I think it important to remember that the internet is a medium which propogates a special kind of wave quite well–ideas. It is also a medium which does not propogate another kind of wave at all (like a sound wave in a vacuum)–emotional appeals.

Even arguments which attempt to present an emotional appeal do not find the sort of resonance that *personal* emotional appeals find (eg face-to-face). That is one interesting thing I’ve noted about theist versus atheist websites, and the apparently disproportionate representation of atheism on the web in general. I am not claiming that the speaker’s emotions do not come through in their writing. What I am claiming is that the power of eliciting an emotional response in your reader is rendered virtually null via writing compared to personal proselytizing, sermons, and evangelism in general.

That is, the amount of intellectual material on *individual* websites (versus orgs and groups) representing atheism seems overrepresented in proportion to the % of people who espouse atheism. Conversely, the amount of intellectual (versus evangelizing, emotional appeals, etc) material on Christianity (again, among individual sites) is underrepresented by stats.

You’ll find all kinds of Xian “apologists” (yes those are sneer quotes), but you’ll also find that they are nearly all united in “defending the faith” from skeptics and the arguments of atheism *to minister to other Xians!* Nearly all the articles on sites that address creationism, atheist logic, etc., are explicitly addressing an audience of Xians.

Admittedly, a few amateur Xian apologists have taken their best arguments to the WWW for the purpose of evangelism, but I would put forth my observation that they are beset on all sides by the ideas of the godless, a chorus composed of ever more voices. I think the web has helped more atheists to “come out” and to realize they *are* atheists than *anything* positive it has done for religion, because religions are stripped of their most powerful tool–the emotional, personal appeal to repent and join the fold. The web helped me to address the things that kept me quagmired in liberal Xianity for years, and then deism, and then agnosticism. I could’ve gone to libraries, sure, and still could, to find books and arguments (i have a bookshelf that is now stocked with and growing with atheist literature). But the WWW has provided a “crystallization” effect for atheists–with a seeded center like the RA site, more and more doubters and freethinkers find what they need: not companionship and comfort, but food for thought.

People who are critical of *any* ideas may come across as unhappy…but I would rather be *perceived* as unhappy than *be* gullible.

Thinking Freely, on the Raving Atheist’s comment section

I find it interesting that emotional appeals are thought to be the centerpiece of evangelism. I was always taught that an emotional “conversion” was not likely to be real, or lasting.

They make some good points about the differing signal-to-noise ratios between atheist and Christian apologists, however. I’ve found the same myself. Even with internet apologetics, the roster seems awfully small – the ones who cater to skeptics smaller still.

Am I wrong?