Enough with the snarkiness!
For a long time, it seemed to me that in interactions between Christians and non-Christians, all the vitriol, verbal abuse, sarcasm, snarkiness, and general unpleasantness was coming from atheists and other non-believers, but that Christians were, for the most part, trying to be civil. J.P. Holding seemed to be the only Christian out there taking the low road, and even though some of us liked what he was saying, most of us didn't like the way he was saying it. To a lesser degree, a lot of us were also uncomfortable with James White's abrasive attitude.
Atheists weren't just being abrasive because they were immature or because they let their emotions control them. Even some of the very well-educated and well-respected atheists, like Richard Dawkins, were actually encouraging people to use ridicule. What many of us previously thought was just the waste-water of the YouTube comment section was now being baptized by the intellectual leaders of the new atheist movement. It was kind of shocking!
Apparently, even many in the atheist community were uncomfortable with it. A rift formed between people like Jeff Lowder who thought atheists ought to be civil, and people like Richard Carrier who were all for being nasty.
But lately (for the last year or so), I've noticed that a lot of Christians are starting to give up on civility, too. I've seen it in a lot of comment sections on blogs, and on discussion boards that I visit. (I wonder if it is just exhaustion from having to put up with it for so long while trying to take the high road with little effect or reciprocation.) The snarkiness I've seen from other Christians makes me even more uncomfortable than the snarkiness I've seen from atheists and other non-believers. After all, I am a Christian myself.
So I just want to remind my fellow arm chair apologists of what Peter said in our signature verse about apologetics:
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being read to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15)
Please, let's not forget the "gentleness and reverence" part. It seems that a lot of us have. As Solomon once said, "When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest" (Proverbs 19:11). Don't be the foolish man. Take the high road. Any fool can vent his frustration, but it takes patience and humility to remain civil and amicable when reasoning with people over controversial issues.