I’ve become nauseously aware of the glut of verbiage on blog sites, especially in comments sections. I suppose that I have often been guilty of piling on. But I believe there is a reason people write books. When one writes a book, one is able to develop a thought from start to finish, without interruption. Certainly, there will be some who wish rebuttal. But this must also in the form of a well-developed thought. Many times it will even spawn another book. That is fine, because the argument is then framed on both sides by two complete thoughts.
But this is not true for blogs and comments. As more comments are registered, more tangents to the original thoughts develop, which in turn form their own tangents. Pretty soon, it’s very difficult to tell who is arguing against whom. So, the author’s original thoughts are quickly lost in the sea of comment discussion. The discussions inevitably break down into chaotic cudgel matches, in which attempts are made to bludgeon the other side by shear numbers of attacks. Thus, we eventually have a bunch of words with no focus, no accountability, and no ability for true rebuttal.
So far, I should consider myself blessed. Out of 49 posts and 300 views, only six people have bothered to comment. That means that I
- didn’t created any controversy,
- framed my point so well that it is beyond rebuttal, or
- didn’t actually rouse anyone enough to precipitate a response.
If I have never created a controversy, I am highly surprised. Certainly, especially as I am one of those ‘hate-mongering” Christians, I have said something to offend someone who is not Christian. The Bible tells me that the world should be full of people who disagree with me. Yet not one of these people has yet jumped out of the woodwork to attack me. If it doesn’t happen, then I hope that I can assume that everyone who reads my meditations has come to know Jesus as the Savior. A more likely scenario is that only Christians read the meditations, so that I am just preaching to the choir.
I think blogging, by its very nature, doesn’t really allow for anyone to nail an argument irreproachably to the wall. My longest blog ever probably doesn’t break 3000 words, and most don’t go much past half that much. Since a picture is worth 1000 words, then I am presenting a very short slide show to verify my point. My friend Cathy needed several dozen pictures just to show what it’s like to climb into a ditch, albeit the Grand Canyon. So how can I expect to saturate discussion on any topic with 1500 words?
I guess I’m going to have to believe that the third point is most likely the right one. But I only know one way in which to fix this problem. I am going to have to bend the rules of logic so horribly that everyone will want to tear me to shreds. Of course, I’ll have to be talking about a really, really hot topic like gun control or gay marriage. And I’m going to have to break the golden rule, which says, “Don’t tell them it’s right just because God says so. ” There is also an antithesis to this, which is “Don’t try to stand up for God with human logic.”
The current debate over gay marriage rights is not new, nor are the arguments for and against new. But somehow, the debate has led to the idea that only the gay activists have logic on their side, while the Christians only have God on their side. Some Christians, who should recognize that God only gave some, not all, to be prophets, might not want to presume to speak for God. Surely I believe that God enlightens all believers as they become more versed in Scripture. But, the Bible also warns people not to consider themselves better than they ought. One should look at the religious training regimen of Jewish people. It’s hard to find a better system of training up the youth, from the time they begin to read and write, to be well-versed in Scripture. And yet, Jews do not allow anyone to become rabbis until the age of 30 (at least last I knew). I don’t think it’s a coincidence that one of the radical 60’s mantras was “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” People over 30 are much harder to fool, because they have life experience. But, when it comes to speaking for Christianity, the point is that the untested and novice should stop presuming that the Spirit is just going to anoint him or her the next Moses or Isaiah. That might just be a little too presumptuous.
Meanwhile, those who argue for gay marriage should stop believing that they are the only sensible creatures on the planet. One of the most frustrating things that I encounter when trying to debate someone is that they can’t seem to string three contiguous thoughts together. Many don’t seem to know how to form a paragraph. Most don’t seem to understand the rules of logic. I hate to tell you this, but there are many good books out there on the subject. Some people pay a lot of really good money to get something called an education. And even though many schools lack any kind of mandatory critical thinking courses, there are still a lot of people who do receive training in these skills. So, why don’t all of you who don’t have these skills stop beating the same senseless illogical drum tones that you heard someone say once and it sounded kinda good. Again, I’m just using gay marriage as a for instance. But please understand my basic point: let the people who are trained to speak speak.
Assuming that we can all get down to an intelligent conversation, there is still a line in the sand. A non-Christian cannot presume to speak for a Christian, because the Christian has a different wisdom from the non-Christian. If you aren’t a Christian, you will not understand. The Bible says (even though you can’t understand why this is true), “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, and they cannot understand it, for it is spiritually discerned.” This is a great divide. This sets the playing field rules, and both sides had better understand that it is pointless to try crossing it. Therefore, the unbeliever should never believe that any amount of “wisdom” is ever going to impress the believer and break him from his “foolishness”. In the same way, no Christian can think that arguing with the Bible is ever going to mean anything to the non-Christian.
I am not saying that a Christian is never to confess his faith. Christians should live lives that confess their faith every day. They should always be ready to tell people about the hope that they find in Jesus. But remember well what the founder of Christianity plainly said. “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my followers would fight.” You cannot fight earthly battles with heavenly wisdom. If you are going to win anyone over, you must first win the spiritual battle for his heart. This cannot be done with appeals to law. Because law is in the earthly realm. You can only use the Gospel, because the Gospel is the only message that works in the spiritual realm.
So, where does this leave the Christian citizen who is concerned about how our country is going to Hell in a hand basket? Are we just supposed to throw up our hands and say, “It’s OK, let people do whatever they want. I’ll just live my beliefs and you live however you want”? Not at all! In the physical realm, the law is still king. It is a scientific reality that nature operates under certain rules. One of these rules is that chaos is the result of random action. Therefore, we can’t simply allow people in a society to engage in random actions. There have to be principles on which we found a society, under which society as a whole runs smoothly and prosperously.
We must always stand up for the rule of law. Understand, though, that a true law is based upon the natural state of the universe. Man-made laws are good laws when they underline and reinforce natural laws, and they are bad laws when they seek to go against natural law. (There is also what we call “statutory” laws, but these are really to regulate bureaucratic procedure and should not deal with moral issues. This line is often blurred.) One such case is the idea of marriage. Six thousand years of history underscore that one man and one woman create the best environment in which to raise happy, well-adjusted children. This is the natural law. Laws that would try to go against this principle must therefore be bad laws. I know this to be true, because I instinctively know the natural law, just like all of my fellow human beings. In the same way, I and all other humans know that murder is not good, stealing is not good, and so on. Let’s not forget that natural laws were codified by many nations all over the world, not just in the Torah, because people everywhere know that there is right and wrong.
As I said before, there are many, many books that deal with just about any legal subject you can imagine. A lot of them are very good, because they logically spell out the pros and cons of an issue. Almost all of the are biased, because everyone has to start with a certain truth set. There is always a truth out there about every subject. But, because of bias, there is not always honesty. People who really want to know the truth will usually find it. But many people who claim to be on the side of truth are unwilling to be corrected if they discover they are not. Those who have an agenda are able to skew the facts in order to obscure the truth or to make it appear to be in agreement with their agenda. Or they obscure the truth by distraction or diversion. If you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig. Just because you call the Bible “hate speech” doesn’t suddenly make the truth in the Bible stop being the truth. If “because God said so” isn’t good enough for you, then let the history of civilization confirm it for you. If you can’t do that, that’s OK. All you will lose is your civilization.
- Douglas Groothuis’ exhortation to Christians to study apologetics (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
- Taking up your cross is harder than taking home some chicken. (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)