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The Nature of Christian Debate

greekischristian

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welkodox said:
This isn't a discussion anymore and the profanity, vulgarisms and personal remarks speak for themselves.
Ah, but that's when it gets fun, that's when you truly have the upper hand and can toy with your opponent like a cat with a mouse. ;D
 

ozgeorge

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greekischristian said:
Ah, but that's when it gets fun, that's when you truly have the upper hand and can toy with your opponent like a cat with a mouse. ;D
But if a Christian debates like that, then his victory is indeed a Phyrric one.
A Christian who abuses his opponent in debate the way a cat abuses the mouse it's caught may as well throw in the towel. They've lost.
I'm glad to see welkodox did not follow this track.
A Christian who wins a debate while maintaining Christian charity has won a double victory.
Don't rob welkodox of his victory now.
 

greekischristian

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ozgeorge said:
But if a Christian debates like that, then his victory is indeed a Phyrric one.
A Christian who abuses his opponent in debate the way a cat abuses the mouse it's caught may as well throw in the towel. They've lost.
I'm glad to see welkodox did not follow this track.
A Christian who wins a debate while maintaining Christian charity has won a double victory.
Don't rob welkodox of his victory now.
A double victory? Now arn't we getting greedy. I was always happy with just one ;)
 

serb1389

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I think that humility has to enter at one point.

Unfortunately GiC is not going to have any of that  ;) ;D

If George had a problem with my obviously to the point, point, then I would step down to AT LEAST hear his point. 

Some people have the tendancy to listen to certain phrases or words which VALIDATE their position.  This is not objective.  Unless it is a part of systematic debate that I am unaware of. 

I am just pokin fun.  But in the end this is why completely free forums were created.  IE poletics and OO and EO discussion.  So we can all be very blunt with each other.  If we are respectful and courageous enough. 


eh...just a thought...
 

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ozgeorge said:
What happens when two people both think they are telling the truth, yet contradict one another?
disagreement
 

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Greek,

In all seriousness, do you consider yourself to be a devout Orthodox or more of a Greek cultural enthusiast??
 

greekischristian

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Orthodox Bagpiper said:
Greek,

In all seriousness, do you consider yourself to be a devout Orthodox or more of a Greek cultural enthusiast??
Devout? No, not at all. As for being a 'Greek cultural enthusiast', to a degree, I mean I am quite fond of the classical Greeks, their philosophy, their thought. As for later Greek culture, I like it, but I could live without it; in this case what I generally advocate isn't so much Greek culture as the supremacy of Constantinople. Look at history, the Church started falling apart only during the last days of the Empire, if the Church is to survive in any meaningful manner it needs unity under Constantinople...whether or not the Church should survive in a meaningful manner is another discussion entirely.

In the end I'm primarily a cynic.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Some principles I try to follow in my debates:


  • 1.  Do not allow yourself to be easily offended.
    2.  Desire to know the truth above all else.
    3.  Collect a broad base of information.  Study the issue from a wide variety of different angles.
    4.  State your points with confidence, commitment, and honesty, yet...
    5.  Be humble enough to recognize that some of the points the other person is trying to make may indeed be valid.  Your "opponent" may know the issue of debate better than you, or he may present a perspective you haven't seen before.  Respect your "opponent".

(I hate the term "opponent" in the context of much Christian debate, because this implication of an adversarial relationship itself strikes me as proud and disrespectful.)
 

ozgeorge

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PeterTheAleut said:
Some principles I try to follow in my debates:


  • 1.  Do not allow yourself to be easily offended.
    2.  Desire to know the truth above all else.
    3.  Collect a broad base of information.  Study the issue from a wide variety of different angles.
    4.  State your points with confidence, commitment, and honesty, yet...
    5.  Be humble enough to recognize that some of the points the other person is trying to make may indeed be valid.  Your "opponent" may know the issue of debate better than you, or he may present a perspective you haven't seen before.  Respect your "opponent".
I think these are excellent points! I think they could be included in a kind of "suggestion list" for people wishing to engage in debate & polemics in Free For All. What do other people think?

PeterTheAleut said:
(I hate the term "opponent" in the context of much Christian debate, because this implication of an adversarial relationship itself strikes me as proud and disrespectful.)
Actually, I think that as long as we remember your 5th point above: "Respect your opponent", there can be a healthy debate between opponents, and it also means that they are opponents soley for the purpose of debate. St. Peter and St. Paul were also opponents in a debate, and St. Paul uses quite strong language to express this: "When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong." (Galatians 2:11) Yet they remained Brothers in Christ, and their icon shows them embracing.
 

ozgeorge

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serb1389 said:
I am just pokin fun.  But in the end this is why completely free forums were created.
I'm not sure that OCnet is a "completely free" forum. It certainly has a lot less restrictions than other forums I post on, but it still has restrictions. I've also posted on some "completely free" forums with absolutely no moderation, and I'll never do that again! A completely pointless exercise which goes nowhere, and the forum folds down within months to become a haunt for advertisers peddling porn sites and online pharmacies for ordering sleeping pills without prescription.

serb1389 said:
So we can all be very blunt with each other.  If we are respectful and courageous enough. 
What if we are not respectful enough, and what if a newbie enquirer is not courageous enough? As Christians, should we seek to avoid scandalizing, or should we be blunt at all costs?
 

serb1389

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ozgeorge said:
What if we are not respectful enough, and what if a newbie enquirer is not courageous enough? As Christians, should we seek to avoid scandalizing, or should we be blunt at all costs?
HAHAHA.  Boy did you put me in a wierd position.  I know that the "right" answer is to not scandalize.  But me personally, I say whatever needs to be said.  If people arn't "man enough" to hear their mistakes...well that's their problem then isn't it? 

Anyway, in the end I like what PetertheAleut said. 
 

ozgeorge

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serb1389 said:
If people arn't "man enough" to hear their mistakes...well that's their problem then isn't it? 
Bearing in mind that we are discussing the nature of Christian debate here, I actually think it may be our problem also.
The pop psychology notion that "a person's feelings are totally their responsibility" is, thankfully, dying out. How can grief at the loss of a loved one possibly be the bereaved person's own "responsibility"? How can children orphaned and traumatized by the horrors of war possible be "responsible" for their own feelings? Does the notion that everyone's feelings are their own responsibility give us a license to trample on other's feelings?
And if we see that our brother or sister is lacking in the emotional, psychological and spiritual resources to cope with humiliation, should we go ahead and humiliate them anyway in the name of "truth"?
I think this is the same question Cain asked of God: "Am I my brother's keeper?" Christ's answer to us in the Gospel seems to be a resounding: "Yes! You are your brother's keeper! And what's more, if you fail to care for him, you have failed to care for Me."
In no way am I advocating here that we avoid pointing out our opponent's error in logic or facts. What I'm questioning is how, as Christians, should we do so? Do we hack at them with a machete like someone cutting their way through a jungle, or should we cut like a surgeon removing a tumour under anaesthetic?
As Orthodox Christians, we know that the end does not justify the means. A thing is not good if it has been attained through evil means. I think this also applies to the outcome of debates and dialogues.

serb1389 said:
Anyway, in the end I like what PetertheAleut said. 
So do I! And one thing I would add to the list would be:

"6. At all times treat the issue of the debate as something seperate to yourself and your opponent. Attack the problem, not the person."
 

greekischristian

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Well, several people have various ideas here about what Christian debate should be...but truth be told Christ was more pragmatic.

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.

Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?

But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.

But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.

Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.

And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.

Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.

Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:

That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.
I would suggest a more pragmatic approach to debate.

1. Let the other person start it, or if you must start it just throw the idea out there and let someone else take it and run with it. This will force your opponent to show his cards and give you the initiative.

2. Throw up a stumbling block, make it a bit scandalous and emotion provoking. See how your opponent reacts, does he stop dead in his tracks? Does he trip and stumble? Or does he glide right over it and keep on running? In case three you may need to reevaluate your approach. Maybe try something else. Keep in mind the context in which you're debating, a good thing to throw out over at internet infidels might not work so well here on OC.net, in a sense you have to play to the masses. Remember, as Goebbels said, 'the street is the political characteristic of this age'. However, if case one or two occurs, you're in good shap, hit 'em while they're down.

3. The main use of emotion in argument is to keep your opponent off balance and prevent them from thinking rationally, only use it to this extent, dont become overly reliant on the same. Use it to guide you opponent to either an extreme position or a position he never truly wanted to take, once he's committed, hit him with a hard rational argument, the mere use of reason in this context may amplify the emotional damage, while earning you some solid academic debating points and because of his emotional state, his half hearted response will pale in comparison. Of course, the stronger your opponent the more you have to settle for small effects and the more you must rely in the internal quality of your argument. But you can still throw them off balance not by being emotional but by forcing them to respond emotionally.

4. When debating online, keep in mind a potential second opponent...don't throw yourself all out, make sure that if attacked from the rear you can ideally pivot to meet the attack, or at least only retreat minimally before launching your counteroffensive, here the hardest part is wrestling the initiative from your new opponent without yielding it to your old; but if you assume these other opponents are going to come in against you you'll probably be in the best of all possible situations when they do. Consider the campaigns of Frederick the Great, the fought surrounded and secured victory...the tactics of debate can, in large part, be derived from the tactics of war.

5. Scandalize everyone you possibly can (this is what makes it play and not work), force your opponent to reconsider their preconceived notions (regardless of what these notions might be, it's always good to have then challenged), and have fun.
 

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greekischristian said:
Well, several people have various ideas here about what Christian debate should be...but truth be told Christ was more pragmatic.
Truth be told, Christ is not giving us an example of how to debate here, he is passing judgement as is His right as God. He is not debating, He is reproaching His People as God.
We're talking about Christian debate in this thread. Not the debating style of those who have delusions of grandeur and think they are Jesus Christ.
 

greekischristian

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ozgeorge said:
Truth be told, Christ is not giving us an example of how to debate here, he is passing judgement as is His right as God. He is not debating, He is reproaching His People as God.
We're talking about Christian debate in this thread. Not the debating style of those who have delusions of grandeur and think they are Jesus Christ.
Whew, I thought you were talking about me for a while...fortunately I happen to be the reincarnation of Napoleon via Patton, not of Christ ;D

But in all seriousness, Christ was teaching in his prophetic and priestly capacities, he was not passing judgement. When he was passing judgement he said, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' While Christ may have exercised good debating skills, I doubt he regarded his position as divine judge over the living and the dead with such triviality.
 

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greekischristian said:
When he was passing judgement he said, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'
No, that is Christ praying for the forgiveness of His enemies. Here is Christ passing judgement:
"Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:
Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee." (Matthew 11:20-24)
 

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ozgeorge said:
Bearing in mind that we are discussing the nature of Christian debate here, I actually think it may be our problem also.
The pop psychology notion that "a person's feelings are totally their responsibility" is, thankfully, dying out. How can grief at the loss of a loved one possibly be the bereaved person's own "responsibility"? How can children orphaned and traumatized by the horrors of war possible be "responsible" for their own feelings? Does the notion that everyone's feelings are their own responsibility give us a license to trample on other's feelings?
Absolutely not.  However, is McDonalds responsible because I spilled coffee on myself? 

I would say even in the crazy situations you brought up above taking responsibility is THERAPEUTIC in many ways.  For example, if an orphaned and traumatized kid takes responsibility which means they realize that they had nothing to do with their problems and its not "their fault" but rather they are the authors of their own lives, and take the RESPONSIBILITY upon themselves to make better lives...how is this wrong? 

I would never go so far as to say that a person's feelings are TOTALLY their responsibility, however there is a LARGE portion of this.  If I never take responsibility for who I am and what I do then I can just throw out the whole Old Testament. 

I like making people jumpstart and get out of their ruts.  I like to call people out for being Baptised Christians and not believing in Christ.  I like to show people that they are at the gutter of faith. 

How do I do this?  By being blunt and to the point.  Why should I dilly dally and try to play the PC game?  If you are spiritually killing yourself, shouldn't I tell you?  I would expect nothing less for myself. 

I know that we are supposed to be pastoral in our approach.  If you can give me one form of "pastoral" i'll give you a medal.  ;)

There are MANY different ways to approach people.  Just like there are MANY shepherds (priests, bishops, etc.).  Obviously the model we want to follow is Christ. 

The Second Comming is approaching my friend, whether we like it or not.  We need to prepare ourselves and wake ourselves up.  Just a thought...

And if we see that our brother or sister is lacking in the emotional, psychological and spiritual resources to cope with humiliation, should we go ahead and humiliate them anyway in the name of "truth"?
I think this is the same question Cain asked of God: "Am I my brother's keeper?" Christ's answer to us in the Gospel seems to be a resounding: "Yes! You are your brother's keeper! And what's more, if you fail to care for him, you have failed to care for Me."
In no way am I advocating here that we avoid pointing out our opponent's error in logic or facts. What I'm questioning is how, as Christians, should we do so? Do we hack at them with a machete like someone cutting their way through a jungle, or should we cut like a surgeon removing a tumour under anaesthetic?
As Orthodox Christians, we know that the end does not justify the means. A thing is not good if it has been attained through evil means. I think this also applies to the outcome of debates and dialogues.
We should never humiliate someone in the name of truth.  But the truth should always be told.  If people are ashamed of what they did...hey that's why there's repentance.  So ultimately where is the problem?  In the telling of truth or in people's pride? 

I like the hospital imagery you put forward.  I agree with you.  We should not hack away at people.  It rarely causes a change in heart, even if I personally like this tactic... ;)

In the hospital sometimes you need to cut the gangrenes leg in order to keep the body whole.  No amount of preparation can really prepare you for something like this.  So we can talk to these people until we're blue in the face.  But in the end the hatchet is gona come down, because the HATCHET is the remedy.  What do you think about this? 

Sorry to give you so much.  Obviously i'm conflicted about it... 8)
 

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I think, over all, the debating is fairly civil and gentlemanly (and lady-like) on OC.net. I think since the polemical was created, the discussions on the rest of the board have been pretty fair and respectful overall.

It seems that two people can vehemently disagree on one thread and then be allies on a different thread. So no one is carrying hard feelings from thread to thread.
 

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ozgeorge said:
No, that is Christ praying for the forgiveness of His enemies. Here is Christ passing judgement:
I must say, you did well in pulling me off onto an irrelevant tangent inorder to force me to present one of my opinions contrary to the commonly accepted norm on this forum...though we've been forced into a nestorian mindset to puruse this tangent, Christ did X as God and X as Man, etc. But I'll give you that much, you've earned it:

As to that particular passage, it would seem to simply be Matthew's overactive imagination rather than an accurate portrayal of Christ.

But of course, assuming this biblical canon is reliable, there is the logical corollary to God treating people that way...surely he wouldn't object to us having a small amount of harmless fun at these peoples expense...heck, he intends to condemn them to eternal suffering anyway...or is the suffering inflicted by debating with me even greater than what God can dream up for hell?
 

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serb1389 said:
Absolutely not.  However, is McDonalds responsible because I spilled coffee on myself? 
Are you comparing the Church to McDonalds?  ;)
I remember many years ago a very heated argument between two men during a Parish Council meeting in which the Priest asked one of the men to calm down and stop berating the other man, to which the man replied: "But he has to learn! this is the way of the world Father!" The Priest stood up calmly and said: "I have failed here and the Church has failed here if you all think the Church is here to learn from the world how to live, and not the other way around." He then walked out.

serb1389 said:
I would say even in the crazy situations you brought up above taking responsibility is THERAPEUTIC in many ways.  For example, if an orphaned and traumatized kid takes responsibility which means they realize that they had nothing to do with their problems and its not "their fault" but rather they are the authors of their own lives, and take the RESPONSIBILITY upon themselves to make better lives...how is this wrong? 
Absolutely, but the point I was making was about who had responsibility for the children's trauma and psychic pain. As you say, certainly not the Children. Those who traumatized them must take the responsibility for the children's pain. If I hurt my brother's feelings, I am responsible for that, not he for "not being man enough" to take it.

serb1389 said:
I would never go so far as to say that a person's feelings are TOTALLY their responsibility, however there is a LARGE portion of this.  If I never take responsibility for who I am and what I do then I can just throw out the whole Old Testament.
Again, I'm not talking about responsibility for who I am, I'm talking about responsibility for what I'm feeling. No human being can live and grow unless they feel loved and understood. No one comes to Christ because of rational arguments, and if they do, they don't stay long, they just rationalize Him out of their lives again. People come to Christ because they have experienced Him in another human being, and have been loved by Him through another human being.

serb1389 said:
I like making people jumpstart and get out of their ruts.  I like to call people out for being Baptised Christians and not believing in Christ.  I like to show people that they are at the gutter of faith.
How do I do this?  By being blunt and to the point.  Why should I dilly dally and try to play the PC game?  If you are spiritually killing yourself, shouldn't I tell you?  I would expect nothing less for myself. 
And what if someone doesn't have the psychosocial and emotional resources to cope with your bluntness? What if they lose their Faith because they perceive that a follower of Christ has offended them? In a way, you are right, that we need to learn to deal with offenses, and grow thick skins if we want to be Saints, but should a Christian be the cause of offenses to others? Christ, Who also aknowledges that offenses must exist in the world says "No". A Christian must never be a source of offence to others:
"But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!(Matthew 18:6-7) Are you going to tie that millstone around your neck and throw yourself into the sea if you offend someone who believes in Christ by your bluntness? ;)

serb1389 said:
I know that we are supposed to be pastoral in our approach.  If you can give me one form of "pastoral" i'll give you a medal.  ;)
OK. I will give you an example of the "pastoral" approach below, using your own metaphor of amputation of a gangenous leg. If you accept my example as worthy, I would like a medal of St. George blessed by your Priest and sent to me (I'll pm you my address).

serb1389 said:
But the truth should always be told.
And, as all things in the case of Christianity, this too has a qualifier. We are commanded to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

serb1389 said:
In the hospital sometimes you need to cut the gangrenes leg in order to keep the body whole.  No amount of preparation can really prepare you for something like this.  So we can talk to these people until we're blue in the face.  But in the end the hatchet is gona come down, because the HATCHET is the remedy.  What do you think about this?
And now for the example of the pastoral approach.
As you probably know, the first "modern" surgeons were in fact barbers, and in Henry VIII's time, a surgeon had to be a memebr of the guild known as the Great Company of Barbers and Surgeons. This is why the barber's pole has a red and white stripe, it represents a bandaged bleeding limb. These barber-sugeons trained in apprenticships, and their practice was considered a craft of low status. The reason for this was simple- it was because most of their patients died. Surgery was the last resort sought when the situation was lifethreatening. If you were going to die anyway, you might as well risk the slight chance that surgery might help, but most of the time, it didn't.
The barber-surgeon's patients died from two main causes:

1) Shock, and
2) Infection

Shock is basically a lack of oxygen to the brain, and can have several causes. In Cardiac Shock, the pumping system of the blood fails and thus oxygen rich blood fails to reach the brain. In Hypervolemic Shock, there is not enough blood to get to the brain, and this is caused by bleeding, or the shunting of blood to the vital organs, or vasodilation (the expanding of the blood vessels due to the sympatheic nervous system going in to overdrive. In the case of the barber surgeons, there were two reasons their patients went into shock: blood loss and pain. Working without anaesthetics, the extreme pain caused by the surgery sent the patient in to shock, which was further compounded by the blood loss caused by the surgery itself. To relieve the pain, the barber surgeons sometimes got their patients drunk, but this, in fact worsened the problem. Alcohol actually causes hypovolemic shock by causing exessive fluid loss (via urination), dilation of the blood vessels (which is why you get flushed when you drink) and it also inhibits blood clotting (making the bleeding worse).
On October 16, 1846, Dr. John Collins Warren, Senior Surgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital, successfully removed a congenital vascular malformation from 20 year-old Edward Gilbert Abbott's neck while the patient was under ether anaesthesia administered by Dr. W.T.G. Morton, a dentist from Boston. This was the first demonstrated use of ether as an aneasthetic for surgery, and it's success in preventing shock made it standard practice. With the discovery of a successful anaesthetic, the mortality rate of limb amputation dropped from 95% to 45%.
However, the other problem remained, and that was the mortality of patients due to infection of their surgical wounds. 15 years after the successful use of anaesthesia, Louis Pasteur demonstrated the existence of microorganisms and their being cause of fermentation.Three years later, Joseph Lister applied Pasteur's discovery to the treatment of surgical wounds by realising that fermentation and wound infection are the same thing, so he used carbolic acid to prevent wounds from becoming infected. With Lister's discovery, the mortality rate from amputation dropped further from 45% to 15%. Later in the 19th century, more techniques were employed to prevent infection (handwashing, sterile gowns caps and masks etc) and the mortality rate of amputation patients dropped to just over 5%. With the discovery of penecillin, the mortality rate dropped to less than 2%.
So you see, the mortality rate from limb amputation dropped from 95% to less than 2% by the application of two principles:

1) Pain Control, and
2) Infection Control.

So if you wish to apply the metaphor of surgery to the treatment of spiritual ills, then you should learn from what surgery has learned- prevent pain, and prevent cross infection.
We prevent pain by "speaking the truth in love". Without love, we are as useless as "resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." as the Apostle says. Even our Faith, he goes on to say, is pointless if we do not have Love. The Apostle then goes on to explain how Love works:
"Love is longsuffering and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)
If we are to "speak the truth in love", we must do so by being longsuffering, kind, never rude, never thinking evil of anyone, never judging, enduring everything including insults.
If you can speak the truth to your brother while doing all this, then go right ahead.

The other practice we need to apply from the surgery metaphor is Infection Control. How do we infect someone spiritually? With our own sin. We need to be sure that there is no way that our own sin will infect the person we are spiritually treating. No surgeon worth his salt would dream of attempting surgery while he himself has a virulent, infectious diease, and neither should the pastor attempt to do so to his spiritual patient. So either, you have to be sterile (which is impossible in the spiritual case, because the instant you believe you are completely free from sin, you have sinned), or the pastor needs to be able to recognise when his own sin may be a cause of infection to his patient. Or to put it as Christ put it:
"Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (Luke 6:47-32)

Do I get my medal? ;)
 

minasoliman

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greekischristian said:
In the end I'm primarily a cynic.
So, you're the reincarnation of Diogenes, not Napoleon?

PeterTheAleut said:
Some principles I try to follow in my debates:


  • 1.  Do not allow yourself to be easily offended.
    2.  Desire to know the truth above all else.
    3.  Collect a broad base of information.  Study the issue from a wide variety of different angles.
    4.  State your points with confidence, commitment, and honesty, yet...
    5.  Be humble enough to recognize that some of the points the other person is trying to make may indeed be valid.  Your "opponent" may know the issue of debate better than you, or he may present a perspective you haven't seen before.  Respect your "opponent".

(I hate the term "opponent" in the context of much Christian debate, because this implication of an adversarial relationship itself strikes me as proud and disrespectful.)
I think this should be put on every forum thread starter/reply for people to remember what to do before they write something.

God bless.
 

ozgeorge

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minasoliman said:
I think this should be put on every forum thread starter/reply for people to remember what to do before they write something.
I'm not sure if this is possible, but in the meantime, I'll make this thread a "sticky" so that other people can comment and add their ideas.

serb1389 said:
Yup  ;)
And Yup ;D
Is that all I get? "yup"? All that effort and "yup"? :D
George
 

PeterTheAleut

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ozgeorge said:
I'm not sure if this is possible, but in the meantime, I'll make this thread a "sticky" so that other people can comment and add their ideas.
FWIW, I can't claim the thoughts I submitted as intellectual property, for I merely learned them from someone else.  You have my permission--permission I don't think you really need--to use the principles I submitted for whatever purpose you think is good.
 

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serb1389 said:
In the hospital sometimes you need to cut the gangrenes leg in order to keep the body whole.  No amount of preparation can really prepare you for something like this.  So we can talk to these people until we're blue in the face.  But in the end the hatchet is gona come down, because the HATCHET is the remedy.  What do you think about this? 
I hope that it is now clear from this thread that the "hatchet approach" doesn't work for the reasons outlined here.
 

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ozgeorge said:
What happens when two people both think they are telling the truth, yet contradict one another?
That is an interesting question. I suppose it means that the truth that each one is telling may not be the *whole* truth. Let me give you an example:
A man in a restaurant raises a bowl of soup to his lips and a teacher asks her pupils what does it mean when a man has his nose in the bowl of soup raised to his lips?
One pupil says that it means that he has not been taught good table manners by his mother.
The second pupil says that it means that the man has not eaten for a while and is hungry.
 

ozgeorge

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stanley123 said:
A man in a restaurant raises a bowl of soup to his lips and a teacher asks her pupils what does it mean when a man has his nose in the bowl of soup raised to his lips?
One pupil says that it means that he has not been taught good table manners by his mother.
The second pupil says that it means that the man has not eaten for a while and is hungry.
Interpreting people's intentions is always a problem. We can never state with certainty what a person's motivations are since we can't look into people's hearts and minds. Had the first pupil said : "This behaviour is poor table manners in Western culture" then he/she would be correct in a non-relative way- whether one is hungry or not. By including the qualifier: "in Western culture", this would also cover the third possibility that the man is in China where this behaviour is not considered bad manners.
 

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ozgeorge said:
Interpreting people's intentions is always a problem. We can never state with certainty what a person's motivations are since we can't look into people's hearts and minds. Had the first pupil said : "This behaviour is poor table manners in Western culture" then he/she would be correct in a non-relative way- whether one is hungry or not. By including the qualifier: "in Western culture", this would also cover the third possibility that the man is in China where this behaviour is not considered bad manners.
Still, your question was: "What happens when two people both think they are telling the truth, yet contradict one another?"
I still think it indicates that each person is not giving the whole truth, but each may be partly right. Let me give another example. Suppose the date is May 25, 2007 and the farmer A  has had a pig for one year and he has been handfeeding the pig and taking good care of his pig up to this date. His neighbor farmer B was asked how has farmer A been taking care of his pig? Farmer B replies that he has been the best caretaker that he has seen. He is kind, caring, etc. Then farmer B leaves the country. The next day on May 26, 2007, farmer A decides to cut the pig for his family. But he does a terrible job and the pig is squealing terribly under these horrific blows and the job takes forever. Farmer C witnesses the event and farmer C is asked his opinion as to how farmer A has taken care of his pig. Was he kind, friendly and caring or not. Farmer C is horrified by the botched job that farmer A has done and reports that farmer A was the worst farmer that he has seen as far as cutting the pig is concerned, and it must be the case that farmer A was not friendly and caring to his pig. So here you have two contradictory statements, but both are right because each one is not the whole truth.
 

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How come I haven't seen anything that the Holy Scripture says about how to use our tongues?
 

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stanley123 said:
Still, your question was: "What happens when two people both think they are telling the truth, yet contradict one another?"
I still think it indicates that each person is not giving the whole truth, but each may be partly right. Let me give another example. Suppose the date is May 25, 2007 and the farmer A  has had a pig for one year and he has been handfeeding the pig and taking good care of his pig up to this date. His neighbor farmer B was asked how has farmer A been taking care of his pig? Farmer B replies that he has been the best caretaker that he has seen. He is kind, caring, etc. Then farmer B leaves the country. The next day on May 26, 2007, farmer A decides to cut the pig for his family. But he does a terrible job and the pig is squealing terribly under these horrific blows and the job takes forever. Farmer C witnesses the event and farmer C is asked his opinion as to how farmer A has taken care of his pig. Was he kind, friendly and caring or not. Farmer C is horrified by the botched job that farmer A has done and reports that farmer A was the worst farmer that he has seen as far as cutting the pig is concerned, and it must be the case that farmer A was not friendly and caring to his pig. So here you have two contradictory statements, but both are right because each one is not the whole truth.
Farmer B lacks the information available to Farmer C, so Farmer C is correct.
If I avoid fornication all my life, and three days before I die, I fornicate- do I die a fornicator or not?
 

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Joab Anias said:
How come I haven't seen anything that the Holy Scripture says about how to use our tongues?
Because we don't use our tongues on this forum.  I imagine your keyboard might get awfully slimy if you did, not to mention that it would be in rather bad taste. :p
 

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ozgeorge said:
Farmer B lacks the information available to Farmer C, so Farmer C is correct.
If I avoid fornication all my life, and three days before I die, I fornicate- do I die a fornicator or not?
The answer to the last question is yes, *unless* you repent of your sin and confess before you die.
However, consider this:
Farmer B sees the situation only up to May25, 2007 and reports all is well.
Farmer C sees the situation only after May 25, and reports all is bad.
Both are reporting on what they have seen and both reports are correct for the time period given. So the contradiction is because neither one has given us the *whole* picture and I think it is similar to my first  example, where each one may be correct, but not giving us the *whole* picture.
 
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