It should be common knowledge by now that treading into the “Comments” section on blogs can be dangerous. I’ve experienced this first-hand. So bad, in fact, were some folks that I dared not return. However, there are moments of civility out there.
I frequent a blog called OrthodoxNet.com Blog. It’s one of my favorites that I visit several times a day. A recent topic of discussion was the Freedom of Choice Act. As you can imagine, things got a bit heated. However, towards the end cooler heads seemed to prevail. A fine example of this would be the follow post:
Walis writes: ” . . . . if your implication is that morality is therefore a mere function of perception, then we really have nothing to discuss.”
In that context I don’t agree with the word “mere.” As a matter of fact people’s understanding of morality changes over time. I think this is obvious. The interesting thing is how that happens. In my observation and experience, a change for the better rarely happens through harsh, combative words. It happens through a positive message, the presentation of a transcendent moral message, an encouragement to be a better person.
Walis: “Incidentally, I don’t think the passage you refer to from Matthew 19 indicates that children were seen as disposable. A nuisance maybe, but disposable? Even the much maligned disciples weren’t so crass.”
A few years ago I read a commentary on the gospels in which the author discussed that story. What he did was to interpret the story in the light of what is known about the culture of that time and place. (I have the book somewhere, but couldn’t locate it; apologies for not providing a reference.)
Perhaps the word “disposable” is too strong. Maybe “unworthy of consideration” would be more accurate. My point was that how the disciples (and the people of that time in general) responded to those children is very different from how we would respond to them today, at least in our country.
Harlemite writes: “It doesn’t seem as though he’s opposing you, just that his strategy differs. If you step back and take a look you’ll see that you’re singing from the same sheet of music, just in a different key.”
What I’m trying to do is to look at what works vs. what doesn’t work. If people want to accuse “liberals” and others of murder and say that they are part of the “culture of death,” what I would ask is this: how’s that working for you? Are you actually reaching people with that kind of rhetoric, with respect to abortion and other issues? As I mentioned before, even according to the polls done by Christians, more people are abandoning church, and the fastest-growing “church” is the church of the unchurched. Young people, both Christian and otherwise increasingly see Christianity in negative terms. As far as I can tell it’s not working.
As Walis said “I’m sure that folks aren’t concerned about whales, third-world suffering, and eating meat simply because it’s the thing to do these days, but because deep down it seems right as opposed to wrong. And Christianity provides a reason, first of all that something can be right or wrong and, second, a reason why.”
And so the issue is how that message is communicated and how you can build upon and expand the moral sensibility that people already have.
The writer made some excellent points, and exemplified, at least to me, a willingness to honestly give ground when necessary to further the discussion. So it should be. Especially when trying to tackle the tougher issues of our day.
As a follower of Christ, my goal is to become one always displaying such behavior. I’m not always successful, and I’ll be the first to admit to letting my emotions get the best of me on occasion. However, examples like the one above are just the kind of reminders a sinner like myself needs to keep me, or get me back on track.