Jump to content

Why Niceness Weakens Our Witness


Calm

Recommended Posts

"Nice" is not a nice word for how we should approach this.  "Love" is the better word.  We should always show love and have the fruit of the Spirit, but showing love does NOT mean always seeking to avoid confrontation.

We all know this verse:

Quote

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.
(Doctrine and Covenants 121:41–46)


 

Link to post
13 minutes ago, pogi said:

Most voices of concern I have personally heard are coming from respectable Latter-day Saints, however.  I think we need to listen to and consider those voices above any hypocrisy of some detractors. 

Honestly, I don't know if pointing out hypocrisy and double standards in others, even if true, is effective at converting, or convincing, or changing behavior...it mostly just leads to defensiveness and strife.  I have never seen good fruit come from it.  All we can control is our own behavior.  If there truly are many articles about treating our detractors kindly, and we subsequently put out unkind videos which mock detractors, then I think it would be a good exercise to check our own hypocrisy and double standards.  We may not be as mean, as ferocious, as nasty, as many who oppose us, but how they behave should have no bearing on our own personal standards or justify poor behavior if it is not as bad. 

 

That only works if the hypocrisy and double standards aren't controlling behavior, Pogi. You are missing the point. 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
1 minute ago, pogi said:

Honestly, I don't know if pointing out hypocrisy and double standards in others, even if true, is effective at converting, or convincing, or changing behavior...it mostly just leads to defensiveness and strife.  I have never seen good fruit come from it.  All we can control is our own behavior. 

Juliann's frustration with double standards is valid, but as you point out, actually irrelevant. The Church, and FAIR's target audiences are a) outsiders we would like to convert to the gospel, b) Church members who are troubled by things, and c) Church members who might potentially be troubled by things. With that, the double standard and unfair "playing field" doesn't matter, because largely the only thing that will matter is the impression one takes away from the exchange. Class, dignity, good information, good points, and above all, the Spirit will dwarf any "points scored" by being hip or edgy or using zingers, quips, or mockery. 

Aside from this, the shelf life of trends in Gen Z culture is very short. What is cool today is on the outs tomorrow. I think hitching a wagon to edgy Youtubers who don't have a good filter is not a good long-term investment. I think this initiative will come and go, like other FAIR initiatives in the past. Bill Reel and (more briefly) John Dehlin were two mistakes FAIR has made. I was vocal at the time about not working with Dehlin, but he burned his own bridges rapidly. It was obvious from his message board behavior and fixation on baseball baptism atrocity stories where he was headed. But, he happily wasn't with FAIR long enough to present at a conference. ;) 

What's the over/under on Kwaku El and his co-host speaking at a FAIR conference? Or for there to be a panel discussion with the DezNat/Progmo video panel? :) 

  • Like 2
Link to post
1 minute ago, rongo said:

Juliann's frustration with double standards is valid, but as you point out, actually irrelevant. The Church, and FAIR's target audiences are a) outsiders we would like to convert to the gospel, b) Church members who are troubled by things, and c) Church members who might potentially be troubled by things.  

With all due respect, I think I understand what FM is about, Rongo.  Go easy on the mansplaining. 

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
9 minutes ago, juliann said:

Your FM talk was one of the most highly rated ever, if I recall. I am no longer with FM but people have a very inaccurate perception of what a shoestring operation it was. I can see how this happened. These people don't make $200K a year with all expenses paid from what they do. They must rely on what people bring to them. I can also visualize how a handful of volunteers are left with picking up the pieces while being jeered from all sides. It has always been a thankless job and will remain so. 

It hasn't even been a week, so perhaps it is too soon to talk about undoing the past 20 years? (In which time we made some real doozies of mistakes.) We learned as we went along and I assume that will be the case now. Meanwhile, we as a church are left with the loss of our youth, who as a Boomer, I am told really do need a different approach. I would hope that this will be a very hard learning experience but a pathway to getting it right and doing more good and needed work. And that FM supporters will respond with kindness and understanding. 

 

Honestly, another language is needed for the rising generation. I have been able to get into the formal scholarship in Interpreter and Dialogue and other places around the 'nacle, and there are many of my generation who have done so, but there are many who are not as easily reached or moved by such methods. That's why the august, respectable, and predictable denunciations of The Show by those who inhabit the commanding heights of CoJCoLDS-adjacent intelligentsia feel like so many category errors. The generation gap is big this time around.

Edit: This is not to say that every joke Kwaku and Ben make is justified, but the general movement in their direction is absolutely necessary. With all due respect to the credentialed academic denizens of this board, your work is meat and Twitter and TikTok conditions one for milk. Specifically, the milk of quick quips and attention-keeping. 

Edited by OGHoosier
  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
4 minutes ago, pogi said:

Honestly, I don't know if pointing out hypocrisy and double standards in others, even if true, is effective at converting, or convincing, or changing behavior...it mostly just leads to defensiveness and strife. 

Defensiveness would be better than offensiveness in most cases.  When people feel defensive at least they are recognizing they have something to be defensive about, and then they can check or double-check their defensives to try to make sure they will hold up under the strife.  And there is no way to avoid the strife or the war between good and evil.  We are on one side or the other under every attack or battle of the war and only the right side will be triumphant.

4 minutes ago, pogi said:

I have never seen good fruit come from it. 

The good fruit is on the side that is winning and when people stop trying to correct or stop attacking the other side for a moment it gives people more time to evaluate their position.  But for God's sake don't stop trying to correct those who are wrong when you see they are wrong just because those who are wrong don't like to hear someone tell them they are wrong.  They need those moments and the people who are willing to tell them they are wrong, otherwise the wrong side might think it is winning.

4 minutes ago, pogi said:

All we can control is our own behavior.  If there truly are many articles about treating our detractors kindly, and we subsequently put out unkind videos which mock detractors, then I think we need to check our own hypocrisy and double standards too before throwing stones.  We may not be as mean, as ferocious, as nasty, as those who oppose us, but how they behave should have no bearing on our own personal standards or justify poor behavior if it is not as bad. 

 

What we really need is each side telling the other side what they find problematic while looking for the best solution for all of the problems.  Only one side has all the right answers.  The other side is the wrong side and they need to know they are wrong.

Link to post
12 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

I think that this is an element of a controversy which is underexplored. This Is The Show is not a reaction to criticism from the likes of Vogel, Smith, Thomas, Larson, Bokovoy, or Townsend. It's a response to r/exmormon, Zelph on the Shelf, Missed In Sunday School, and the like. 

 I've never listened to or visited any of those places.  I have a PDF version of the CES letter, and I have scanned through what is there on the Book of Mormon, but I've never read the letter.   I can't even remember how to post on a message board without making mistakes.  And even though I'm now old and out of touch, I understand the desire to reach young adults, and I have no doubt that the FAIR folks are motivated by what they see a sincere desire to save souls.   I think it's possible to reach your goals, add some humor, etc without attacking people.   

Of course I disagreed with the information presented, but Stephen Smoot did a nice job in the Book of Abraham trying to do just that.   Part of the reason it worked was because Stephen didn't tear into others, but instead used self deprecating humor, saying that he couldn't possibly explain things in a way that wouldn't put people to sleep, etc.    Daniel Peterson uses a similar humor, and I've never seen him go after people personally in the way some of these videos do.  For all of his faults, John is sincere in his desire to do what is right and help others.   I've listened to some of his podcasts, and I've heard him laugh or say something critical of apologists.  I don't like it, and I've told him, and offered feedback.  He wants it.  But I've never seen John glorify violence as a joke, and he certainly doesn't deserve to be treated that way.  

And yes, I am going to hold FAIR to a higher standard, because the organization presents itself as a Christian institution that defends the faith, and that has the answers to questions that will help people live good, spiritual lives.   FAIR presents itself as a light on a hill.  And if you're going to be that light, you have to avoid mocking others.   

But in the end, this isn't my ark to steady.  You folks are going to do what you're going to do, and the consequences will follow.  I may not believe in an interventionist God, but I do believe in Karma, and goodness.   I just wanted to offer some unsolicited friendly advice because I would like to see people in our community treating one another with greater respect.

Link to post
13 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

"Nice" is not a nice word for how we should approach this.  "Love" is the better word.  We should always show love and have the fruit of the Spirit, but showing love does NOT mean always seeking to avoid confrontation.

We all know this verse:

I agree that we should not avoid confrontation.  But being nice/kind is not the same as avoiding confrontation.  Confrontation that is not done in the spirit of kindness (I do believe that is possible) is just contention, which is of the devil (3 Nephi 11:29).

People frequently use verse 43 to justify contention and meanness, but they often overlook the context of the verse (I am not accusing you of this InCognitus). 

Quote

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.
(Doctrine and Covenants 121:41–46)

I don't think that mocking videos are done in the spirit of reproving out of love as moved upon by the Holy Ghost, nor is there any increase of love shown afterword's, as commanded in this passage.  I don't think they were made in the spirit of kindness, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned, with bowels full of charity that "they may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death". 

Confrontation and even reproving can be done in the spirit of kindness and love.  I don' know if these videos hit that mark.  I have watched some now. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
1 minute ago, OGHoosier said:

Honestly, another language is needed for the rising generation. I have been able to get into the formal scholarship in Interpreter and Dialogue and other places around the 'nacle, and there are many of my generation who have done so, but there are many who are not as easily reached or moved by such methods. That's why the august, respectable, and predictable denunciations of The Show by those who inhabit the commanding heights of CoJCoLDS-adjacent intelligentsia feel like so many category errors. The generation gap is big this time around. 

I admit I don't understand it. I always demanded the academic, scholarly approach. That is how we were finally able to deal with the Evangelicals and why we don't have them overrunning our sites anymore. They couldn't counter liberal scholarship but couldn't dismiss it, either. 

But in my retirement, for the first time in decades, I am even losing interest in the intellectual side of gospel living. It takes a lot of devotion to scholarship and time to think. But there is little empty head space now with 24/7 streaming and iPhones. I am having to deal with the fact I do not meditate anymore, I go for the quick entertaining fix. Well, and grandkids. But it has taught me how arrogant and intolerant I was because other's wouldn't devote all their waking hours to what I thought was so meaningful and fascinating. 

I don't know what the solution is here, fortunately, I don't have to come up with stuff anymore. I just keep a pile of rocks ready for anybody who tries and misses. (sarcasm alert)

  • Like 1
Link to post
2 minutes ago, DBokovoy said:

 I've never listened to or visited any of those places.  I have a PDF version of the CES letter, and I have scanned through what is there on the Book of Mormon, but I've never read the letter.   I can't even remember how to post on a message board without making mistakes.  And even though I'm now old and out of touch, I understand the desire to reach young adults, and I have no doubt that the FAIR folks are motivated by what they see a sincere desire to save souls.   I think it's possible to reach your goals, add some humor, etc without attacking people.   

Of course I disagreed with the information presented, but Stephen Smoot did a nice job in the Book of Abraham trying to do just that.   Part of the reason it worked was because Stephen didn't tear into others, but instead used self deprecating humor, saying that he couldn't possibly explain things in a way that wouldn't put people to sleep, etc.    Daniel Peterson uses a similar humor, and I've never seen him go after people personally in the way some of these videos do.  For all of his faults, John is sincere in his desire to do what is right and help others.   I've listened to some of his podcasts, and I've heard him laugh or say something critical of apologists.  I don't like it, and I've told him, and offered feedback.  He wants it.  But I've never seen John glorify violence as a joke, and he certainly doesn't deserve to be treated that way.  

And yes, I am going to hold FAIR to a higher standard, because the organization presents itself as a Christian institution that defends the faith, and that has the answers to questions that will help people live good, spiritual lives.   FAIR presents itself as a light on a hill.  And if you're going to be that light, you have to avoid mocking others.   

But in the end, this isn't my ark to steady.  You folks are going to do what you're going to do, and the consequences will follow.  I may not believe in an interventionist God, but I do believe in Karma, and goodness.   I just wanted to offer some unsolicited friendly advice because I would like to see people in our community treating one another with greater respect.

The problem in most cases is that even insinuating in any way that someone else is wrong is often seen as an attack or a manner of mocking them or not treating them with respect.  And to actually tell them they are wrong is almost an unforgivable sin.

But, sure, yeah, go ahead and try to be as nice as you can be when trying to tell someone they are wrong.  Just tell them, for God's sake, otherwise they might think they are right when they really are wrong and nobody else might be around to tell them.

Link to post
23 minutes ago, juliann said:

That only works if the hypocrisy and double standards aren't controlling behavior, Pogi. You are missing the point. 

Maybe I am.  Can you help me understand your point?  I am not understanding what you mean about controlling behavior. 

Link to post
25 minutes ago, Dan McClellan said:

Words don't have any definitions or meanings at all. All meaning exists entirely in the mind of the hearer, reader, or viewer (I've written about this here). Definitions are attempts to impose boundaries on conceptual categories that very rarely develop or are used with reference to boundaries. We impose boundaries when they become rhetorically useful to us. The reality is that the various definitions that exist of the word "kind" equally overlap with the concept of agreeableness. It's silly rhetorical hair-splitting to say Jesus was kind but was not nice, but we're only being shown a tiny decontextualized snippet of a larger argument. The whole essay is an adaptation of a book called Nice, and that book defines the "idol of niceness" as "the ways we make ourselves pleasant, agreeable, acceptable, or likable in order to get something." Clearly the author is constructing a larger rhetorical point about how "niceness" is manipulated to serve our personal interests, which I think is a good point to make, but it is going to demand ignoring the most salient sense of the word in order to promote this very specific conceptualization the author wants to promote. Suggesting Jesus' behavior falls conveniently into the specific conceptualization she has crafted to serve the rhetorical goals of her book is a rhetorical move, not an analytical one. At times Jesus was both kind and nice, and at other times he was neither. That's why I call it a silly rhetorical flourish.

We’ll have to agree to disagree on whether or not dictionaries exist.

I think it’s fine if you think it’s a silly rhetorical flourish. I personally see the blog as making an important point that specifically requires the use of the word nice. Perhaps it comes from my experience as a female, where we are often taught to be “nice” at all costs, where nice means to go along, not make waves, and put others’ needs or desires ahead of and above personal truth.

  • Like 1
Link to post
4 minutes ago, DBokovoy said:

 I've never listened to or visited any of those places.  I have a PDF version of the CES letter, and I have scanned through what is there on the Book of Mormon, but I've never read the letter.   I can't even remember how to post on a message board without making mistakes.  And even though I'm now old and out of touch, I understand the desire to reach young adults, and I have no doubt that the FAIR folks are motivated by what they see a sincere desire to save souls.   I think it's possible to reach your goals, add some humor, etc without attacking people.   

Of course I disagreed with the information presented, but Stephen Smoot did a nice job in the Book of Abraham trying to do just that.   Part of the reason it worked was because Stephen didn't tear into others, but instead used self deprecating humor, saying that he couldn't possibly explain things in a way that wouldn't put people to sleep, etc.    Daniel Peterson uses a similar humor, and I've never seen him go after people personally in the way some of these videos do.  For all of his faults, John is sincere in his desire to do what is right and help others.   I've listened to some of his podcasts, and I've heard him laugh or say something critical of apologists.  I don't like it, and I've told him, and offered feedback.  He wants it.  But I've never seen John glorify violence as a joke, and he certainly doesn't deserve to be treated that way.  

And yes, I am going to hold FAIR to a higher standard, because the organization presents itself as a Christian institution that defends the faith, and that has the answers to questions that will help people live good, spiritual lives.   FAIR presents itself as a light on a hill.  And if you're going to be that light, you have to avoid mocking others.   

But in the end, this isn't my ark to steady.  You folks are going to do what you're going to do, and the consequences will follow.  I may not believe in an interventionist God, but I do believe in Karma, and goodness.   I just wanted to offer some unsolicited friendly advice because I would like to see people in our community treating one another with greater respect.

Thank you David. I thought the Smoot video was engaging and showed promise if they could do something along those lines. It brought together an academic and some everyday type kids. I also laughed at the end of that short Kinderhook video where the Kinderhook lady said that she was glad her great grandson, the CES letter, had had more success than she ever did. I'll forego relating the many awful moments of some other stuff.  I like that, it is self-deprecating humor which Mormons are good at and I think that is where they dropped the ball. I'd like to see them pull those and redo them. But redoing is asking a lot.

  • Like 1
Link to post
29 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

That is a rational reaction.

Eh, not really.  it is not an actual emergency and what it actually needs is better software development.

...

oh, wait, I get it now

Edited by Ahab
Link to post
38 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Edit: This is not to say that every joke Kwaku and Ben make is justified, but the general movement in their direction is absolutely necessary. With all due respect to the credentialed academic denizens of this board, your work is meat and Twitter and TikTok conditions one for milk. Specifically, the milk of quick quips and attention-keeping. 

Yep. It is depressing to me, but the youth I know seem to enjoy their version of communication and they are not stupid and less informed than the teens were when I was one (iow, not much).

  • Like 2
Link to post
4 hours ago, Grant Hardy said:

The article on niceness is not as persuasive to me as Pres. Eyring's comments to FARMS several years ago.

"Because you know that the value of your work lies less in convincing and more in inviting people to seek truth by prayer, you have exemplified another virtue. You have tried to be models of kindness in your dialogue with others, especially with those with whom you disagree. You know that a spirit of contention will drive away the very influence by which they can know truth. That has led you to shun ridicule. It has led you to avoid the temptation of playing to the already converted, seeking their applause by trying to make your adversary appear the fool. It is easy to gain the laughter of an appreciative crowd who delight to see the truth defended with boldness and strength, but you have remembered that the heart you wish to touch may hear derision in that laughter and so turn away. Your civility and gentleness could bless all associations of scholars, whatever they may be studying together.”

Henry B. Eyring, "The Marketplace of Ideas," an address delivered to the annual FARMS banquet, 13 October, 1994.

I expressed similar ideas in my presentation "More Effective Apologetics" at the 2016 FairMormon Conference. I regret that the current leadership has taken a different path with the This Is The Show videos, which I fear will undermine all the good work that FairMormon has done over the years.

Bingo!

Link to post
7 minutes ago, juliann said:

I admit I don't understand it. I always demanded the academic, scholarly approach. That is how we were finally able to deal with the Evangelicals and why we don't have them overrunning our sites anymore. They couldn't counter liberal scholarship but couldn't dismiss it, either. 

But in my retirement, for the first time in decades, I am even losing interest in the intellectual side of gospel living. It takes a lot of devotion to scholarship and time to think. But there is little empty head space now with 24/7 streaming and iPhones. I am having to deal with the fact I do not meditate anymore, I go for the quick entertaining fix. Well, and grandkids. But it has taught me how arrogant and intolerant I was because other's wouldn't devote all their waking hours to what I thought was so meaningful and fascinating. 

I don't know what the solution is here, fortunately, I don't have to come up with stuff anymore. I just keep a pile of rocks ready for anybody who tries and misses. (sarcasm alert)

Never has a generation been able to hop so quickly between challenge and recreation. Most of our work is on computers. Most of our recreation is too, and the boundary between the rigorous and the relaxing is only ever as much as a Chrome tab. Our favorite media (Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok) are optimized for brief visual engagement. If you want to get something done with Gen Z (as a generalized stereotype, of course, but not without descriptive merit) you HAVE to be engaging and attention-grabbing. I find that the younger generation does place more of a premium on confrontation as well. "Get rekt", "roasted", and "they got ratio'd" are common refrains. There's definitely a attitude of aggression - youthful aggression, but its there. In my experience Gen Z comes not to bring peace, but a sword. Some might call it regressive. I'm inclined to agree, but I'm not normal. I have none of the aforementioned three social medias and grew up obsessed with old statesmanship and civics, which has led many of my own friends to call me a Boomer in a Zoomer's body. Also, that particular generation gap cannot be emphasized enough.

  • Like 3
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
50 minutes ago, Calm said:

Yep. It is depressing to me, but the youth I know seem to enjoy their version of communication and they are not stupid and less informed than the teens were when I was one (iow, not much).

I notice that most of the later generations seem better informed of what I would call more trivial/worldly issues, which I attribute to easier access to that type of information.  Junk that is seen on the news ands social media outlets.  

Imagine what life would be like if you didn't have (or didn't realize you had) access to knowledge from God and that all that you had was what you heard from everyone else in the world.  Including so-called Christians with false information about God.

 

 

Link to post
2 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

I think that this is an element of a controversy which is underexplored. This Is The Show is not a reaction to criticism from the likes of Vogel, Smith, Thomas, Larson, Bokovoy, or Townsend. It's a response to r/exmormon, Zelph on the Shelf, Missed In Sunday School, and the like. 

Speaking of Zelph on the Shelf, guess what video popped up and auto-loaded immediately after I watched the This Is the Show episode "The CES Letter is too awful for Satan"? Zelph on the Shelf's response to the "Mo Wives, Mo Problems" video. The format was simple. They just watched the video and offered their reactions in real time. I thought the Zelph on the Shelf pair came across as better human beings, and I thought their arguments were stronger. The FairMormon video, in contrast, was glib and shallow, used terrible arguments, and showed zero empathy. If I were a Gen Z kid with questions, I know which video I would prefer. Is FairMormon only trying to reach DezNat types?

Link to post
1 minute ago, Nevo said:

Speaking of Zelph on the Shelf, guess what video popped up and auto-loaded immediately after I watched the This Is the Show episode "The CES Letter is too awful for Satan"? Zelph on the Shelf's response to the "Mo Wives, Mo Problems" video. The format was simple. They just watched the video and offered their reactions in real time. I thought the Zelph on the Shelf pair came across as better human beings, and I thought their arguments were stronger. The FairMormon video, in contrast, was glib and shallow, used terrible arguments, and showed zero empathy. If I were a Gen Z kid with questions, I know which video I would prefer. Is FairMormon only trying to reach DezNat types?

They might be experimenting in that direction. A few of the prominent DezNateers who I keep tabs on are definitely amped about it. 

For what it's worth I don't have the same take on the videos as you do, as is to be expected. Argumentative soundness, like words, exists in the eye of the beholder. Or so I've come to believe as I have slipped into profound disillusionment with the fruits of philosophy and abstract dialogue. @mfbukowski has crashed into my worldview like Mehmet's cannonball into the venerable but outclassed Theodosian walls. 

This is partly why I react to the videos with less aplomb. I am unconvinced that what positive fruits may come would be more visible at this stage than the initial outcry, so I'm don't consider myself competent to render judgement. I am not confident that my metric of offensiveness is properly calibrated to judge. 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
33 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

They might be experimenting in that direction. A few of the prominent DezNateers who I keep tabs on are definitely amped about it. 

For what it's worth I don't have the same take on the videos as you do, as is to be expected. Argumentative soundness, like words, exists in the eye of the beholder. Or so I've come to believe as I have slipped into profound disillusionment with the fruits of philosophy and abstract dialogue. @mfbukowski has crashed into my worldview like Mehmet's cannonball into the venerable but outclassed Theodosian walls. 

This is partly why I react to the videos with less aplomb. I am unconvinced that what positive fruits may come would be more visible at this stage than the initial outcry, so I'm don't consider myself competent to render judgement. I am not confident that my metric of offensiveness is properly calibrated to judge. 

I do not understand the logic of the approach really- and it is an issue with which I deal daily here, and that is attempting to boil down highly complex issues and trying to present them as simple.   I kind of like that they are trying to reach a younger audience who are conditioned to this sort of approach - quick reactions to secondary or tertiary sources without, apparently, the ability or inclination or even sadly, the education, to analyze an argument rationally.

It's all rapid fire and juvenile.  But I suppose that is the only way to appeal to the audience, which is itself a very sad commentary on our culture.

The underlying assumption seems to be that if you say it louder and funnier than the guy who made the original argument, and make fun of him enough, you win despite the content of his argument.  Everything is reduced to slogans and no one analyzes it.   it's like the election- one side was portrayed  ignorant country-bumpkin deplorables and the other side as elitist communists bent on world domination to satisfy their blind lust for power at any cost.

All you had to do is make fun of the other side until you see who can dupe more of the bewildered electorate.

It's more a commentary on the sad state of our culture than anything else.   We want our information fast and cutesy and preferably delivered by a Beautiful Person, and whoever wins the cutesy award wins the debate. 

 It's philosophy as explained by Mickey Mouse.   I don't know how you combat that.

 

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 2
Link to post

I remember one Sunday, I was in a Bishopric‘s meeting, and my Bishop (I was his first counselor) said that, “I don’t like to be confrontational”. I reminded him that “there is nothing more confrontational than truth”. As we are told repeatedly in the scriptures, “the wicked taketh the truth to be hard”. Although we do not have to be unkind, we cannot take a stand for truth, without causing offense to someone, or even to many. Such was the condition that haunted the life of the early Saints, Joseph Smith and all the early Saints could have had much easier lives, only by admitting the error of their beliefs. However, holding fast to their beliefs in the restored Gospel, cost them so much, their freedom, their homes, and even their lives. We can indeed choose our words carefully, and seek to be understanding of others, but we cannot lie about our beliefs, and those beliefs “will” offend, and be seen as combative to some. 

  • Like 1
Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...