side”.
Now as if it wasn’t wonderful enough that, as you can see from her own blog, Heidi really is very much into Jesus and not at all on anyone’s “side”, her distain for charlatans who speak on her behalf doesn’t simply stop there.
Regular readers are familiar with my on-going campaign to publicly ridicule Joe Cienkowski—a twitter evangelical who spouts spurious nonsense about how, in his book (there’s your first clue) he can “prove evolution is a lie and the religion of atheism”. See the last week’s previous blog entries for more background.
Now, I have to say up-front, although it didn’t directly involve Heidi, I am proud to say I first found out about Joe’s latest exploits directly from her. So sickened was she, that Joe presumed to preach on behalf of Christianity that the only way to show the strength of your faith, is to encourage others to believe in things that aren’t true, that she blogged a great example of the difference between people who are genuine in their religious conviction and people who try to exploit it, after the screen-grab opposite began to circulate twitter last evening: christiansafehouse.blogspot.com
Originally posted by @jeanybeany80, the only thing more amusing than seeing the self-same physical evidence Joe repeatedly asserts as invalid in his Jihad against rationalism, logic, free inquiry and intellectual honesty, is that his dual identity as both a paragon of virtue and a sleazy letch was apparent to anyone from the first moment they first encountered him. That inner dialogue between intuition and reason, which the Joe Cienkowski’s of this world insist is unattainable to those of us with no illusions about ‘spirituality’ or ‘supreme moral authority’ told all of us, Christian and atheist, that there was something not quite right about @JoeCienkowski from the moment he appeared. And what do you know, we were right.
Now, how does this affect my reviewing his book, when it arrives? It doesn’t. The planned video series will go ahead—and I just wanted to close by addressing some of the concerns of those of you who are saying that feeding the troll is just giving him what he wants.
I agree that, under normal circumstances, this is good advice. However, if Joe was pushing a book about how he can “prove with scientific evidence” that black people are intellectually inferior to white people, or that—as it is decreed in 1st Timothy, that women should be subservient to men and learn in silence, society would shun and discredit him with the sort of deafening silence some people are advocating.
But if we continue to afford religious lunatics some kind of wild card right, to assert equally nonsensical things about the teaching of science as a large group of people in society once did about race and sex, then we’re not silencing them at all—we’re allowing them to continue unchallenged.
So, I will still be asking those of you interested in following the video series (when the book itself actually arrives) to donate to UNICEF to off-set the cost of the book itself ten times over and I will still be twittering and blogging, reddit’ing and YouTubing as much attention in the general direction of @JoeCienkowski as I possibly can, because I genuinely believe the only way we’re going to win against these people is in the broad daylight of reason and truth and with a little help from our non-crazy Christian friends.