wingedbeast ([personal profile] wingedbeast) wrote2017-05-26 05:48 pm
Entry tags:

Tip #78 Positive Results Not Guaranteed

Just a couple weeks ago, a new commenter over on the Slacktivist comments section offered up forgiveness as the cure-all for social ills. The response was quick and... not to the commenter's expectation. Even backing their claims with the words of Jesus, in the comments of a Christian blog, didn't garner the positive response they had expected. The immediate response involved accusations of oppression and evil.

A while back, in Tip #46, I noted the commenter who, throughout the comments section of an atheist blog responding to my not finding their website convincing on the matter of the Shroud of Turin, repeatedly said "Your (insert something here) is, at best, flawed."

And, now let's talk a bit about Martin Luther. Martin Luther (not King, the guy who nailed the paper to a church door) thought, at the beginning of his Protest, that he had a better way of convincing Jewish people to convert. He thought he'd had it all planned out and they would be convinced. They weren't and he started advocating their extermination.

There are more examples I could give. They're all natural responses. You believe that you have absolute truth. You believe that it's so true that, if only people hear what you have to say, they'll believe it. And, many, many people have already told you that those of us who don't believe it are... well, take your pick.

We could be wicked and reveling in our own sins, trying to avoid the consequences by pretending God doesn't exist. We could be monstrously evil. We could be incapable of finding joy. We could be, by much of what you've been told about nonbelievers who've already heard what you have to say, anything and everything save people with sound minds and good consciences who do not agree.

You believe that you have the truth. You work up your courage, you're lead to expect either positive results or evil people. And here we... don't give you the results you were promised. It's easy to call us sour grapes and it's easy to feel angry over that.

At the beginning of this series, I made sure not to promise you more conversions. What you get out of these tips is less alienation of nonbelievers. That's the selling point of these tips. That lack of alienation gives you and your faith more time and more ability to learn from us so that both of us can have a productive conversation.

That means that you're going to have to deal with us not being convinced, repeatedly and consistently, without reaching to threats, without taking us for mental or moral failures, with continued basic respect and courtesy. Despite what you might think, seeing these words in pure text, that's actually harder than you think. It must be, because the failure to do so repeats so often.

So, watch yourself on this topic. Be careful. It's debatable how much Martin Luther's advocacy for genocide influenced the Third Reich, but it's not debatable that it did. This is a frequent test of everybody and the consequence of failure can snowball into the future.
dragoness_e: Raven strolling (Raven strolling)

[personal profile] dragoness_e 2017-05-28 02:36 am (UTC)(link)
You've seen my position--people have different experiences and backgrounds, and me trying to talk you into believing what your entire life-experience has taught just isn't so, (or vice versa: me trying to talk you into disbelieving what your entire life-experience has taught you is definitely so), isn't going to work.

For some people, these things aren't definitely so or not-so, they're just "what my parents/teachers/Big Brother always told me". I can see persuading people like that either way, if you have a moving argument or good evidence.

In the former case, and often in the latter case, because how often do you really have to change someone's worldview[1], basic respect and courtesy means getting to know and believe the concept of "we agree to disagree". Or in the old days, it was, "Don't discuss religion or politics at parties or family dinners".

[1] Obvious exception: you're teaching geology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, archaeology, sociology, history or anthropology.