Opinions on faith and life

Double Standard

2009-04-28

Here we go again. This is really getting old, but apparently the message just isn’t getting through. I’m referring to people’s amazing ability to lambast others for the faults they themselves have. While this is a problem across time and culture, being a Christian I naturally see more of it among my own people. But be warned: this is a personal vent; I’m human too after all. Don’t like it? Don’t read it. (Yeah, I’m ticked off right now... can you tell?) But I must point out that I have not named anyone. If you recognize yourself, there is still hope. ;-)

For example, I know of someone who has complained loud and long about other believers ganging up on them and hurting them, but look at what this same person wrote recently:

You are going to scare some of the tradition strait laced, baptist fundamentalist types around here... People who assume mother theresa is sizzling away in HELL are the ones I have in mind when I say “traditional strait laced, baptist fundamentalist type”... I don’t think traditional strait laced, baptist fundamentalist types have a corner on truth... I expect most of this gang of logic experts and mysticism/prophecy skeptics would consider yourselves insulted...
That’s a lot of mocking and labeling! Yet some people can get away with this. And it happens every day, in every message board I’ve seen. And I will be mocked, labeled, and condemned all the more for even saying this.

It’s a two-way street, like it or not. If you dish out stuff like this, don’t whine when it’s your turn to eat it. If it’s wrong for others to mock and label and judge entire groups of people with a broad brush, then it’s wrong for you too. No, what others do is no different from what you do; this is nothing short of hypocrisy. Or would you actually accept this from me?

You are going to scare some of the spiritual, enlightened, charismatic, mystical types around here... People who assume that you can find God through meditation are the ones I have in mind when I say “spiritual, enlightened, charismatic, mystical types”... I don’t think spiritual, enlightened, charismatic, mystical types have a corner on truth... I expect most of this gang of spiritual experts and logic/scripture skeptics would consider yourselves insulted...
No, you wouldn’t. You think somehow it’s “different” when you do it.

Which is why I’ve given up on message boards on anything that really matters. Christians today cannot tolerate confrontation, they will not tolerate being questioned, and they refuse to tolerate being held to account to the same degree they demand of others. Any off-the-wall twist of scripture is fine with them... which makes me wonder why they bother with scripture at all. I’m done with those people.

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6 Comments

Lin

I don’t know about you but I would rather folks just name names and deal with it like adults. The problem I have with quotes like your example above is that it actually produces more gossip and plants seeds of poison. It is evil. I have seen this sort of vague but nasty diatribe before and those that do it think it is somehow better than just being upfront about who they disagree with and why?

You and I have some serious doctrinal differences but we hash them out and then go on with life. Isn’t that what sisters in Christ, do? My goodness, your position on one issue led me to buy a certain book you suggested and read it. Iron sharpens iron. I may not change my views but I am better because of our disagreement.

Paula Fether

Yes, the way the two of us get along is a good example of how adults, especially Christians, are supposed to handle disagreement. We argue issues and concepts face to face, instead of going around whispering about each other in other venues. And we always remember what unites us, and it’s a solid anchor instead of the shifting sand of the latest movement or pop spirituality. But of course that anchor has two tips: doctrine and love. If we love as Jesus taught us, we don’t try to silence or control each other.

I truly value your friendship sis! And it’s a great blessing to know I’ve been able to help you in some way.

TL

"I’m referring to people’s amazing ability to lambast others for the faults they themselves have.I’m referring to people’s amazing ability to lambast others for the faults they themselves have."

The vague diatribes are bad because the people who read them don’t know if they are or aren’t being addressed. So you’ve got bunches of people thinking wrongly they are being bad mouthed. However, being direct and naming people is just slanderous attacks, so that isn’t any better either. IMO it’s better for people to speak directly to people they are ticked with, or keep it on their own blog. Public naming of others just starts fights. And I’ve enough things in my own life to deal with than to have to be a referee for internet fights.

But I also do not like to see my friends bad mouthed and have little patience for it.

Paula Fether

Unless we’re dealing with a public figure such as some of the Christian celebrities I’ve named as a warning about false teachers, in our own blogs we do have to remember that what we write about named individuals could be considered libel. But in an online community (board or blog), where people know each other, it becomes gossip to make veiled disparaging remarks against others in the group. And I agree that it would be ideal for people to first contact privately anyone they are upset with.

But my point in this post was that, whether the alleged offender is named or not, it is wrong to flame them for actions that we ourselves commit. My example above was intended to show that if all we do is turn the same attack around by changing the names, the original sender would be quite offended by their own words.

It would be funny if it weren’t so damaging, but I’ve seen many, many cases where a person used negativity and judgmentalism in their rebuke of someone else for using negativity and judgmentalism! They say it’s wrong to judge but are judging when they say so; they say it’s wrong to confront but don’t hesitate to confront the alleged confronters. In other words, it’s a double standard that says "I’m allowed to confront and judge you, but you’re not allowed to confront or judge me."

Lin

"However, being direct and naming people is just slanderous attacks, so that isn’t any better either. IMO it’s better for people to speak directly to people they are ticked with, or keep it on their own blog."

I was thinking along the lines of doctrinal differences on public forums. Instead of saying there are a bunch of stiff necked people here who say such and such....

....it would more appropriate to say, TL, I disagree with you on this doctrinal issue because....

So, in this way, I am not attacking you but disagreeing with you and we can have a discussion about it.

The point I am making is that these are public discussions on doctrine. To go to a person I disagree with privately defeats the purpose of a public discourse on doctrine. :o)

Paula Fether

Yes, that’s the "holy grail" of public discussion: getting people to separate the person from the argument. But I’ve never yet seen any board or blog pull this off. They try instead to forbid all disagreement, much the way the world defines "tolerance"; it really tolerates nothing at all, and individuals are forbidden to be who they are.