Sunday, December 15, 2013

Why Argue?

Some people like to argue. You can almost count on them taking the other side of anything you say. Of course, it can be easy to manipulate those who are predictable in this way, like you might use reverse psychology on a stubborn child.

One of the more frustrating things of my life, since I love ideas, is that it often isn't possible to win a debate. I wish God would swoop in sometimes and pronounce a winner. You know, the end of Job type thing where God comes in and says, "Where were you when I plucked Leviathan out with a fishhook?"

You can be completely convinced of something and the majority think you're crazy or evil... and of course you may be. Those who are wrongly convinced or paranoid or schizophrenic may be completely convinced that they are seeing the rest of the world as it is. At the same time, the average intelligence of the world is, well, average. So it is likely in many circumstances that as far as the truth is concerned, "narrow is the way and few there be who find it."

It is immensely frustrating that God doesn't show up to say, "And the winner is..." We are left to how convinced we remain after an argument and, perhaps more importantly, when you count up all the people standing by, who do they think is right. We've all voted for the person who lost the election. So we all probably agree that the majority isn't always right.

Even at the Society of Biblical Literature, where people of the highest biblical knowledge are debating, I often hear papers that I think are complete and utter nonsense. What world are they from? Having a large church means nothing as far as the truth is concerned. Crowds flock to rock concerts and all sorts of things, including Hitler rallies.

So why argue? There's no point in arguing unless it leads to some positive consequence. "You can't win an argument," so if the person you are arguing with is the only person involved and you're not going to have any effect on him or her, then just walk away.

Sometimes you can have a good effect on the people listening to the debate. That's a reason to push back. Rarely does putting people in their place work and, perhaps more often, it backfires.

Basically, don't argue because you think you're right. As logical as you might think you are, that's illogical. Argue if you think you might actually change something for the better. If not, just walk away.


Susan Moore said...

Brilliant advice.
That’s what I try to follow: the greatest good for the greatest number. It’s all about relationships, nothing else matters. And some of our relationships are for the length of infinity.
Proclaiming Him as one whom He has miraculously healed, my greatest concern is that, in general, Christians cannot discern the difference between the voice of their Good Shepherd and the voice of someone who is mentally ill or demon possessed or a thief or a wolf in sheep clothing. And some of those Christians are church leaders. In support of the idea that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, all humans are in grave danger until that discernment is gained by His Church. Like the wall around Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s day, the protective shield of faith of His Church must be rebuilt in ours. Unfortunately, or so it may seem, to rebuild the wall one must first remove the rubble.
“They asked Him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’
Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent” (John 6:28-29, Col. 1:15-23).
Some people will do this work with me, some will work against me, but regardless, I have zero doubt that His will will be done. No one can trump God; where there is lightning, thunder will follow.

Susan Moore said...

Dr. Schenck,
I started to write a book, "Do You Think Ax Heads Can Float?"
It's on spiritual defense mechanisms. I'll email it to you when I am done. Perhaps us two morons can figure this out together.
P.S. Straight up, no footnotes.

vanilla said...

"A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

Susan Moore said...

I hate feeling inadequate.

Ken Schenck said...

Susan, I look forward to your book...

Susan Moore said...

Thanks! I feel better. :-)
I've learned there is no concordance for the Catholic Bible, for those 7 books. Apparently that's why there is such a push for me to learn Hebrew, because I need those words to complete the linguistic language map.
And, it seems, in that process the book on spiritual defense mechanisms will have the information it needs to be completed.
So, it may be a while, but as long as the Lord gives me breath, I will cooperate with Him and walk humbly with Him.
I have to remember to hold tight to His hand and look only straight ahead, and not let go and back. I can still be an impulsive mess. It's hard.

Susan Moore said...

Remember, I'm only five years old!!! :-D
(On the other hand, some things are worth looking back on...)

Susan Moore said...

Some of my friends tell me I’m the adulterous woman at the well, who fell in love with Jesus and brought her whole town to Him.
Some of my friends tell me I’m Abigail, who was willing to sacrifice her life to save the life of her people. She repented and threw herself at the feet of her lord and begged for his mercy on them.
And some of my friends tell me I’m Moses who had trouble speaking but agreed to do the impossible with God.
But I listen to them and don’t know who they are talking to. Because every time I look in the mirror, I just see “stupid Susan”.
Can God really make ax heads float?

Angie Van De Merwe said...

So true, Ken!
I had a disucssion with Nate about this very subject when he was home this week-end. He said he didn't like to argue but he did like to debate. I asked him to tell me the difference. He said a debate is when people are listening to each other and can be open-minded, while those who only want to argue aren't open to anyone's else's opinion. They are dogmatic. Guess those that are concerned about orthodoxy would be dogmatic. Those that are free-thinking are open to debate.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

But, then, those that are convinced whether through their religious conviction, or scientific facts will not be persuaded. An acknowledged Intellectual bias about religious or scientific ideas does not leave room to debate.

Jonathan Petersen said...

I’m writing to invite you to join the new Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG²). If you'd like details, please email me. Thanks.

Susan Moore said...

Can’t sleep. Can’t breathe. Apparently there is a direct correlation between having the breath knocked out of one spiritually and having the breath knocked out of one physically. I now have a respiratory tract infection.
So I’m looking for medicine and found some; on line I found a The Septuagint with Apocrypha in Greek and English, and a concordance for that. That will buy me some good time, it seems, while I learn the original languages.
Also, I found “Orthodox and Wesleyan Scriptural Understanding and Practice”, which are essays from the “second consultation on Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality.” Hmm. Sounds like a ‘must have.’ Can’t wait for next payday!
I also learned the Orthodox Church recommends the KJV or the NKJV, plus the above Septuagint.
If I use a concordance that is not taken from the original language, such as the RSV concordance, then I might as well give any word any meaning I want, because that is exactly what Bible translators have done and are doing.
Changing the trajectory of the purpose of the Word by any degree, causes one to miss the landing completely. That is why there is fragmentation and not unity in His one Church -that is what mapping out the linguistic meta-language will prove.
Feeling better already!

Ken Schenck said...