Hostile, poisonous -- and full of rancor
The post itself recounts an incident in which a preacher in Knoxville told a 7-year-old boy that he and other kids who don't believe in God will go to Hell. The boy ended up having nightmares as a result, which suggests that what the preacher actually said to him was rather more vivid than just the bald statement described. This led a local atheist to tell the post author "My conclusion is that the church is a hostile and poisonous entity in the community", prompting the author to lament, "Yikes. 'Hostile and poisonous entity.' Are we Christians really like that?" (Er, yes, you are, if you're going to terrorize kids. Is this really so hard to grasp?) The author used this as a lead-in to raise the question of whether salvation is achieved by faith (that is, correct belief) or by good works.
The ensuing battle in the comments thread, however, was the most vituperative I've seen on RLC in all the time I've been reading it. Evidently the question of who gets into Heaven, and of who is entitled to pontificate about who gets into Heaven, is even more fundamental than the question of whether God hates fags or not. Commenters rapidly began accusing each other of bigotry and intolerance, then of arrogance, (theological) ignorance, heresy, apostasy, being controlled by "demonic forces", and trolling. A sample:
.....the time I’ve spent interacting with you on this page has certainly given me insight into how the mind of a right-wing fundamentalist nut case actually works. Your natural habitat seems to be the dankest and darkest and most damning corner of self righteous, arrogant, bigoted, Bible-thumping religious ideology which you sadly mistake for Christianity. “I will continue to pray for your salvation” you say. I told you I’m a baptized Christian. How dare you come across so arrogant — you twisted little self-righteous, impudent twit.....
As Hitchens once said, don't you love to see how the Christians love one another? Eventually (the thread is up to 46 comments at the moment) one commenter implicitly accused another of being in league with Satan. I don't know whether things can go any further downhill from there, but I do intend to watch and find out (if you're in the right frame of mind, this stuff can be pretty entertaining).
The battle does, however, bring a more serious point to mind. All these people claim to believe in the same religion, but disagree vehemently about very fundamental aspects of what that religion teaches. Each faction accuses the other(s) of holding to an obviously-false form of Christianity, or even of not being Christian at all. You can tell they're never going to work it out. For that matter, Christianity has existed for almost 2,000 years, and in all that time there has been fighting among Christians (ranging from debates to full-scale wars) over what exactly they were supposed to believe. If they themselves have never all been able to agree on even the basics of what the religion's teachings are, how can they expect anyone else to take such an incoherent belief system seriously? How can they themselves take it seriously?
This problem is not limited to Christianity, of course. Much of the Muslim world is poisoned with discrimination and violence between rival sects of Islam.
It's bad enough when your whole world-view is based on claiming absolute certainty about things no human being could possibly know, but when even other people who take the same "holy" book as a starting point can't agree on what they should be so certain about, doesn't sanity demand a healthy dose of doubt about the whole thing?