Matt Powell is the budding hate-preacher who has said the government should execute gay people because the Bible says so, and that women should stop dressing like whores, and that “99% of school shootings are done by atheists,” and that it’s a “historical fact” that dinosaurs were killed in the Civil War, that all atheists are “Coke-drinking video game addicts,” and that evolution requires a belief in surfing monkeys.
In other words, his life is dedicated to making Christianity look very, very stupid.
And he has a message for his atheist critics: He wants to thank the atheists for promoting him.
… I just want to say thank you so much, and I feel blessed and encouraged to have your comments and your support. And every time you leave a dislike, it just shows that the opposition is there, and that I might be the minority, but with God, I’m a majority…
… And here’s the thing, folks: The more that we get attacked, the more the people get saved…
He also lies about how he’s always just quoting science textbooks, not misrepresenting it, and that he knows “logic and reason can be very difficult” for atheists.
He’s trolling. It’s what he does. No surprise there. He also assumes that being disliked means he’s doing something right… instead of acknowledging the very real possibility he’s just very bad at everything he does or flat-out wrong.
For that reason, I disagree with his premise that all attention is good attention.
As we’ve seen with right-wing conspiracy theorists, insane people don’t just disappear because you don’t pay attention to them. The best way to expose these frauds is to show people exactly what they’re saying and how idiotic it is. I’d much rather you see Powell’s videos through the lens of an atheist — where you can find explanations of why he’s wrong — instead of stumbling upon them on your own. Search Powell’s name online and you’ll find criticism of his dumb religious ideas, not unfiltered bullshit (which is what he’s hoping for).
I would argue this worked with New Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, Westboro Baptist Church, and right-wing religious Republicans who embrace conspiracy theories. They exist. They have followings. And if they’re spreading their nonsense, it’s important to not let it go unchallenged. Even if a response boosts their profile, it makes a different when the exposure comes through reaction and not regurgitation.
So Powell can celebrate all he wants. But he’s a laughingstock to thinking people. If a handful of Christians take to him, it’s the expected tradeoff. I promise you they would’ve found him or someone else regardless. In the long run, being a bad spokesperson for your cause hurts your cause.