In my work with CFI Ottawa I met ex-Christians, including Mormons, who talked about the practice of ‘shunning’. It’s a very powerful tool used by the church to punish those who question the teachings of the Church. The social damage it can do to a family is devastating. I have listened to the heart-breaking story of one ex-Jehovah’s Witness whose father with whom she would like to be close again, but he has shunned her. With shunning, not only those who leave the religion get shunned, but also those who associate with those who leave the religion get shunned.
Now there is a tech tool called the “Blockbot”, created to block selected people on Twitter. Theoretically, it’s community-run, but getting on the list of people to be blocked seems to be as simple as questioning the teachings of church leaders. Question or dissent with a leader in this community, you end up on the blockbot list, alleged to be associated with the nastiest of trolls. This is shunning. Personally as a sceptic first, and an atheist because of my scepticism, I really don’t care. I do find it ironic that some atheists are shunned as if they were being expelled from a church despite being an atheist.
Frankly in my life I prefer to make the decisions about who or what I will read or listen to, and keep the decisions, about whom to block, in my own hands.