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The Nature of Christian Debate

Joab Anias

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PeterTheAleut said:
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
Lol. Very funny.

Theres plenty there about proper speach too.

I know, I know, we don't speak here.  :laugh:
 

ozgeorge

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stanley123 said:
The answer to the last question is yes, *unless* you repent of your sin and confess before you die.
In that case I would die a repentant fornicator, like St Cyprian the Former Sorcerer and St. Mary of Egypt the Former Harlot. :D

I know what you are getting at, but my point is that not all truth is relative. There is some truth which is absolute. And not just Absolute Truths about God (for example, that God is a Trinity and not a Monad, Diad, Quartet etc) but there are also moral absolute truths in that there are some things which are morally good or morally bad no matter what (for example, bayonetting babies is morally wrong no matter what). Also, there are empriical Absolute Truths (eg 2+2=4).
If, therefore, there exist things which are absolute truths, one can never argue that all truth is relative, and if one cannot argue this, then one cannot argue that two contradictory and mutually exclusive opinions can always be simultaneously correct. Either one is correct, or neither are correct.
 

greekischristian

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ozgeorge said:
In that case I would die a repentant fornicator, like St Cyprian the Former Sorcerer and St. Mary of Egypt the Former Harlot. :D

I know what you are getting at, but my point is that not all truth is relative. There is some truth which is absolute. And not just Absolute Truths about God (for example, that God is a Trinity and not a Monad, Diad, Quartet etc) but there are also moral absolute truths in that there are some things which are morally good or morally bad no matter what (for example, bayonetting babies is morally wrong no matter what). Also, there are empriical Absolute Truths (eg 2+2=4).
Is bayonetting babies even morally wrong even when God commands it, as he effectively did according to Hosea? Apparently 8th Century Israel didn't share your morality. And 2+2=4 is not an absolute truth, but a Mathematical Theorem derived from a set of unprovable axioms that may or may not be consistent with each other.

If, therefore, there exist things which are absolute truths, one can never argue that all truth is relative, and if one cannot argue this, then one cannot argue that two contradictory and mutually exclusive opinions can always be simultaneously correct. Either one is correct, or neither are correct.
I don't think you've been reading enough existentialism. ;)
 

stanley123

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ozgeorge said:
In that case I would die a repentant fornicator, like St Cyprian the Former Sorcerer and St. Mary of Egypt the Former Harlot. :D

I know what you are getting at, but my point is that not all truth is relative. There is some truth which is absolute. And not just Absolute Truths about God (for example, that God is a Trinity and not a Monad, Diad, Quartet etc) but there are also moral absolute truths in that there are some things which are morally good or morally bad no matter what (for example, bayonetting babies is morally wrong no matter what). Also, there are empriical Absolute Truths (eg 2+2=4).
If, therefore, there exist things which are absolute truths, one can never argue that all truth is relative, and if one cannot argue this, then one cannot argue that two contradictory and mutually exclusive opinions can always be simultaneously correct. Either one is correct, or neither are correct.
This is correct, what you are saying. However, still it is not the whole picture. There are times when two people contradict each other and one is absolutely correct and the other is absolutely wrong. I agree with you there, because in a case like that the true reality of the situation gives the correct answer and it is only one person who has a correct grasp of the true situation. However, that is not *always* the case. There are cases where two people are contradicting each other, due to the fact that neither one has given or has grasped the *whole* or complete picture. For a third example, suppose that farmer A has two farms: farm 1 and farm 2. And each farm has a neighbor: FamerB for farm 1 and farmer C for farm 2. But neither farmer B nor C know about the other farm. They only know about the neighboring farm. Farmer A spends almost all his time at farm 1. And it is a jewel, the animals are well kept and the crops bloom fantastically each year. Since he has another farm, farm 2, farmer A spends a bit of time there also, but it is generally run down and in poor shape becasue he is spending all his time at farm 1. Now farmer B is asked his opinion of farmerA and he says he is by far the best farmer he has seen in his life (that on the basis of witnessing farm 1).
Farmer C is asked his opinion of farmer A and he says that he is by far the worst farmer he has seen in his life( that on the basis opf witnessing farm2).
So farmer B and farmer C are contradicting each other, becuase neither one has the *whole* picture.
 

theistgal

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GiC said:
Is bayonetting babies even morally wrong even when God commands it, as he effectively did according to Hosea? Apparently 8th Century Israel didn't share your morality.
Wait ... they had bayonets in 8th Century Israel???  ???
 

LBK

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theistgal said:
GiC said:
Is bayonetting babies even morally wrong even when God commands it, as he effectively did according to Hosea? Apparently 8th Century Israel didn't share your morality.
Wait ... they had bayonets in 8th Century Israel???   ???
Spears, daggers and swords have the same effect, I'm sorry to say.  :(
 

theistgal

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LBK said:
theistgal said:
GiC said:
Is bayonetting babies even morally wrong even when God commands it, as he effectively did according to Hosea? Apparently 8th Century Israel didn't share your morality.
Wait ... they had bayonets in 8th Century Israel???   ???
Spears, daggers and swords have the same effect, I'm sorry to say.  :(
Well, yes, but I don't believe they were called bayonets at the time.
 

Romanicus

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theistgal said:
Wait ... they had bayonets in 8th Century Israel???   ???
Yes. They did. They also had lace, powdered wigs, and snuff.

"And when thou placest the snuff up thy nose, thou shalt turn thy head, lest thou sneezest, and thy spittle stain thy neighbor's wig and lace."
(Apocryphal proverb. 8th cent. BC) ;)
 

theistgal

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Romanicus said:
theistgal said:
Wait ... they had bayonets in 8th Century Israel???   ???
Yes. They did. They also had lace, powdered wigs, and snuff.

"And when thou placest the snuff up thy nose, thou shalt turn thy head, lest thou sneezest, and thy spittle stain thy neighbor's wig and lace."
(Apocryphal proverb. 8th cent. BC) ;)
(rubbing eyes) whaaaa ... is it 2013 already???  :p
 

Asteriktos

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Ahh, GiC, I would that you were still among us! The posts of the sensationalists we have on oc.net these days are but empty husks compared to the well-reasoned outlandishness you would routinely gift to us. You didn't just offend us, you put a smile on our faces while doing so.

JamesR, are you paying attention? If you wish to learn from a master, go and read the entire post history of GiC... you will be richly rewarded!
 

DanM

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ozgeorge said:
Eleos said:
Dont debate, just tell the truth.
What happens when two people both think they are telling the truth, yet contradict one another?
I am really sorry I missed this interesting topic when it was timely.  My answer to your question is that they use truth-seeking devices to distinguish false from true, partly true from true, partly false from wholly false etc.  

One truth-seeking device is the Toulmin Model of Argument.  According to Toulmin, we are obliged to adduce GROUNDS to support our CLAIM, and the GROUNDS and the CLAIM are connected by a WARRANT.
E.g., suppose you and I wish to eat out.  I want to have Chinese food and you want Mexican.  I argue that we should have Chinese [CLAIM], since we had Mexican last time [GROUNDS] and we had previously agreed to take turns [WARRANT].  You might require me to provide support for my WARRANT by citing its BACKING, which I might do by arguing that taking turns is fair since we are equals.  If I feel it necessary, I might provide a QUALIFIER to hint at how sure I am about my CLAIM.  I might even mention what kind of REBUTTAL is possible by indicating what circumstances might reduce the strength of my CLAIM.  It is usually not necessary for every argument to cite all six parts; many get by on CLAIM, GROUNDS, WARRANT and BACKING.

If both parties work through the Toulmin Model conscientiously, they should be able to figure out where and why they contradict each other.  The problem (in my experience) is that most people do not want to bother with grounds, warrants or backing.  In fact, they use truth-shunning devices:  fallacies in general and ad hominem attacks in particular.  Or they simply duck all discussion, which is perhaps the ultimate truth-shunning device.  

The Toulmin model is not the only truth-seeking device available.  I prefer Christoph Lumer's practical argumentation, but make copious use of Walton's argumentation schemes.  The informal logic literature is very exciting.


 

wgw

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I have been reflecting on my own experiences here, and elsewhere, and also the remarks of FrGiryus and others.  I have come to feel that debates between Orthodox brethren should be conducted solely on the basis of a respectful, loving, mutual search for Truth.  More aggressive styles of debate, which I regret to say I have used in debating with fellow Orthodox in the past, should in fact be reserved for debating with a minority of vocal non-Orthodox who are seeking to proselytize people to various dubious cults; in dealing with the evangelists of heresies.
 

TheTrisagion

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wgw said:
I have been reflecting on my own experiences here, and elsewhere, and also the remarks of FrGiryus and others.  I have come to feel that debates between Orthodox brethren should be conducted solely on the basis of a respectful, loving, mutual search for Truth.  More aggressive styles of debate, which I regret to say I have used in debating with fellow Orthodox in the past, should in fact be reserved for debating with a minority of vocal non-Orthodox who are seeking to proselytize people to various dubious cults; in dealing with the evangelists of heresies.
Aggressive debating is for someone to feel better about themselves. We all do it, but lets not kid ourselves into thinking that it is in any way beneficial for the free exchange of ideas. It is merely self-stroking one's ego.
 

mike

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wgw said:
I have been reflecting on my own experiences here, and elsewhere, and also the remarks of FrGiryus and others.  I have come to feel that debates between Orthodox brethren should be conducted solely on the basis of a respectful, loving, mutual search for Truth.  More aggressive styles of debate, which I regret to say I have used in debating with fellow Orthodox in the past, should in fact be reserved for debating with a minority of vocal non-Orthodox who are seeking to proselytize people to various dubious cults; in dealing with the evangelists of heresies.
<popcorn>
 

wgw

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TheTrisagion said:
wgw said:
I have been reflecting on my own experiences here, and elsewhere, and also the remarks of FrGiryus and others.  I have come to feel that debates between Orthodox brethren should be conducted solely on the basis of a respectful, loving, mutual search for Truth.  More aggressive styles of debate, which I regret to say I have used in debating with fellow Orthodox in the past, should in fact be reserved for debating with a minority of vocal non-Orthodox who are seeking to proselytize people to various dubious cults; in dealing with the evangelists of heresies.
Aggressive debating is for someone to feel better about themselves. We all do it, but lets not kid ourselves into thinking that it is in any way beneficial for the free exchange of ideas. It is merely self-stroking one's ego.
I agree; it's not conducive to the pursuit of truth.  It is also not useful if one actually hopes to change the mind of one's interlocutor.
 

Alpha60

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serb1389 said:
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.
I really like Fr. Nebjosa’s communications technique.  He taught me about the importance of apatheia.  I hope at some point in the future he has the prerequisite time to rejoin us in some capacity.
 

rakovsky

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I had to look that one up.
Apatheia (Greek: ἀπάθεια; from a- "without" and pathos "suffering" or "passion"), in Stoicism, refers to a state of mind in which one is not disturbed by the passions. It is best translated by the word equanimity rather than indifference.
Apatheia - Wikipedia
 
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