Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Idiot sniffers

This is more evidence that we are all wannabes here.

Lee Randolph has been defending his deconstruction of Christianity over at DC some more, and in one of his comments, after laying out his arguments, curiously remarked that not only was Christianity "busted" but that I was "busted" as well.

J.L. Hinman at CADRE also wants to let everyone know how one of his commenters is not very well read. I sensed a little bit of defensiveness in all of this post.

And on this very blog I've been called "stupid" and "idiot" and "fool" already. It seems like its from both sides. (also, I'm not sure what to make of those who also called me "son")

But I think that the biblio-blogsphere is littered with "idiot-sniffers" who feel compelled to let someone know when they are an idiot with a harsh post. I don't think it is very helpful, even to call an idiot and idiot, but it sure is fun. I've seen bad arguments litter the internet, and even more false information on both sides. But there is a difference between recognizing a bad argument and calling someone stupid.

So here's my theory: none of this is about truth-seeking, it's all about ego massaging. That's the only way I can make sense of Lee's and J.L.'s posts. Neither side is really trying to help the other, it's all about proving who is smarter. Along the way we might run into some good arguments on either side, but pretty soon everything breaks down. Holding is the best example of this by far.

So here's my solution: we stop taking ourselves so seriously. No one is going to solve world problems on our blogs. We're doing this as a pasttime, and when it becomes too personal or heated, we need to remember that we're just typing. Let's leave the real problems to the experts ;-)


  1. Your na idiot, because you stupidly follow this idea. It shows rhat a fool you are.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    I believe your onto something here. I've noted this mentality for years, and its not very good. (Not that I should talk, my smarmy British sarcasm often comes off as a fair bit nastier than its intended, but at least it s not suppose to.)

    The real problem in this is what I call the Apologetics trap. People become invested in arguing a point of view, to the extent that they simply seek to argue for it no matter what. Thus they seek only informaiton that bolsters their beleifs, and tend to jup from one arugmen to the next if hat argument gets trounced.

    I've run into a number of Atheists oonlien and off who, upon learnign that Im a Christian, set out to "DIalouge" only to ask quesitons that arne't relaly designed to ge tto know or udnerstand my position, but rather are there to make me think and realise how stupid mybeleifs are. Regretably, these quesitons are often base don fualty understanding and hwen I try to explain basic things, like Faithnot beign beleif withotu evidence or God not beign a man like being, they tend ot try to force the matter by insistign I accpet the original terms, at which time thye are dictating o me my beleifs whislt telling me how wrogn they are.

    Of coruse, Atheists arne't the only oens who do this, and you are quiet right that CHristains eaisly flal into the same trap. I just seldom (But not never) get into arguments with CHristians. (Except over evangelcial Doctrine. They seem incapable of fathoming me not buyign into Rapture theory, or Salvationby Faith Alone, or the SInners Prayer, et all.)

    The mentality is like a politician. He has a platform which defines his cmpaing and form which he must argue. It doens't matter if the rival politician form the othe rparty makes good snese, or even has a mroe pursuasive arugment. The Politician knows his parrty platform defiens who he is in his political career and so must fdebate agaisnt his rival.

    The difference is, politicians tend to know this, whereas the Atheits and Christaisn you meet hre ( And in other areas of life not related ot this debate) peopel tend unaware of this.

    The Christian Apologest set shimself up as a Christian Apologist, and thus must argue Agaisnt Atheism. If he encounters an argument that he has not heard before and to which he has no answer, he seeks to find a coutnerarument, rather htna considerign the argument. The same applies to the Atheists. When rpesented with somethign that cotnradicts their agument or shwos its weakness, they seek to either salvage the arugment by counteing the counter argument, or find a new argument to replace it.

    The goal is to support a predetermined conclusion, not to seek reality and truth.

    And this happens in all walks of life, not merley in the debate between Humanism and Chrisyianity.

  2. Brad

    Here's a couple new entries at my site.

    Also, I don't know what drives you to write but based on your latest, "Can't we all just get along" tripe I don't think it is rooted in any desire to think.

    My writing is an attempt to form an opinion that can stand for something other than people-pleasing. We are living in dangerous and challenging times and I for one trust those who take their thoughts seriously.

    You seem smarter than your arguments but your lack of conviction makes me continue to think you are an idiot and a child - that is why I called you son.

  3. I'd say he's right though. I am disabled and often come to the net just to present ideas, btu realise few peopel woll bother ot tak eme seriosuly. Add ot this the Yslexia and you have me eaisly pegged as an idiot.

    THe Blogsphere wont' settle these arguments, as peopel dcome here just to reinforce their ideas.

    I just see Mr. Haggard as presentifn a view that we relaly shoudl;n't take this all too seriously, and shoudl stop talkign past each other.

  4. Chuck, no offense at the "son" comment. I thought it was funny how it came out in the post and how BB used the same word in another comment.

    I think these are challenging times, too, but I just want to warn against blogging as the answer to our questions. No matter what, it cannot be real conversation, and I think it ultimately has little impact in real world situations.

    So it doesn't bother me if people call me an idiot, because that is part of the game. It's ok, I have a job and family that give my life its meaning, and this is a side-hobby, not my real conviction. I was just annoyed at how seriously people took themselves.

    I do have strong opinions and convictions on things, but this blog is just a vent forum, and if people read it, then all the better

  5. 'my smarmy British sarcasm'

    But we Brits are so good at sarcasm, it seems a shame not to use our national gift.

    only to ask quesitons that arne't relaly designed to ge tto know or udnerstand my position, but rather are there to make me think and realise how stupid mybeleifs are...

    It is called the 'Jesus' approach, where you answer a question with a question, so that the questioner has to tbink about his position.

    I have to concede that atheists were not the first to come up with this approach to dialogue.

  6. Brad,

    Thanks for the tips. I will check a few of them out. I did check out Witherington's (sic) blog but found it to be a presupositional (sic again) counter to Ehrman's more direct and clear-headed biblical analysis. I like NT Wright and need to read him and will check out some of the other sources. I can's say I agree on the WLC stuff. He operates again from a pre-supositional (sic x3) premise and therefore I find his arguments lacking. I've read Donald Miller and don't mind him but, is that Christian theology or self-help with a Christian lens? I'm okay with self-help but the exclusivity of Christian theology is not something I can subscribe to anymore. The subtle bigotry found in "Christ is the only way to Heaven" is not something that seems moral to me anymore.

  7. Mr. Carr, we Brits may be good at it, but Americans have as much understanding of it as the average guy does Quantum Mechanics.

    Its just a lost cause. I come off as nasty or boorish or cruel without intention beign such, and thanks ot no voice on a text format, peopel progect a lot more anger and hositlity than I convey.

    That said, Jesus never did what Im descrinng, though I admit some CHristian do.

    Most of the Atheists I meet on these sorts of blogs don't answer a wuesiton with a quesition, rather they ask the firts wuesiton, but tis not a quesiton they want us to answer because they seek understanding; rather, its a quesiton designed ot make we stupid Christians think because we havent though baotu our faith.

    IE, they will ask , "If God is so loving, why did he create Hell for peopel like me?" THe poitn is not to relaly answer why God made Hell, its to get the CHristian to be repulsed. Or, anothe rpopular quesiton is "Why does a man-like conspt liek God explain so much to Humanity." THe point in askign is to get us to realise we have an anthropomophic father figure because it comforts us. THe main driv is to get us to coem to Athism by "Logic" by askign us these quesitons. THe Ahtiests arent intereste din answers, just gettign us to ask these quesitns of ourselves. THey also arnet intereste din how banal or idiotic the quesitosn are.

    Christians, I admit, do the same hting with " Why do you think that you can live however oy ulike?" or " Don't you want ot ind eternal happiness?"

    It sjuist so much hoakum.