Zoo Station

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The cheap and easy way to argue

Posted by Chance on July 18, 2007

Over in another blog, the issue of homosexuality is being argued, as in, whether or not the Bible actually condemns it. Dan, being the good man that he is, uses a reasoned argument in the negative, although I disagree with him. However, I worry about poor Dan. He probably puts a bit of time and energy into his arguments. Doesn’t he know it would be so much easier if he chalked the conservative Biblical view to homophobia, like another commenter on the blog?

Similarly, in the immigration debate, a few of those who think illegal immigrants should have amnesty or have access to free government services simply cry “racist” to their opponents. They could argue about the costs/benefits associated with deportation, but the former method is so much easier and takes less brainpower.

Of course, the effectiveness of emotional arguments and name calling should be seriously questioned, but sometimes people don’t want to change minds, they just want to get an emotional charge out of their self-righteous ramblings.

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8 Responses to “The cheap and easy way to argue”

  1. jkaiseresquire said

    “Doesn’t he know it would be so much easier if he chalked the conservative Biblical view to homophobia, like another commenter on the blog?”

    No one ever changed an opinion by resorting to that kind of name calling. Although, even well reasoned dialogue rarely changes opinions. Gosh, now I don’t know. 🙂

  2. Neil said

    Agreed.

    Dan is friendly and reasoned (though I disagree with some of his conclusion) and doesn’t resort to silly name calling.

    I was just thinking about this earlier today. I am not perfect at it but I really work to avoid name-calling. Yet some “reasoned” liberal bloggers I’ve seen continually use phrases like “fundie nutjobs” and “those wacky fundies.”

    Ridicule is not an argument.

  3. Anonymous said

    The conservative biblical view is homophobic. It is also sexist, misogynist and racist. Who are you kidding? Talk about delusional.

  4. Dan Trabue said

    Thank you kindly, Chance.

    As to this, though:

    Yet some “reasoned” liberal bloggers I’ve seen continually use phrases like “fundie nutjobs” and “those wacky fundies.”

    While we see it on both “sides,” it has been my experience that I have found it most commonly among the so-called conservatives. But then, that may be because the liberals around me agree with me and the conservatives don’t…

  5. Dan Trabue said

    In defense of the so-called name-callers on the so-called “left,” some of our traditions and systems ARE racist, homophobic and sexist and they aren’t wrong for calling such behaviors out when they see them.

    Just as you wouldn’t be wrong for calling situations racist if they were racist.

    Where it gets trickier and less fair, I’d suggest, is when we start calling individuals those names.

    Anonymous is certainly correct that many traditional teachings of the Bible have been or are homophobic, sexist and/or racist. That doesn’t mean that a particular conservative hates gay people – when I was in that world and opposed to “homosexuality,” I certainly didn’t hate gay folk. I thought I was acting lovingly towards them.

    Nonetheless, I know now that I did act in hurtful, homophobic ways. I was afraid that if we didn’t stop encouraging gay behavior, it might “spread,” and get worse.

    Some random thoughts…

  6. Chance said

    Actually, I haven’t seen too much name-calling, as I tend to frequent blogs where people are pretty respectful. That is why yesterday’s “homophobic” comment was such a surprise, because it was at a so much lower level than I am used to seeing.

    Dan,

    “Anonymous is certainly correct that many traditional teachings of the Bible have been or are homophobic, sexist and/or racist.” When you say “traditional teachings”, are you referring to the teachings of man, or the Bible itself?

    “I certainly didn’t hate gay folk. I thought I was acting lovingly towards them.

    Nonetheless, I know now that I did act in hurtful, homophobic ways. I was afraid that if we didn’t stop encouraging gay behavior, it might “spread,” and get worse.”

    Are you saying this was just your own personal experience, or do you think this is the attitude in general for those who disagree with homosexuality?

    I think the best thing to do is treat a gay person like you would any other person. When I was in college/high school (everyone I know is married now), I knew many who had premarital sex, but I wasn’t trying to convert them to married-sex only behavior. All I can try to do is show Christ to people and let God work on any behaviors he finds displeasing.

  7. Dan Trabue said

    I know there were times (back in the day when I was more conservative and STRONGLY opposed to homosexuality) when I was around gay folk – although I didn’t know it at the time – and where I would talk about “loving the sinner but hating the sin,” and would talk about homosexuality and says something like, “man, when I think about it even a little bit, it makes me sick!” and then I’d do a nauseous little shudder.

    Now, substitute “gay” with “liar” or “greedy” and replay that sentence, “Man, when I think about those greedy dudes, it makes me sick!”

    Now, I had nothing but love and compassion in my heart for gay folk, but that sort of language comes across as hateful, condescending and derogatory. And I was in many conversations that were that way. It was the norm in my religious circles.

    To the credit of the conservatives I hung with, I don’t believe I was EVER in any conversations that were more strong, “Man, God hates those queerducks! We need to string ’em up.” – not that sort of hatred. But I was more involved in the type of personal revulsion displayed towards those whom we should love which I would now define as homophobic and that contributed to the more hateful sort of comments, seems to me.

  8. Dan Trabue said

    “do you think this is the attitude in general for those who disagree with homosexuality?”

    I’d suggest the kind of thinking that suggests we need to be careful about homosexual so that it doesn’t spread (which is ridiculous) is pretty common, too, in addition to the hurtful way I’d talk about gays.

    Do you think so?

    For instance, how often do we hear about keeping greedy people from being school teachers or liars from being Scout leaders? How often do we hear, “Man, the only reason those liars want to get in to scouting is so that they can recruit those young kids into lying!”?

    You get my point?

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