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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Bad Arguments

I read an article by Dr. Mohler over on CNN's Belief Blog the other day. He was giving his take on the whole Chick-Fil-A controversy. (He sees religious liberty under threat.) What struck me most was not his take on the brouhaha, but the comments that accompanied it. Last I checked there were 39 pages of comments ... more than I really had time to peruse. But I got the flavor of it.

There were some who were clearly in agreement with Dr. Mohler. Most were not. There were some that the Internet lingo refers to as "trolls", people who show up to give intentionally inflammatory comments for maximum disruption or argument. In this context, then, there would be a host of anti-God trolls floating about, ready to ambush repeatedly anyone who suggested that there was a God, let alone that Christianity might be true or that the Bible could be useful. Setting aside the "pro" folks and the trolls, the large number of protesting commenters was disturbing. No, not for their numbers. For their arguments. And I refer to the comments on this particular article not because of this particular circumstance or article, but because it so typical of the basic approach.

So here were some of the basic arguments used in the debate. "Marriage is a civil right." Really? Then why does the government have the right to deny it? (I'm not talking about denying it to "same-sex" people, but denying it to whomever they decide shouldn't be allowed to marry.)

"Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, 'abomination', the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman." No it isn't. "Unclean" is the word used to describe menstruating women, and "unclean" means "not clean" while "abomination" means something abominable. Not the same. (Further, there are things listed as "abomination to you" and things listed as "abomination to God", and those are not the same at all.) If you're going to try to use Scripture, use it correctly.

"There are few biblical references to homosexuality." Actually, there are far more explicit references and other implicit references than you might realize. It is so clear, in fact, that the use of the phrase "biblical definition of marriage" and "traditional family" is enough to incite an accusation of "anti-gay". The standard method of refuting the "sinfulness of homosexual behavior" is not "It's not in the Bible" but "We don't care what the Bible says" either explicitly or by deeming a particular topic no longer relevant. No, it's quite clear what the Bible thinks about the behavior.

"If you actually bother to read the Bible, you'll see that there a lot more definitions of marriage than just one man and one women." No, not true. There are marriage practices that included one man marrying one woman and then marrying another woman and then another woman (ad infinitum), but it was always "one man marrying one woman" that constituted marriage. None of the women were married or even related to each other. Marriage practices, the things that go on within the context of marriage, have varied widely over time -- how you get there, what you do when you're there, etc. But the definition has never changed.

"Christians need someone to hate on to prove they love their God. Time for the Lions to be fed again I think." It is a widely held view that Christianity and hate are irrevocably interlinked. It is taken as de facto. "Everyone knows it. Christians killed the Muslims in the Crusades. Christians burned witches in Salem. Christianity is a major killing religion. They're worse than the Muslims to be sure. As dangerous as they are, Christianity ought to be abolished and Christians killed." Sure, sure, rarely does anyone come to that final conclusion (althought the quote at the beginning of this paragraph is a quote, not a fantasy), but the basic "facts" are assumed. The necessity for assuming these "facts" is based on the reality that they're not facts. In the Crusades, Christians went to the defense of Christians being attacked by Muslims. No witches were burned in the Salem witch trials. And whatever you do, if you want to maintain the "evil of Christianity" position, do not compare the numbers of people killed "in the name of Christ" versus the number of people killed by explicit atheists. The contrast is staggering. (Beyond that, be sure to ignore the large numbers of charities, hospitals, shelters, and such by Christians.) Over against this "Christians need to hate" concept, the messages of Christ (you know, the leader of "Christianity") are things like "Love your neighbor", "They will know you are My disciples by your love for one another", and "turn the other cheek." When people claim to do things in the name of Christ and do things that violate Christ's words, it cannot be deemed "Christian".

This is a short list. There are many more. "Gays are born that way." "Gay marriage is the equivalent of interracial marriage." "Standing for traditional marriage is hate." "Christians don't know how to think." And so it goes. So I gave some concrete examples. They are direct quotes from the discussion on the article I referenced, but they are so very common. And because they are stated as fact, they are assumed to be fact. "It's on the Internet, so it must be true." No one bothers to fact check. No one bothers to point out the lies. No one bothers to admit the lies. "I read it on the Internet" is sufficient to make it "a factual argument". That it has all been plainly and clearly refuted is irrelevant. "You Christians are irrational; we are the rational ones." Better stated, "Don't bother me with facts; I know I'm right."

1 comment:

David said...

At least Jesus is reliable. We were told we would be hated just for bearing His name, and it is playing out before us.