[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.