Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

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Callisto
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Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby Callisto » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:36 am

I was on Facebook this afternoon and found that there was an argument of abortion vs. adoption going on. At one point someone said that "morals are relative, policy is not". I seriously had to step away from my computer to calm down and I deleted any attempt to answer it because I've gotten to the point where I don't want to debate people on Facebook/Youtube anymore. I don't even know if it's worth trying to show them they are wrong on this. The poor education system in this country has really done its propagandizing job well....

My question is this: if someone's completely blind, is it my job to make them see when they don't want to? Or should I just point out things and then leave them at that? What is the role of apologetics for someone who is basically shouting "lalala" at the top of their lungs to ignore what you're saying because they don't want to hear it? I'm not a Calvinist (more of a Molinist) but I wonder if some people really do just shut themselves off to any truth whatsoever. I think they do, in which case God hardens their hearts because they have chosen against God or truth in any situation they may find themselves in. How should we deal with people like that? Ignore them and try to reach those who seem to be "reachable"? I recall the verse Matthew 10:14 - "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet." I assume this would be one of those cases? It seems that God wants us to preach the Gospel as well as his truths in every form, but when someone doesn't listen the first time, should we keep trying or "move on to the next town" after the first time? I always applaud full-time apologists because they really try to lay everything out, so that someone who rejects the truth will have no excuse at all, but many who hear it get convinced and are saved. I want to know when it's evident that one should just stop altogether. Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be a time limit as to when people can change their hearts and minds - Antony Flew comes to mind, even if he may not have accepted Christ's divinity.

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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby BavarianWheels » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:25 pm

Callisto wrote:I was on Facebook this afternoon and found that there was an argument of abortion vs. adoption going on. At one point someone said that "morals are relative, policy is not". I seriously had to step away from my computer to calm down and I deleted any attempt to answer it because I've gotten to the point where I don't want to debate people on Facebook/Youtube anymore.


"Morals are relative, policy is not."

This it a true statement from a standpoint void of God.
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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby 1over137 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:41 am

Acts 19:9
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold
-- Psalm 18:2

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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby Dudeacus97 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:54 pm

You shouldn't debate with people who are a waste of time like that on the internet. I would only debate with somebody on the internet if they come directly to this forum or if they are very persistant in attacking me. However, I would debate more often in real life if I had more opportunities, but there aren't a lot for me.
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-John Lennox

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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby Callisto » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:37 pm

Thanks for the replies... (I'm late in getting back here, I know.) I wasn't debating the person, I just saw the comment and was aghast. Why I was aghast I don't know, nothing surprises me much anymore....

Yes, I've reached the conclusion that it's mostly a waste of time, but I have that little thought in the back of my mind that says, "But what if you could actually get through to them?" Yet only if I can put a crack in their armor or their hearts of stone, maybe it will all crumble. Many people have come to God in this way, when their objections and defenses finally fall, and they let God in. And once He's in, the Spirit goes to work, and these people are typically changed (how fast or slow depends on the person). Even if a good number of those Internet naturalists never acknowledge God or His truth, God is going to have His say, either in this life or the next, and no one can hide (Psalm 139:7).

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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby Jac3510 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:53 pm

I would suggest meditating on Proverbs 26:4-5. I don't say that at all to be snarky or funny. The verse suggests a real contrast--sometimes it's "worth it" and sometimes it isn't.

My own rule of thumb is that I don't bother talking to people in private who appear to be arguing for the sake of arguing. I have limited time, and I'd way rather spend it doing pretty much anything. I save such private conversation with those who are actually interested in a discussion. That doesn't mean the people I have private conversations with always agree. It does mean that progress is made. As far as telling the difference, it's just a matter of practice and experience. Sometimes I'm wrong even after having done this for fifteen years--sometimes I engage and find out hours into it that the other person isn't really open to conversation, and I'm sure that there have been conversations I refused to engage in that I misjudged and the person really was open. But such errors in judgment--for me--don't change the fact that my time is limited, and we all have to set boundaries. So all I can do is make the best judgment call I can and move on.

Public discussion is a little different. I don't factor in the person's motives I'm talking to. My biggest interest there is the people who will be listening to/reading the debate. I'm not there, in that case, to persuade my debate partner but rather to present a solid case for the sake of my audience. I've done that in multiple settings. There, the question for my own participation is much simpler. Am I interested and/or knowledgeable enough in investing the time/energy in the discussion? If not, I don't. If so, I do. In short, it's absolutely a personal decision from one opportunity to the next.

I'll close with one final thought. I don't think that you or I or anyone has any obligation to engage in open debate. You have a Scriptural mandate to be able to explain why you believe what you do if someone asks. But that is no obligation to take on people on Facebook or Youtube or at the park or anywhere else. If you are up to it, then go for it. If not, then you have this wonderful thing called a life that God has given you! Go and live it. There's no hard and fast formula here (there rarely is). Follow the prompting of the Spirit. Don't engage in every fight you come across--you'll wear yourself out. Don't run from all of them, either. Pick your battles, and over a lifetime, when you look back at your record, I think you'll find you engaged in a lot more than you ever thought you would. And if you pick carefully and to the best of your ability at the prompting of the Spirit, I think you'll find that your efforts were by and large fruitful.

Just my $.02. :)
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue

And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby 1over137 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:51 pm

Jac pointed to the progress in the discussion. That's a good indicator. Another, would be whether you are learning something from the other person.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold
-- Psalm 18:2

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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby PaulSacramento » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:30 am

When people say the morals are relative, what they mean is that YOUR morals ( that they don't agree with) are relative but their morals are not.

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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby Callisto » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:24 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:When people say the morals are relative, what they mean is that YOUR morals ( that they don't agree with) are relative but their morals are not.


Exactly. Of course, this summer, when my instructor did that too and wrote it on my test (it was a sociology of crime class...), I didn't argue mainly because a) I wanted an A in the class, b) she didn't knock off points for my view, if she had I would have argued, c) I wanted to pick and choose my battles and felt this was not the time for it. I sat through that entire class thinking these things in my head and wondering if the students next to me were even thinking about that at all, or if they were soaking it in like a sponge. To be quite honest, I don't think a lot of people were paying attention in that class. :lol:

Good points in your posts. I'll consider them in the future. Lately I've been glossing over statements like the one I found in the opening post and ignoring them. I'm not going to waste another calorie of energy on it if people are just going stick their heads in sand like ostriches. If they are sincere and curious (without being derogatory or throwing ad hominem attacks) then I'll engage. Otherwise, no. No more. I've had enough.

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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby PaulSacramento » Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:29 am

It's very hard to "win" a debate or argument about abortion because people will take the moral argument always to the relative stage and since you only have a moral argument against abortion, the debate becomes relative to an individuals morals.
The best anyone can ever hope to achieve is to put forth the understanding that if life is sacred then ALL life is sacred and if all life is sacred then the stage of life is irrelevant. Of course that opens up another can of worms ( if all life is sacred then all killing of any living organisim is wrong) so some circumvent that issue with all HUMAN life is sacred ( which doesn't always work of course).
In short, any debate about abortion is a loaded gun in terms of the moral argument.

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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby Callisto » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:08 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:It's very hard to "win" a debate or argument about abortion because people will take the moral argument always to the relative stage and since you only have a moral argument against abortion, the debate becomes relative to an individuals morals.
The best anyone can ever hope to achieve is to put forth the understanding that if life is sacred then ALL life is sacred and if all life is sacred then the stage of life is irrelevant. Of course that opens up another can of worms ( if all life is sacred then all killing of any living organisim is wrong) so some circumvent that issue with all HUMAN life is sacred ( which doesn't always work of course).
In short, any debate about abortion is a loaded gun in terms of the moral argument.


I don't usually take the moral route with abortion because people will do those things that you just listed (even though the moral argument is good, it's too easy for people to just throw straw men at you). So what I usually do is take the biological route, because even naturalists will take notice and might agree (and some have!). It's harder for them to argue against.

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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby PaulSacramento » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:13 pm

Biological route?

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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby Callisto » Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:44 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:Biological route?


Yes. That DNA that is inherently separate from the mother and therefore not of her body, that size and development matters not in determining what is and isn't human, and so on.

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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby Beanybag » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:40 pm

Callisto wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Biological route?


Yes. That DNA that is inherently separate from the mother and therefore not of her body, that size and development matters not in determining what is and isn't human, and so on.

I'm not sure that works the way you think it does. The biological definition is not necesarily the definition that is ethically relevant - and when it just appears as a cluster of cells, it's hard to empathize. When we think about when life begins, its helpful to think about when life ends, and that occurs at brain death - some cells in your body may continue to function and reproduce, yet the person is dead. It's fine to say "better to be safe than sorry - what if it IS the right definition" and I think once you demonstrate the tenuous border between life and unlife, you make your case stronger.

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Re: Resistant people... an Internet phenomenon! ;)

Postby Jac3510 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:05 am

Beanybag wrote:its helpful to think about when life ends, and that occurs at brain death

As a hospital chaplain who deals with this regularly, I can assure you while legally you are correct, the legality is simply a legal fiction. The history of the concept is as disturbing as the diagnosis itself. BD is a very inappropriate definition of death when you look at it objectively.

I would strongly advise you to pick up Death and Donation by Scott Henderson (the Kindle edition is only $10). He is an ethicist whose specializes in bioethics in general and end of life issues in particular. He extensively documents not only the history of concept and how it found its way into law, but also looks at various medical, legal, and philosophical difficulties that render it absolutely subjective and completely inappropriate as a criterion for death.

Further, from a pastoral perspective (and I don't mean theologically--I mean dealing with people who are going through the grieving process) it is near impossible to help them admit that their loved one is really dead. When the body is still warm, the heart is still beating, when they are still digesting food, when if pregnant the body continues to gestate the fetus, and when numerous other bodily functions are still demonstrating holistic integrity, it is hard for them to see their loved one as dead. Rather they see them (rightly, I think) as very, if not irreversibly, sick. In fact, I have found in practice that no one has ever concluded that they were really dead (and that, by the way, includes some of the medical staff!).

The route we usually end up taking is to talk about the ethical implications of removing the ventilator and allowing them to die. But you'll notice that such a conversation necessarily presupposes that they are still living! Most can come to accept that. It gets particularly tricky when the donation people want to keep them on life support to protect the patient's organs. I've only been involved in one such case, but there . . . well . . . suffice it to say I won't be doing that again. In that case, the cause of death is literally the harvesting of organs, which gets back into why BD was adopted as a legal definition of death in the first place.

This, to me, is a HUGE civil rights issue and demonstrates a DEEP discriminatory bias against the disabled. We now are literally murdering them for the greater good of another.

So, it's not nearly as simple as you are making it out to be. Where I will agree with you is that understanding how life ends helps us understand how it begins. And when you actually study how life ends, it becomes hard to maintain a pro-choice position with reference to the beginning of life. Get the book, BB. I bet you that you can afford $10, and it's a very easy read. I assign it to my students in my bioethics course, and all of them enjoy it immensely (as much as you can enjoy something that details something so disturbing).
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue

And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.


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