[personal profile] wingedbeast
Back in my tip on Shannon Low, I quickly mentioned that The Binding of Issac was one of the moral problems that would spring up once someone deconverts, making the allegedly perfect answers to Elisha and the Two Bears not the perfect re-conversion tool that you think it is. One commenter felt the need to respond to The Binding of Issac, thinking that they had the satisfying moral defense. The last line of that defense is as follows.

Was Issac actually in any danger? I do not believe so because in either case he is not harmed (....physically.....)

Note that last word, surrounded by extended ellipses and parentheses, "physically". That was, whether intentional or not, an admission that, even if I were to accept everything else about the defense, it still wouldn't succeed (for reasons that I will go into in a future tip).

Consider, also, the defense of divinely enacted or divinely commanded killings with this defense, delivered via attempted Socratic method.

Does morality apply to God?

In that tip, I explained that even having the perfect answer to just one objection isn't going to do your whole job for you. Now, I want to make sure that you know that you don't have that perfect answer.

You might think you do. You might be very confident in your answer. You might feel certain that, if they just sit down and listen (I mean, really listen) they'll be satisfied with your answer. And, when they proceed to not be satisfied, you might feel frustrated with their refusal to acknowledge your perfect answer. You might show that frustration or just show your own smug certainty that th is must be the result of some moral or intellectual failing on their part.

No, you just don't have the answer you think you do.

Understand your own bias in the matter of looking over these objections. You, as a believer, may believe that there is, indeed, an answer that would be satisfying to anybody who listens with intent to understand. That doesn't mean you have it but it can mean that you want it and that you're willing to accept something as good defense when it doesn't fully or even really defend.

Understand that, in your desire to have the answer, to defend against an objection that you don't see as valid because, if not yours then some answer does work, you might not have a good answer at all. That doesn't necessarily make your faith wrong, but it does make your answer something put before someone who doesn't share that bias.

So, when you wind up saying that it must be a good moral defense that Issac wasn't really under physical threat, but simply taken up a mountain, bound on a pyre of wood, with his father holding a knife over him and ready to bring it down... be ready for that not to to work. That's not their moral or intellectual failing or even necessarily yours.

Instead of setting yourself up for frustration and disappointed expectations, adjust those expectations accordingly. This isn't your opportunity to defend your faith from their views or to bring them back to your way of thinking. These answers you have are learning opportunities, at least as much for yourself as for them.

Learn what doesn't work. They might even be learning, right then and there, what doesn't work. See where you might be failing to extend your empathy. See where you might need, in order to have an actual conversation with people who don't already share your faith, to be ready to adjust your thinking a bit.

That answer you have isn't perfect. That's okay. Neither are you or anybody else (depending on your faith, there may be a couple exceptions, but not many).
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