Monday, August 13, 2012

Why are some christians afraid to read an opposing opinion?

I've run into this before, and saw it again tonight on my Facebook page.  One of my FB friends was rather incensed at my last post, which he/she interpreted as painting all christians with the same broad brush.

In his/her reply at one point, he/she reiterated what he/she's said before - that he/she refuses to read my blog, because it is such, I guess, "hateful" stuff.  I don't think he/she actually used that word but it was what he/she meant.  His/Her words this time were to the effect that he/she "can't open" my blog - as if his/her computer won't do it instead of that being his/her choice.

My reply to him/her was this:

If you've got a problem with some atheists, then talk about it. You might be surprised to find I agree with some of that, or maybe not. If you don't read what I say, you have no basis for arguing against me, do you? You are limiting your horizons by refusing to read opposing viewpoints. If you don't know what the other side is saying, you can't argue affectively.
If you are so afraid to read my posts, why is that? Are you fearful that you might find yourself seeing points that you might not be able to disagree with? If you are so averse to reading an opposing viewpoint, your faith must be weak.
Granted, there was some hyperbole and "pushiness" there, but I get impatient with folks who constantly post their own favored pictures and shared posts on FB that shout out their opinions, but refuse to defend them or to discuss their opinion - and furthermore, sometimes get angry when confronted with an opposing opinion that debunks their post.

That last is an amalgamation of several such things I've seen on FB, both on my own wall and in others' as well, so it isn't supposed to be about just one person.  But is happens, and the folks who do it are all, by their comments, christians or are defending christian viewpoints.

Now I don't have time tonight to give this what treatment it deserves, so maybe I'll address this later too.

But no matter who you are, whatever your beliefs, if you are going to broadcast them to the world, or to your online friends, you need to be prepared to defend or discuss them.  That's what social sites like Facebook are meant for.  Discussion, debate and argument.  It isn't an advertisement venue (well, not completely) meant to post billboards nobody is allowed to comment on.

If you simply post stuff and move on without comment or debate, it's tiring and obnoxious, and will never be instrumental in changing any minds.  Debate will make people think, and is always good to air opposing viewpoints with.  A place like Facebook  is, truly, the marketplace of ideas which the Founders imagined when they wrote the First Amendment!

It is an axiom of debate that a party who retreats before an obvious ending point has already lost the debate, and to refuse engagement at all is to advertise to all that your position has no merit and will not hold up to debate.  It is called losing by default, and exposes a weak argument or a lack of confidence in your position and its merits.

So, when you post something, or share something, be prepared to answer criticism.  I do it all the time, and so do others.  Don't get angry over honest criticism, den if it seems unfair.  Answer it!  Go on the offensive!  Cite facts and figures, use logic and reason to make your points.

There are a lot of good books about debate and how to avoid using logical fallacies.  I would suggest reading some of them and taking their suggestions to heart.

But in the end, if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen!


Anonymous said...

I think that your characterization of "all Christians" is false. You do brushstroke alot. You do come across hateful. That would be why I have spent so much time(wasted, I may say)replying back to your non-sense. And I will be taking a cue from this FB lady/man.
You are right about taking time to read and educate your self about opposing opinions. However, not everybody that uses FB(don't know the person that wrote to you or how he/she uses FB)is using it to "share ideas". Alot just use it for socializing or keeping friends/family updated. If everyone was using to share ideas or debate it wouldn't be as popular as it is.
You are so condecending in all your posts that deal with ideas. If anyone is conservative, you come across as hating them. If you were my neighbor I would never talk to you(based on the way you type). Maybe in person you are a kinder person? But online you have a "brave-ness" to you that is down right rude.
If you are trying to "win" a debate, in the real sense, you can't keep crapping on anyones rebutal the way you do. You DO personalize and attack charater. You don't realize you are doing it, which is the sad fact of the matter-with the response you are having to this person's dislike for your blog.
Honestly, reading this blog has only made me hate atheism that much more. Who wants to live with such hatred? Who wants to live with such conspiracy around every corner? Who wants to live with the idea that every white male(funny how you are one and don't believe this way?)is trying to secure his place as the alpha male and has to beat down every minority or woman? I know enough white males to know that it isn't even on their radars. Politics is riddled with power hungry a**es, conservative or liberal! It has always been that way and will always be that way in the future, period!
But you must be living too close to the political hotspot of the "Beltway" to see that this is not the whole world. The 99% don't even care and will happily boil in the hot water that has been being prepared by the 1%.
Atheism at it's core is not going to change that! Mainly because, as you no doubt disagree, is it based on lazy selfishness. The way you type, you do nothing but bloviate online and don't DO anything to actually make this planet better(except throwing you plastics in recycling...fat chance that will do much with 95% of the world not giving a rats a**). Stop wasting your time blogging and start DOING something in your community!
You can reply to this but I won't be returning, I AM doing something in the community(and it is taking up more of my time) and that is being heard WAY more than your blog getting read!

Robert Ahrens said...

First of all, you start out like every other christian i've ever debated with online - mischaracterizing my words.

I didn't say "all christians", I said that "all people doing this are christians".

If you can't tell the difference between these two statements, you shouldn't be commenting online.

The rest of your comment is an ad hominem attack, basically. If you don't come back, that's fine with me.