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The Socratic Club A club that Lewis founded at Oxford. A forum devoted to general philosophical and spiritual discussion

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  #1  
Old 04-19-2008, 12:55 PM
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There is a big difference between saying "This idea is wrong," and saying "You are a bad person just by the fact of having such an idea." Now, some ideas ARE so inherently evil that to approve of them IS to have a very grave moral fault; but we should not be quick to apply this label. Allow me to give an example of arguing WITHOUT malice.

I do not believe in the "Pre-Tribulation Rapture." Suppose I am arguing with a friend who does believe in it. I could choose to put the worst possible interpretation on his doctrine, saying, "You're just a self-deceiving coward; you want to believe that you will be specially exempted from the violent persecutions that past generations of believers have had to face." Or I could give him all possible benefit of the doubt; I could assume that he does have the courage to face persecution if this were necessary, but that he just happens to find the dispensationalist arguments convincing. I can still say he is mistaken, but I don't have to say that he has a sinful MOTIVATION for what he believes.
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Old 04-19-2008, 05:51 PM
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I think that respect is needed to the opinion of the others; if a discussion is start too aggressively, it only strengthens the conviction of the opponent. It can only be very insulting and it can effectively end an argument even before it began. For example Seventh Day Adventists, or people, who claimed that they are such, published a newspaper in Bulgaria, full with very ugly words against the Pope. My father is a Catholic and I, despite being an Orthodox, feel only respect and love to the Pope. This words appalled and disgusted me; they sounded foolish, disrespectful and demonic to me, so I threw the newspaper in the trash.
So this ended a possible contact with their people.
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:37 AM
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Respect and the ability to see why people have a different opinion than you are the most important in any discussion. Take someone's cultural, political, religious and general background into account when discussing... and chances are you will understand much better why someone believes what they believe. It doesn't mean you have to agree with them. Just listen to them, ask them questions and tell them your point of view.
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Old 04-20-2008, 10:39 AM
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In other words, you guys prefer a parliamentary debate to an arguement. In my biology lab last semester, we were supposed to debate information off of a movie, this debate turned into an ad-hominen slug fest. If it hadn't the side I was on could have won, not because what we were arguing was necessarily more true but rather because we had strategy.

I have found that beligerence just turns people off. I know that I stop listening or go on the defensive when someone starts attacking my faith. I have also been known to get up and leave.
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Old 04-21-2008, 06:13 PM
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Friends, you and I can see that respectful dialog is necessary in order to have a successful dialog.

On issues that touch the very core of our belief, however, it is necessary to deal in very harsh truths. When it is an either/or question, if we are to be true to our faith (or principles if you will), we must have the courage to say to the other:

"You are wrong."

The problem comes when people feel that they have been disrespected when someone tells them they are wrong. This is why, in the Socratic Club and Narnia and Christianity Forums, when we enter into the debate, we lay down our right to be offended merely by a discussion of the topic or refutation of our views.

We understand, going into the debate, that someone does not agree with us and someone may:

* Say we are wrong.
* Demand our sources.
* Question our logic.
* Put forth sound logic which makes ours look weak.

When these things happen, we have to remember, we agreed going into the debate that they could happen, and instead of getting offended that someone would question us, we have to garner our intellect, logic, Scripture, references, whatever it takes to show that we understand our viewpoint and can defend it.

If we cannot defend it, the easiest thing to do (and so avoid losing face) is to cry, "Foul! You have offended me!" But this reveals that our argument is basically unsound, if all we can do is whine that the other person is being spiteful.

Are we children? Are we so afraid of sticks and stones that we feel entitled to burst into tears because someone else says our logic is bad, our argument is stupid, our Scriptures don't pertain, our opinion is without foundation? If those things are untrue, then prove it -- if they are true, then re-think your position.

It distresses me when someone advances an opinion that is patently absurd, then when anyone challenges it, they claim that person is being rude or disrespectful. Please.
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Old 04-21-2008, 07:36 PM
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This cowardly defense mechanism, unfortunately, has permeated the U.S. federal government. If you're a government employee, or a military servicemember working in a mixed workplace with government civilians, you never know when some thin-skinned person, choosing to feel offended at your statements in a perfectly fair and two-sided argument, will sneak behnd your back to the Equal Opportunity Office and accuse you of "creating a hostile atmosphere"--AND BE BELIEVED AUTOMATICALLY, with you never getting a chance to defend yourself.
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Old 04-22-2008, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solya View Post
Respect and the ability to see why people have a different opinion than you are the most important in any discussion. Take someone's cultural, political, religious and general background into account when discussing... and chances are you will understand much better why someone believes what they believe. It doesn't mean you have to agree with them. Just listen to them, ask them questions and tell them your point of view.
Yes, it takes a good debator to be able to argue their side well; however, a true debator can successfully argue for both his and his opponents side on a subject. If you have a better understanding of how your opponent views it, then you have a better chance of debating it in a way that will make them understand your point, and maybe even side with you.

I love debating, but most of the time people's idea of debating is: "I'm right, you're wrong" withy a million and one personal insults added to it.
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:08 PM
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Let's call it Socratic-style discussion rather than argument...it just sounds so much more refined . My old pastor has a saying that I've taken to heart:

In the essentials, unity, in the non-essentials, liberty, in all things, charity.

Of course, in a society that doesn't believe in absolute truth, it's hard to argue with, "well, that's what you believe, but I believe differently." We should be willing to allow even our most deeply held convictions to be exposed to the light of reason. Since there will always be a gap between what we believe and what we can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt (insert "faith" here), then what we believe should make the most sense rationally. How can we determine that unless we hold it up to the best possible counterarguments?
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:33 PM
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What's ironic is that postmodernists, who want everything to be reduced to emotions without logic, think that ignoring truth is a PROTECTION against political tyranny; but it really INVITES political tyranny. People SAY that the Nazis were the way they were because the Nazis held rigid moral-spiritual doctrines...but in reality, THE EXACT OPPOSITE is true. The Nazis had NO moral doctrines, NO principles of any kind except a brutal greed for power. They would change their story as often as it took to gain some immediate advantage for themselves. In other words....they were postmodernists with guns.
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Old 04-24-2008, 04:00 AM
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Inkspot,
you know, I regularly visit meetings organized by a very interesting magazine, "Christianity and Culture". It's editor is a professor, who said that very often the result of arguments is an argument between deaf people. He means that when you say - you are wrong, the other side answers - no, you are wrong, and this is repeated again and again and again. Of course, we should have the right to say no, when we think that the other is wrong. But I think that French people said that it is the tone which makes the music - you can say that politely that we disagree with the other person.
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