Opinions on faith and life

The Games Skeptics Play

2006-03-01

This link is a must-read, not only for creation/evo debates, but those with skeptics of all stripes. Here’s a sample.

If it is done skillfully, intellectual intimidation and ridicule can generate an uneven psychological playing field. Politeness can be mistaken for submissiveness when it takes place in an atmosphere of subtle (or not so subtle!) condescension and this can then have the effect of making another’s argument APPEAR weak, not that it actually is. I created this illusion by taking advantage of the stigma of hypocrisy that Christians try to avoid. Not many Christians were willing to stoop as low as me, but when they did, I quickly lost the psychological edge. When both participants do an equally good job of discrediting the thinking of the other, the audience is forced to examine the argument itself. In light of this, I ask Christians to not be too critical of their brothers or sisters who adopt the ’tit for tat’ method of debate. It could very well be that they are not speaking out from mean-spiritedness, but from recognizing the need of an even playing field. Proverbs 26:4-5 states, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” Sometimes, an arrogant fool needs to be ridiculed and belittled in order to see how ridiculous and obnoxious he is. Of course, when my opponent would do this, I would jump all over them for being a poor representation of Jesus and I was overjoyed when his own flock would do the same!
How painfully true it is! I’ve been the recipient of “friendly fire” many, many times for this very reason. Anyone who has debated, or is considering getting started, should read this first.