Monday, March 26, 2007

Weekly Tour: 3/26/07

As I cruised some favorite places on my first day off - what did I find interesting:

  • At Evangelical Outpost is "Thirty-three Things (v.4)" with these individual items that caught my eye:

    • "Why and How to Debate Charitably"
      … when things really break down, it’s when the respondent sees possible implications and assigns them too-high probabilities and then fails to give the speaker the benefit of the doubt when they disclaim those assertions. Often, it’s because the respondent is unaware that the implied assertion is not actually explicit in the speaker’s words. The respondent is so ideologically separated from the speaker, and often unfamiliar with (or, worse, dismissive of) of the subtleties and variations of different positions similar to the speaker’s that they’re not familiar with, that they’ll obstinately group the speaker’s explicit positions with a wide array of other positions perceived to be similar, but that the speaker never explicitly stated (or even implied with a probability higher than 60%). And when this happens, communication becomes much more difficult.
      A very big - and personality experienced - "Yep". His rules:

      1. The Golden rule. He says this is the central rule that sums up the rest:
        Treat the person’s position as if it were your own. First, make sure you understand the argument. Then go about trying to see how you would disprove it to yourself. Then, walk step by step with the person through your rebuttal, and see where the arguments you use against their position fail to have the same effect on them (and why). Charity is about empathy
        That is a great process.

      2. You cannot read minds.
      3. People are not evil.
      4. Debates are not for winning.
      5. You make mistakes.
      6. Not everyone cares as much as you.
      7. Engaging is hard work.
      8. Differences can be subtle.
      9. Give up quietly.

    • A must read for parents: "How to Raise a Pharisee"

    • Tired of the partisanship of the early 21st century? Family-friendly? Look into the family-friendly agenda of the radical middle, with folks from the Left (Matthew Miller, Michael Lind, Phillip Longman) and the Right (Ross Douthat, Ramesh Ponnuru, David Brooks) finding common ground.
    • A nice interview with N.T. Wright: "Mere Mission":
      CT: One of Lewis's classic maneuvers is this: Jesus said he was God, and you either believe that or that he was a madman on the level of someone who thinks he is a poached egg. It's a powerful argument that has had a strong effect on a lot of people, but modern source criticism of the Bible has undermined the idea that Jesus claimed to be God.

      Wright: My major work has been designed to refute the wilder claims made by some so-called historical critical scholarship. Because now we see only too clearly that the whole historical critical movement was not, as it tried to claim, a neutral, objective, scientific account of the Gospels. It had its own agendas that were heavily driven by the philosophy of the Enlightenment. The movement really started out with the assumption that if there is a God, this God does not intervene in human affairs. In other words, the Enlightenment has already settled Lewis's question one way. It has decided that any Jesus who said John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," would be completely out of his skull. Therefore, Jesus couldn't have said it, because we know he was a good man and we want to follow him for other reasons. It becomes a circular argument. Lewis breaks into the circle by simply ignoring the critical possibility.
    • Please read "Conscience, Calling, and the Christian Conservative Agenda". Incidentally, while I agree with almost all of the article - and especially it's core message about calling - this I do not agree with (re: gay marriage)
      Additionally, if we fail in our efforts to preserve marriage, society will unravel.
      Now, I am assuming that the author believes that opposing gay marriage is necessary to preserve non-gay marriage. If so, I think that this is wrong. What will preserve marriage (and keep society from unraveling) is for men and women to submit to God in their marriages: let's worry about adultery and pornography (which is adultery), selfishness, and rejection of biblical teaching on how husbands and wives should treat each other as a starting point. Whether one part of 10% (max) of the population marries another part of that 10% is not nearly as important as the 50% of married Christian men who struggle with pornography - an issue that not nearly enough of our churches are providing support for and healing from.

  • Mohammed at Iraq the Model makes a case for Iraq being "The Real Front in the War on Terror"
    I wanted to talk about this because recently we've been watching the debate in America about redeployment of troops and identifying the real front we must focus on. I see that al-Qaeda and terrorists in general didn't hide their position in this respect—despite the fact that they still operate in many parts of the world, they are clearly redirecting most effort and resources to the war in Iraq. The war here has a lot that to do with drawing the future prospects of spreading religious extremism and this in turn is connected to the agendas of countries that have mutual goals with al-Qaeda in spite of the difference in ideology. This collaboration is complex but it clearly shows the priorities of the terrorists and rogue regimes and in turn suggests what our strategic priorities should be … Al-Qaeda and its supporters are using most of the capabilities of their propaganda machine to cover their effort in Iraq, and so is the case with financial resources. All evidences indicate that most of the money is used to support the terror activity in Iraq … But why Iraq became the main front?
    Go and read on

  • Jeremy Pierce is discussing the (philosophical) issues of "Freedom and Determinism: Possible Views" - the 40th post in his "Theories of Knowledge and Reality Series"

  • WorldMagBlog:

    • points out the discussion of John Edwards staying in the Presidential race despite the return of his wife's incurable cancer. I am not so much interested from a politics standpoint: read this interview, and tell me what you think. Myself: if Elizabeth Edwards believes that this is an important way for her to spend what may be the last of her life and believes her husband should run - I have no problem. My regret is that this decision is going to become political fodder on both sides of the campaign.

    • I have a brother in Christ in this position; but luckily he isn't "Struggling Alone":
      Is there any student more alienated or marginalized on campus than one who experiences same-sex attractions but who doesn’t embrace them? Silence is forced upon him, and his entire life experience is discounted: He suffers same-sex attractions, he doesn’t want to, and he seeks to be made whole again. This doesn’t seem so extreme a narrative, and yet there are very few, if any, campus groups devoted to supporting these students.

      While listening to Chris, I grew angrier and angrier about our troubled culture, the sexual chaos our parents’ generation bequeathed us, the lack of support the Church provides, and the hostile environment the university maintains. Gradually, however, my anger gave way to sadness. A sadness that Chris struggles almost alone. A sadness that others like him have no one to turn to. A sadness that universities deliberately reject chaste students with same-sex attractions. In the end, though, I found myself feeling grateful. Grateful for knowing Chris. Grateful for the chance to see him carry a cross he did not choose. Offering up his daily struggles, he strives for holiness, refuses surrender, and resists temptations. He labors to remedy the unwanted causes and side effects of attractions he never desired, aware all the while that a cure isn’t certain, that in this fallen world some disorders may always be with us.

      I am witnessing my friend’s unique path to holiness: a remarkable instance of grace working through a broken earthly vessel, making all things new, and leading to fullness of life. I think how blessed I am that I’ve been fortunate enough to witness it and find inspiration for my life in his struggles. How sad, though, that the rest of the world will never know.
      I am not going to get into the "nuture vs nature" debate here; but there are folks who have same-sex attractions who honestly and deeply do not want them (think Ted Haggard as well). It seems that they are often caught between a condemning church (for having the attraction) and a large chunk of society condemning them for not just going with the attractions

    • "Free speech" (or not!) on campuses:
      Much campus censorship rests on philosophical underpinnings that go back to social theorist Herbert Marcuse, a hero to sixties radicals. Marcuse argued that traditional tolerance is repressive—it wards off reform by making the status quo...well, tolerable. Marcuse favored intolerance of established and conservative views, with tolerance offered only to the opinions of the oppressed, radicals, subversives, and other outsiders. Indoctrination of students and “deeply pervasive” censorship of others would be necessary, starting on the campuses and fanning out from there.
      Whether this view is that philosophically organized, or can be traced to Marcuse, I cannot affirm or deny - but that there is intolerance among those that consider themselves "progressive" to "established and conservative views" is undoubted by me.

1 comment:

  1. You have some good works and site listed here. How to Raise A Pharisee? Now that is a new one of me.

    Thanks for an interesting read.


How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly