I Could Be Wrong (But I Don’t Think I Am)

[bonus points if you recognize the artist from which I stole the title]

“No man ought to write at all, or even to speak at all, unless he thinks that he is in truth and the other man in error.” [and] “But if there be such a thing as mental growth, it must mean the growth into more and more definite convictions, into more and more dogmas. The human brain is a machine for coming to conclusions; if it cannot come to conclusions it is rusty. Trees have no dogmas. Turnips are singularly broad-minded.” — G.K. Chesterton

The bulk of irrational haters who disagree with me tend to say things like “How can you be so arrogant as to think that you’re right and everyone else is wrong?”  The simple answer is: it seems natural to me to argue in favor of things I think are correct, and against things I think are wrong.  I don’t claim to speak for anyone else, but I would feel sort of stupid arguing in favor of things I thought were wrong.

Those who have drunk deeply from the wells of certain strands of post-modernism, however, seem to think it is an intellectual virtue never to come to any firm conclusions (except, of course, that those with firm conclusions can’t possibly be right).  They then attack the “arrogance” of those who, crazily!, argue on behalf of what they have come to believe is correct.

Another favorite technique of the haters is to claim that, while they are still on their “journeys,” embracing “doubt,” those who hold passionately to their convictions must have been indoctrinated from birth with those convictions, rather than come by them honestly.  It seems incredible to them that people might actually have thought about something enough to form a reasoned opinion on any given subject, especially religion.   Then, instead of arguing the point at hand, they resort to name-calling and purely ad hominem attacks, along with four-letter words such as “Pharisee,” “self-righteous,” “hypocritical,” “judgmental.”  It’s as if no one learns critical thinking anymore; the proof is in how few people can manage to get out a coherent sentence, complete with correctly spelled words and proper grammar, without falling back on smoke and mirrors.

The point is this: get over your sensitivity to people with whom you disagree and actually contribute to the argument.  Don’t try to figure out someone’s motivation, unless they explicitly state it, and simply respond calmly and intelligently.  Also, you might question, prior to hitting ‘submit,’ whether you’re reading something into a comment that is not there.  Really, it’s not that hard.


On Venting and Speaking Polemically

Okay, okay.  So people don’t like what I say or the way I say it.  Specifically, with regard to David Bazan.  (How many times do I have to say that I like his music, have nearly everything he’s put out, and have not stopped listening to him since he said the word ‘fuck’?)  I rarely have comments on anything; but dare to say something negative about someone’s idol, and watch the comments roll in.

I write things as strongly as I feel I can.  That’s a problem sometimes.  But it means that when people read what I write, they think they’ve got me figured out.  For what it’s worth, I’m not a Fundamentalist; I’m not a legalist; I’m not a Pharisee (most of the time); and I’m not part of the Christian, commercialistic ghetto (really, Stephy, I think this blog is funny.  Do those shirts that change secular slogans to Christian clichés bother anyone else?).

I can be brought to my knees by the slicing accusation of the Law, and perhaps that was necessary with some of the things I said about Bazan, or at least the way they were perceived.  I was really only trying to say two things: no one can be objective (ever) and parents have a God-given responsibility to their children.  That’s it.  If I obscured my points with polemic, I apologize.  If I misread Bazan, I apologize.  It was a printed interview, and as blogs and e-mails prove, these mediums cannot be used without misunderstanding and misinterpretation.

I started blogging because things pissed me off.  And my wife didn’t want to hear it.  So here it is, for anyone to read.  But I try to justify my polemic with reason and argument (that word has a positive connotation for me).  That’s where the discussion should be, not on who can think of the most creative (or uncreative) names to call someone.

So, for what it’s worth, maybe don’t assume you know someone from a few words on a computer screen; and I’ll try to do the same.


Slap Down Some of That Spiritual Veneer

There.  Doesn’t that make it look better?  At least he’ll only “bless” the aborted fetus; “baptisms” are only for still-born fetuses.  (Or is that feti?)

I’d like to rip off that collar and slap him in the face with it.  (Only in my mind, of course.  I’m personally opposed to violence against abortuary chaplains; but who am I to keep others from exercising their right to choose collar-violence?)