Thursday, June 04, 2009

What part of gentleness and respect don't we understand

This is from Michael Patton from Parchment and Pen. For him who has ears, let him hear.


Ilíon said...

What part of "Your primary goal is not to win an argument, but to contribute to understanding" do "we" not understand?

Let him who has ears to hear, hear.

Dan said...

I think Patton makes a fantastic couple of points. For what it is worth, I have a great deal of respect for you (Victor) for typically exercising that sort behavior here on your blog. As a Christian, I feel there are only a handful of philosophers that are able to argue for our faith with true respect for those who oppose (and their arguments), which is why yours in one of the few blogs I read on theology. Anyway, enough with the boosting of your ego... :)

Anyone else find it hilarious that the comments to Patton's post immediately devolve into an argument about piercings and tatoos? Yeesh!

Ilíon said...

No, but I find it hilarious, in a noir sort of way, that you do.

unkleE said...

It has been a hard and long lesson for me to learn, but I did (finally) have ears to hear and I now strongly support Patton's comments.

I think the main reason for agreeing with him is simply, as a follower of Jesus, I should try to follow his teaching (and his apostles' teachings). But I think pragmatically it also makes sense. If our objective as christians is to commend the faith to unbelievers (as we are told to over and over again in the NT), then it goes against that objective to give them reasons to disbelieve. Stirring them up to anger and scorn (or sometimes, more anger and scorn) is against our objectives and therefore counter-productive. It may feed our ego (not a good thing either) but it doesn't help save them.

I don't think I've ever seen a situation where scorn or discourtesy helped a rational argument.

unkleE said...

"Anyone else find it hilarious that the comments to Patton's post immediately devolve into an argument about piercings and tatoos? Yeesh!"

I didn't find it so much hilarious as very sad. But like you, it made an impact. I did wonder what universe they were living in.

I somehow feel a lesson of history is that christianity is most vibrant when it is under pressure, and most nasty and ridiculous when it is the dominant culture. It shouldn't be that way, but it seems that way to me.

Gordon Knight said...


Your comment inspired me to take a look at the comments to Paton's article. It is hilarious and sad at the same time.

I think a lot of Christian philosophers are able to present their case with respect. Atheistic philosophers who study the philosophy of religion tend to be respectful too--those that are not are usually people whoo have not bothered to take the issue seriously (e.g Dennett)

a chief virtue of philosophy is that it helps us see all sides of an issue and understand its complexity.

On the other hand, philosophers tend to have big egos and strong opinions. One can get carried away in the heat of an argument--I know I do!