“Before You Comment”
Some recent blogservations have revealed to me the uncanny ability of some of our visitors to absolutely deny logic. Non-contradiction is a law of Western thinking and mediates the flow of ideas categorically, whereas, Eastern pantheistic philosophy denies Aristotelian reasoning with statements such as “the soul of the one is the soul of the cosmos”. The influx of Eastern teaching into America has heightened the spiritual temperature of popular culture. Spirituality is now a popular dish served up everywhere from business school (“The Secret”) to the bedroom (“Tantra for Dummies”).
With this cornucopia of enlightenment comes a whole new way of thinking and talking about faith, religion, and the metaphysical. Discussions of spirituality are now commonly understood to be outside the normal standards of reasonable debate. Somehow the laws of logic which would apply within a political debate are completely out when the topic turns to religion, faith, or spiritual matters. This certainly applies to topics of faith and doctrine in the blogosphere.
I have had bloggers ‘amen’ my statements which pointedly question their main doctrines. It is as if they willfully ignore a reasoned challenge to their worldview. The inquiry is skirted by deliberate resistance to engaging in debate. Is this the mark of a secure position? Or is it a carefully redirected sophistry? More often than not, when a question is answered there is no acknowledgement of the answer, only more questions delivered in rapid fire succession. Questions pile up, obscuring the argument at hand.
With that said, there are such things as good and bad arguments. That is the sole purpose of logic—it determines what a good argument is. How OFTEN one CAPITALIZES or bold types usually indicates their level of arguing ability. One man tried to win me over in a discussion by using scores of exclamation marks to show that he really meant business. I’ve learned that online discussions have their own forms of amateurish rhetoric.
Emotional rhetoric is the norm from those protesting our views on IHOP or…whatever. Good rhetoric can be persuasive, often even more so than logic (this is where the Charismatic honchos really shine—they know how to turn a phrase and work a crowd), but bad rhetoric looks like a mentally retarded adult climbing into the ring with Felix Trinidad. Listen, you don’t have to use big or fancy words to get your point across–sophisticated language sometimes obscures our main points–because well thought out, plain spoken wisdom works just fine.
Rhetoric is an art but logic is a tool. Faulty logic, on the other hand, is a useless tool. Tools which are used incorrectly cease to be tools–they do not fit the task at hand. Now that reason has been pumped out of the current spiritual discussion logic itself has become an alien species within topics of faith. The response goes something like this, “Man, I don’t care if there are doctrinal contradictions between prophets and the Bible because I feel so strongly that these men are from God and their hearts are really in the messages they give.” The truth value is placed on empirical evidence—I know because I experience—as opposed to critical evaluation.
Experience is not bad. However, in debate it may easily cloud evidence. Rational debate can be gotten at but there is a science to it which cannot be circumvented. For all of our readers: think before you post a comment. Determine and analyze your main points. Be open to constructive criticism. Limit the questions to one or two and don’t try to prove too much. On a courteous note, look for common ground. And finally, don’t think that you are the first one to come up with whatever argument it is you are bringing to the site. Happy blogging. Welcome to thegreycoats.