Turn the other cheek – turn the tables

Most of us have had disagreements with people that did not turn out well. I defend my views, the other person defends their views, somehow after a conversation or two we’re no longer on speaking terms. Often times whatever happens in the middle got personal and it got ugly. The focus of the discussion often turns from the beliefs that the other person holds to what’s wrong with the person. It can be tough to turn the other cheek when we are being personally attacked.

How much harder, then, to turn the other cheek when the attack was always and only about you, personally? What if, for instance, somebody snapped a photo of you when you were not aware of that, posted your photo on social media and started mocking you? Not just claiming that you looked funny, but specifically attacking the fact that your gender isn’t entirely clear! Continue reading

Monty Python – Arguments

To better understand the essence of what an “argument” really is, we need to seek out the highest possible authority on the matter. Dictionaries? Child’s play. Encyclopedias? What is this, amateur night? What about Wikipedia? Nearly there, but we are going all the way to the top. We consult an authority no less prestigious than Monty Python themselves!

(This blog entry was just to add a little humor to your day. Have a great weekend.)

Evidence of Bias

In the comments that were posted below a recent blog I wrote I was challenged to consider a debate between Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. Bart Ehrman regarding whether or not the resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation of the relevant historical data. You’d have to read all the comments to get caught up on the context of the challenge, but it all boiled down the claim that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus was not very compelling, and Ehrman proved as much against Craig in this particular debate. Well, I got around to listening to the debate (the audio I listened to can be found here) and what follows are a few comments about debates in general, and that debate in particular.

An important context for this entire discussion, as alluded to in the title of this post, is that we are all biased; Craig, Ehrman, me and… yes… even you. Continue reading

Argumentative? Good arguments might be your cure.

Does it make sense that good arguments would cure our tendency to be argumentative? Well, according to William Lane Craig (one of the world’s leading Christian Apologists) this is precisely the effect he has observed in himself and others (quoted from Craig’s book On Guard). Continue reading

The thrill of sensationalism

Imagine yourself standing in the checkout line at the grocery store and you see two newspapers. The headline on one newspaper reads, “Presidential infidelity and abuse scandal: shocking details inside!” The other headline reads, “President a faithful husband, caring father.” Be honest with yourself now, which are you more likely to reach for? I know I would tend to want to read the story about the president’s fling and his malicious behavior toward his kids. Not because I celebrate mistresses or child abuse but because that story is interesting. That headline has shock value. It has sex appeal. “What bleeds, leads” in the journalism industry and that’s because readers will pay for blood and guts, even metaphorically.

The thrill of sensationalism is what inspires people to accept, or at least seriously entertain, all kinds of conspiracy theories as well. Consider the following. Continue reading

AWF at the Book Depository

I just found out Arguing with Friends is now available at the Book Depository with free shipping “worldwide” (they specify which countries count as worldwide). The cost is marginally higher than elsewhere, but I suspect the free shipping offsets the slight increase. This may be the best deal around, I’m not sure. If anybody else sees a better deal please let me know.

Biblical truth and Russian vodka

One of the keys to effective communication is to not merely express your idea, but to ensure that the idea you express is received with clarity by whoever you are talking to. If you say all the “right” things, but the understanding of your audience is something rather different from your understanding then it does not matter what you said or how accurate your description was. I recently stumbled upon an amusing illustration of this phenomenon. Continue reading

Internet radio interview – debrief

Man, that was fun! I’ve never done anything like that before, and it was very strange. I’m used to thinking slowly (some might say veeeeeeeeery slowly) but being “live” makes you think on your feet, parallel-process concepts and what have you. I especially enjoyed the fellow who called in at the end, even though there was not enough time to really explore his area of interest. I think he said his name was John, but it was hard to hear him. I had some thoughts on how I would approach a conversation with him regarding near death experiences which was obviously an important subject to him. Continue reading

My Apologetics Testimony – a Mormon friend

One feature that I would like to include in this blog is the sharing of real stories of people succeeding, and failing, in their conversations about big life stuff. I thought I would start with my own story of how God nudged me (not so gently) into the world of Apologetics.

The economy wasn’t so hot that year so I wasn’t doing the Engineering I had trained so hard to do; I was mowing lawns for the summer. I enjoyed the job, and I got the opportunity to meet new people, including a Mormon, who also mowed lawns for the same outfit. My boss had contracts at a lot of places that were often quite far from each other so there was just about as much driving as there was mowing. Driving, of course, meant time to talk. Continue reading