Saturday, February 2, 2008

Why It Is Best to Avoid Some Blogs

By the title I mean posting on them, not reading them.
you have misfired on that one.
"Misfire"...the image of weaponry. Of course it doesn't have to be this way, but in this case the use of such an expression really does expose something, I think, of the attitude of the author. Such blogs are not places where conversation or discussion take place; they are battlefields. If you go to such a place and attempt to counter what appears at first to be a poor argument, you will quickly discover that what you are countering is not actually an argument but a broadside, and anything you say will inevitably be understood to be counterfire - no matter what you intend.

On the battlefield, there is no question of "right" or "wrong" - there is only winning or losing, living or dying. This is why - even when "the enemy" is flatly shown to have used lousy arguments, or has been soundly refuted, the humility to admit it is never manifested. No defeat! Never surrender!

But pursuit of the truth is not a military exercise, the "enemy" is another human being created in the image of God and sincerely seeking the truth, and our goal ought to be not victory at any cost, but attainment of the truth. Those who frame things as "battles" (or sometimes even "contests", if they do not have the humility and good grace to accept occasional defeat in one) cannot afford (so it seems to them) to suffer "defeat". One obvious consequence in the present context is that such folks cannot admit error, and consequently wind up looking like arrogant know-it-alls (at least to those who mistakenly view the "battle" as a discussion). Of course, they may not really think that they are (and in reality perhaps they aren't know-it-alls), but the damage is done in terms of how they are perceived.

We ought to avoid commenting at blogs (or other places) where the conversation (if there ever was one) has degenerated into a revolting militarism. We only contribute to the problem, and the likelihood of undoing the damage is small.

The first casualty of real war has been said to be the truth. In blogs and conversations that have degenerated into combat, the first casualty of the "war" is the pursuit of truth. Skip these places: life is too short to be diverted by them from what matters.


Tiber Jumper said...

I here you. Some of the blogs don't really want to discuss. They instead which to post inflammatory and distorted views of their opposition(usually the Catholic Church) in order to "score points".
I am surprised that many don't see the lack of charity this requires even when the commenter goes out of his way to show charity. If one believes that their personal behavior on the internet or in real life has no role in their ultimate gaining of heaven, it eventually manifests itself is such behavior.
I too try not to go to these blogs, but it's like trying not to rub your tongue over a broken tooth or sore spot in your mouth eh?

Reginald de Piperno said...

it's like trying not to rub your tongue over a broken tooth or sore spot in your mouth eh?

Yeah, or like watching a train wreck :-)

If one can stomach it I think it could be useful to watch, and to learn from others' errors, but participating in the train wreck doesn't seem to me to serve much purpose.

Thanks for stopping by,


Reginald de Piperno said...

And here is a case in point about precisely what I mean.

One comboxer in that link is a Catholic whose integrity has been vouched for by a regular Protestant poster at that blog.

He is attempting to "converse" with a poster who ... doesn't. Converse I mean. She just doesn't. Although the Catholic's charitable spirit has been verified by someone who knows him in the real world
, she simply cannot bring herself to treat him with the same courtesy.

Total. Waste. Of. Time.

I respect the Catholic's efforts, and particularly his bearing, but he may as well be talking to a brick wall.

Sad really. :-(