Father Jim Martin, SJ, really does capture the poisonous spirit of online religious polemic in this great blog post lampooning the same. He gives it a particularly Catholic spin, of course, but you see this all over. Here’s how it starts.
I wonder if you can say anything about the Catholic faith without people taking offense. No matter how benign, no comment on the web about Catholicism goes unchallenged. That goes for blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and pretty much everything else. Moreover, the idea of trying to understand a person by reading carefully what they’re actually saying, or giving them the benefit of the doubt, is fading quickly from Catholic discourse. No matter what you write, there are Catholics ready to take immediate offense, to explode in righteous anger, to threaten to report you to the proper authorities or, most of all, to correct. The most common responses are these five: 1.) Your soul is in mortal danger. 2.) You’re uneducated and need to be schooled. 3.) I hate the church and so I hate you. 4.) You’re an unthinking tool of the Vatican. 5.) You’re disobedient and must be reported.
Here is a not-so-farfetched exchange, based on some very, very real experiences. Believe me, it would be hard to make this stuff up.