There seems to be debates all over the place. In the public square ideas often come into conflict with one another. Differing sides continue to fight and disagree with one another across all domains of society. People fight about politics, family, marriage, theology, economics, morality, and the list goes on and on. Unfortunatly our sensational media saturated culture of 30-second news clips and 140-chracter tweets, although the division is highlighted, there is little to no real discussion over the issues. Issues like theology and morality are crucial issues.
Differences over such fundamental issues need to be debated and discussed. However although we watch on news networks of two people fighting over an issue constantly, there are little honest arguments presented by each side. Rather than delving into deep issues so as the worldview presupositions each side brings to the table, you just see people attack each other. Our brief attention spans don’t want real discussion, we just want ad hominem arguments.
Ad hominem is a logical falacy in which you attack the man rather than his ideas. We see this all the time in newspapers, blog posts, and video clips. Rather than dealing with the issue we digress into drivelous name calling that is neither helpful or deals with the issues. These fallacious arguments come across as emotionally riviting but all they do is distract and distort the real conversations.
I’ll give you some examples we encounter all the time.
- Democrats are all socialist
- Calvinists don’t believe in sharing the Gospel.
- Arminians are all universalists.
- Republicans hate women and don’t care about the poor.
- Atheists are evil immmoral people.
- Evangelicals hate homosexuals
- Muslims are all terrorists
You see all these examples attack a particular group or person without ever addressing any of their arguments. All it does is demonstrate our own ignorance of those who disagree with us, and proves we are unable to actually think and defend our position. Rather than a real discussion about real issues, the conversation degenerates to 1st grade name calling. We need to learn down and really engage with those who disagree with us. However a real conversation about real issues can’t happen in a 30 second news clip. A real conversation means taking the time to listen, reflect, understand, then respond.
The issues debated in our age are much to important to distract with abusive ad hominem arguments. Real issues and difference require honest discussion. So lets cut out the name calling and start actually thinking.