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A word about debate tactics

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#1
ajchurney

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I have greatly enjoyed my time reading, posting, and meeting folks here on worthy. There is one thing, however, that I have struggled with as of late, and I decided to start my first thread to see what everyone else feels about this. I appreciate so many of those who contribute here that I cannot think of a better place to share these thoughts and hear the responses.

In a couple of the threads, I encountered something that I believe is simply not in the spirit of Christianity. I am talking about aggressive, secular form of debating.

One of the qualities of a man (or woman) of God is that they are to be “easily entreated.” We are also not to be a disputer or bring division amongst the brethren.

I perceive that there are certain posters who are trained, either at the secondary or college level in debate rhetoric. Two of my sons participated in debates, and my older one is graduating this spring with a pre-law degree. I am a bit familiar with how this works. I will try to explain why I do not think that this has any part in the discussions of scripture here on Worthy.

The goal of debate is to win the argument…..period. The debaters are often given subjects they do not even believe in, because the important thing is HOW you argue, how you present your points, and how you tear down and discredit the views and points of your opponent. 

The only goal here at Worthy should be to use our knowledge and gifts together in a spirit of unity and love in order to arrive at actual truth. The goal of debate is to win at all costs and to be excellent at the methods to produce the win.

My concern is that some are using secular debating tactics to both defend their own positions and to tear down with ruthless disdain the views of others. One debate tactic is to ignore any good point or difficult to answer question that is posed. Instead the debater will use a diversionary tactic of picking on any small point, even something they know is absurd, in an attempt to escape from any exposure to a weakening of their own argument. The result here is to suppress truth. The point of discussing theology is not to be personally right, but to arrive at absolute truth, even if….especially if this proves me to be personally wrong! A Godly man invites and treasures correction that exposes falsehood or deception and brings in truth.

A dead giveaway that someone is in this debating spirit is that they rarely, if ever, voice real agreement with anything that is presented by one who is “against” their point of view. This kind of person only wants to find fault and criticize the one who dares to question their point of view. This is NOT in the humble and meek Spirit of Jesus Christ.  This sort of person also is not seeking to find any possible compromise or middle ground, since this could make their view partially wrong or incomplete, and therefore they do not WIN. Truth is all that matters, and none of us has all of it. Few of us have all truth on even any one subject or doctrine!

In conclusion, I want to publicly declare that I want to step out of any of this debate rhetoric that I have walked in. I also invite the posters on Worthy to hold me accountable for this if they see it working in any of my posting.

Blessings to all, Andy 



#2
other one

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Good luck in getting change....



#3
the_patriot2014

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I see what your saying, but at the same point, some secular debate methods arnt that bad-for example, secular debates require you to be able to back up your opinion-or at least should. If your presenting a case, whether on a secular college, or in a christian forum, you need to present a clear, solid argument with easily verifiable evidence, you cant just say "this is what I think believe me" you need to back it up. And also, its important to notice even the 12 didnt always agree-and it is biblical iron sharpens iron. We do need to keep it civil-to debate the topic not the person, which I am as guilty as anyone else of muddying that line and what secular debating often has reversed, but a good debate is healthy.



#4
FresnoJoe

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I have greatly enjoyed my time reading, posting, and meeting folks here on worthy.

 

There is one thing, however, that I have struggled with as of late, and I decided to start my first thread to see what everyone else feels about this.

 

I appreciate so many of those who contribute here that I cannot think of a better place to share these thoughts and hear the responses.

 

In a couple of the threads, I encountered something that I believe is simply not in the spirit of Christianity.

 

I am talking about aggressive, secular form of debating.

 

One of the qualities of a man (or woman) of God is that they are to be “easily entreated.”

 

We are also not to be a disputer or bring division amongst the brethren.

 

I perceive that there are certain posters who are trained, either at the secondary or college level in debate rhetoric.

 

Two of my sons participated in debates, and my older one is graduating this spring with a per-law degree.

 

I am a bit familiar with how this works.

 

I will try to explain why I do not think that this has any part in the discussions of scripture here on Worthy.

 

The goal of debate is to win the argument….. period.

 

The debaters are often given subjects they do not even believe in, because the important thing is HOW you argue, how you present your points, and how you tear down and discredit the views and points of your opponent. 

 

The only goal here at Worthy should be to use our knowledge and gifts together in a spirit of unity and love in order to arrive at actual truth.

 

The goal of debate is to win at all costs and to be excellent at the methods to produce the win.

 

My concern is that some are using secular debating tactics to both defend their own positions and to tear down with ruthless disdain the views of others.

 

One debate tactic is to ignore any good point or difficult to answer question that is posed.

 

Instead the debater will use a diversionary tactic of picking on any small point, even something they know is absurd, in an attempt to escape from any exposure to a weakening of their own argument.

 

The result here is to suppress truth.

 

The point of discussing theology is not to be personally right, but to arrive at absolute truth, even if….especially if this proves me to be personally wrong!

 

A Godly man invites and treasures correction that exposes falsehood or deception and brings in truth.

 

A dead giveaway that someone is in this debating spirit is that they rarely, if ever, voice real agreement with anything that is presented by one who is “against” their point of view.

 

This kind of person only wants to find fault and criticize the one who dares to question their point of view.

 

This is NOT in the humble and meek Spirit of Jesus Christ. 

 

This sort of person also is not seeking to find any possible compromise or middle ground, since this could make their view partially wrong or incomplete, and therefore they do not WIN.

 

Truth is all that matters, and none of us has all of it.

 

Few of us have all truth on even any one subject or doctrine!

 

In conclusion, I want to publicly declare that I want to step out of any of this debate rhetoric that I have walked in.

 

I also invite the posters on Worthy to hold me accountable for this if they see it working in any of my posting.

 

:thumbsup:

 

The Ten Commandments of Online Witnessing

 

http://www.worthychr...ine-witnessing/

 

~

 

Fellowship

 

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. Psalms 133:1-3

 

And The Catharses

 

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17

 

Of

 

Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. Psalms 119:160

 

True Discussions

 

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 1:3-4

 

And Of The Truth

 

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17

 

And Love

 

But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 1 Thessalonians 3:7



#5
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I've learned a lot over the years especially on forums. If you're debating a topic that's been scrutinized over centuries, it's best to just walk away. You can debate, but as the better person we should know when we've gone too far. We should know when to stop. Examples are hell-fire, soul sleep and debating with atheists and trolls. It's not even worth going down that road anymore. It's hard to walk away, but if you can then do it. You will save time, energy and many aspirin tablets. The one thing I've learned is that Christians plant the seed and God draws them in. If you've planted the seed then you've done your part. There's no need to prove them wrong until your brain leaks out of your head, lol. A good thing to remember is that they hold on to their beliefs as strongly as you do, and it's also the internet so... there's always a place to hide. - DRS81



#6
ajchurney

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Thanks for the comments so far guys!

OtherOne...yes it feels like the kid throwing one of thousands of starfish back in the ocean (I trust you know the reference). Yet, if one is helped it is worth the effort!

Also, I clarify that some aspects of organized debate are useful. I merely want to expose some of the tactics that are not.

David, I totally agree that a wise man knows when to simply walk away!

Fresno...on point as always bringing the word squarely to bear!



#7
Qnts2

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I have greatly enjoyed my time reading, posting, and meeting folks here on worthy. There is one thing, however, that I have struggled with as of late, and I decided to start my first thread to see what everyone else feels about this. I appreciate so many of those who contribute here that I cannot think of a better place to share these thoughts and hear the responses.

In a couple of the threads, I encountered something that I believe is simply not in the spirit of Christianity. I am talking about aggressive, secular form of debating.

One of the qualities of a man (or woman) of God is that they are to be “easily entreated.” We are also not to be a disputer or bring division amongst the brethren.

I perceive that there are certain posters who are trained, either at the secondary or college level in debate rhetoric. Two of my sons participated in debates, and my older one is graduating this spring with a pre-law degree. I am a bit familiar with how this works. I will try to explain why I do not think that this has any part in the discussions of scripture here on Worthy.

The goal of debate is to win the argument…..period. The debaters are often given subjects they do not even believe in, because the important thing is HOW you argue, how you present your points, and how you tear down and discredit the views and points of your opponent. 

The only goal here at Worthy should be to use our knowledge and gifts together in a spirit of unity and love in order to arrive at actual truth. The goal of debate is to win at all costs and to be excellent at the methods to produce the win.

My concern is that some are using secular debating tactics to both defend their own positions and to tear down with ruthless disdain the views of others. One debate tactic is to ignore any good point or difficult to answer question that is posed. Instead the debater will use a diversionary tactic of picking on any small point, even something they know is absurd, in an attempt to escape from any exposure to a weakening of their own argument. The result here is to suppress truth. The point of discussing theology is not to be personally right, but to arrive at absolute truth, even if….especially if this proves me to be personally wrong! A Godly man invites and treasures correction that exposes falsehood or deception and brings in truth.

A dead giveaway that someone is in this debating spirit is that they rarely, if ever, voice real agreement with anything that is presented by one who is “against” their point of view. This kind of person only wants to find fault and criticize the one who dares to question their point of view. This is NOT in the humble and meek Spirit of Jesus Christ.  This sort of person also is not seeking to find any possible compromise or middle ground, since this could make their view partially wrong or incomplete, and therefore they do not WIN. Truth is all that matters, and none of us has all of it. Few of us have all truth on even any one subject or doctrine!

In conclusion, I want to publicly declare that I want to step out of any of this debate rhetoric that I have walked in. I also invite the posters on Worthy to hold me accountable for this if they see it working in any of my posting.

Blessings to all, Andy 

 

In the NT, I see a particular style of debate used. In Judaism, the method of teaching is quite a bit different. In a Jewish home, the parents (or just the father), will bring up a point, and the children will offer their opinion. The parent and child then debates. When done, parent and child either exchange positions, or select different positions. This is a teaching method to help the child think thru a topic to arrive at the best conclusion. It is teaching an analytical method to learn.

 

At the time of Jesus, and later, Rabbis would enter into these kinds of debates, offering many possible understandings of scripture, to arrive at the most likely option of what scripture means. One of the more interesting debates is to consider the Messianic prophesies in the OT, and propose what to expect when the Messiah comes. Such as, how can scripture indicate the Messiah would triumphantly defeat all of Israel enemies, and rule from Jerusalem, and the scripture also speaks of the Messiahs death. How can both be true. Of course they did not have the NT, so they offered all kinds of different possibilities for both to be true in these debates. Other debates are longer, and far less interesting, such as if there is to be no work on the Sabbath, and a person can not carry a burden thru the gate of a walled city on the Sabbath, if you are outside the gate and have an apple, and someone is inside the gate and needs the apple, yet the person outside can not carry the 'burden' thru the gate, can they throw the apple thru the gate? Can the person inside reach their arm outside and take the apple from the outside persons hand? Boring, but when a person is trying to keep the Mosaic law given by God, such considerations do come up.  

 

So, debating can be an educational tool, and might be cultural. Jewish families and people who debate for fun and education, can appear to have heated debates, and when it is done, go out to have a meal together as friends.    



#8
kwikphilly

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Blessings ajchurney!

     God Bless you,dear Brother in Christ......let us praise & give all Glory to God!I understand what you are saying & sometimes as I read it literally breaks my heart to witness some debates that are clearly out of control........but not everyone is at the same level of maturity at the same time & many are not walking in spirit & in truth & respond "in the flesh"..........there are so many different people with different personalities & all we really can do is be accountable for our own actions & hope to bring that lovely Spirit of Love & Peace to grace these forums by our walk with Christ and remembering Who it is we represent...

      I personally do not believe there is any reason to ever"debate" but lots of reason to "discuss"and "reason together" to hopefully grow and learn from one another...........and as far as the debates I see between believers & non-believers & don't see how any good fruit can come from arguing,,,,,,I know exactly what you are saying when you see personal attacks,arrogant ,prideful assualts & accusations and all I can say is ....again....lets be accountable for ourselves & do our best to depend on the Holy Spirit to use us & to always give God the Glory!

       I have turned the cheek on many occasion but only because of Christ in me,I hope & pray that it encourages others to do all things in "love"..........Let us continue in prayer that this ministry be effective in doing Gods Will & that this Worthy Family grow in love & unity as the Body of Christ & be a light for all to see

                                                                                                                                           With love-in Christ,Kwik



#9
ajchurney

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I have greatly enjoyed my time reading, posting, and meeting folks here on worthy. There is one thing, however, that I have struggled with as of late, and I decided to start my first thread to see what everyone else feels about this. I appreciate so many of those who contribute here that I cannot think of a better place to share these thoughts and hear the responses.

In a couple of the threads, I encountered something that I believe is simply not in the spirit of Christianity. I am talking about aggressive, secular form of debating.

One of the qualities of a man (or woman) of God is that they are to be “easily entreated.” We are also not to be a disputer or bring division amongst the brethren.

I perceive that there are certain posters who are trained, either at the secondary or college level in debate rhetoric. Two of my sons participated in debates, and my older one is graduating this spring with a pre-law degree. I am a bit familiar with how this works. I will try to explain why I do not think that this has any part in the discussions of scripture here on Worthy.

The goal of debate is to win the argument…..period. The debaters are often given subjects they do not even believe in, because the important thing is HOW you argue, how you present your points, and how you tear down and discredit the views and points of your opponent. 

The only goal here at Worthy should be to use our knowledge and gifts together in a spirit of unity and love in order to arrive at actual truth. The goal of debate is to win at all costs and to be excellent at the methods to produce the win.

My concern is that some are using secular debating tactics to both defend their own positions and to tear down with ruthless disdain the views of others. One debate tactic is to ignore any good point or difficult to answer question that is posed. Instead the debater will use a diversionary tactic of picking on any small point, even something they know is absurd, in an attempt to escape from any exposure to a weakening of their own argument. The result here is to suppress truth. The point of discussing theology is not to be personally right, but to arrive at absolute truth, even if….especially if this proves me to be personally wrong! A Godly man invites and treasures correction that exposes falsehood or deception and brings in truth.

A dead giveaway that someone is in this debating spirit is that they rarely, if ever, voice real agreement with anything that is presented by one who is “against” their point of view. This kind of person only wants to find fault and criticize the one who dares to question their point of view. This is NOT in the humble and meek Spirit of Jesus Christ.  This sort of person also is not seeking to find any possible compromise or middle ground, since this could make their view partially wrong or incomplete, and therefore they do not WIN. Truth is all that matters, and none of us has all of it. Few of us have all truth on even any one subject or doctrine!

In conclusion, I want to publicly declare that I want to step out of any of this debate rhetoric that I have walked in. I also invite the posters on Worthy to hold me accountable for this if they see it working in any of my posting.

Blessings to all, Andy 

 

In the NT, I see a particular style of debate used. In Judaism, the method of teaching is quite a bit different. In a Jewish home, the parents (or just the father), will bring up a point, and the children will offer their opinion. The parent and child then debates. When done, parent and child either exchange positions, or select different positions. This is a teaching method to help the child think thru a topic to arrive at the best conclusion. It is teaching an analytical method to learn.

 

At the time of Jesus, and later, Rabbis would enter into these kinds of debates, offering many possible understandings of scripture, to arrive at the most likely option of what scripture means. One of the more interesting debates is to consider the Messianic prophesies in the OT, and propose what to expect when the Messiah comes. Such as, how can scripture indicate the Messiah would triumphantly defeat all of Israel enemies, and rule from Jerusalem, and the scripture also speaks of the Messiahs death. How can both be true. Of course they did not have the NT, so they offered all kinds of different possibilities for both to be true in these debates. Other debates are longer, and far less interesting, such as if there is to be no work on the Sabbath, and a person can not carry a burden thru the gate of a walled city on the Sabbath, if you are outside the gate and have an apple, and someone is inside the gate and needs the apple, yet the person outside can not carry the 'burden' thru the gate, can they throw the apple thru the gate? Can the person inside reach their arm outside and take the apple from the outside persons hand? Boring, but when a person is trying to keep the Mosaic law given by God, such considerations do come up.  

 

So, debating can be an educational tool, and might be cultural. Jewish families and people who debate for fun and education, can appear to have heated debates, and when it is done, go out to have a meal together as friends.    

 

Wasn't this called "Yeshiva" or similar? A friend of mine loved this kind of debate. Here again, I am only cautioning against certain tactics that suppress the truth instead of drawing it forth, not healthy forms or aspects of debate. Thanks Qnts2. This is the first post of yours I have read. Bless you!



#10
ajchurney

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Blessings ajchurney!

     God Bless you,dear Brother in Christ......let us praise & give all Glory to God!I understand what you are saying & sometimes as I read it literally breaks my heart to witness some debates that are clearly out of control........but not everyone is at the same level of maturity at the same time & many are not walking in spirit & in truth & respond "in the flesh"..........there are so many different people with different personalities & all we really can do is be accountable for our own actions & hope to bring that lovely Spirit of Love & Peace to grace these forums by our walk with Christ and remembering Who it is we represent...

      I personally do not believe there is any reason to ever"debate" but lots of reason to "discuss"and "reason together" to hopefully grow and learn from one another...........and as far as the debates I see between believers & non-believers & don't see how any good fruit can come from arguing,,,,,,I know exactly what you are saying when you see personal attacks,arrogant ,prideful assualts & accusations and all I can say is ....again....lets be accountable for ourselves & do our best to depend on the Holy Spirit to use us & to always give God the Glory!

       I have turned the cheek on many occasion but only because of Christ in me,I hope & pray that it encourages others to do all things in "love"..........Let us continue in prayer that this ministry be effective in doing Gods Will & that this Worthy Family grow in love & unity as the Body of Christ & be a light for all to see

                                                                                                                                           With love-in Christ,Kwik

Thanks Kwik!!

You clarify the heart of the matter, and I definitely agree that many do not understand walking in spirit and truth. We can have ALL knowledge, but without love.......



#11
kwikphilly

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Blessings ajchurney

     God clarifies the heart of ALL matters,to Him be the Glory.I just want to tell you that I am glad you are here......it is a pleasure to meet you & keep on posting & speaking with "love"..........it is highly contagious,Praise the Lord!

                                                                                                                          With love-in Christ,Kwik



#12
JustinM

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Some people don't want to win the debate, they just don't their opponent to win.  It stems from vanity and pride and isn't edifying for the Church.



#13
ajchurney

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Some people don't want to win the debate, they just don't their opponent to win.  It stems from vanity and pride and isn't edifying for the Church.

My brother is a lt. colonel in the army reserves. My other brother was a navy seal in vietnam. My Father was a ww2 vet and 10 years in the Navy. I appreciate your service to our country and pray you are a great light to your fellow soldiers. God bless you, Andy



#14
OneLight

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Back in 2011, a brother posted on debating, which can be found in the Welcome Forum, pinned.  He links to this site, which I found it good advice.

 

http://www.paulnoll....ate-advice.html

 

For real debates, we have the Soap Box forum where one on one debating goes on, which is moderated by the board Servants.



#15
Qnts2

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I have greatly enjoyed my time reading, posting, and meeting folks here on worthy. There is one thing, however, that I have struggled with as of late, and I decided to start my first thread to see what everyone else feels about this. I appreciate so many of those who contribute here that I cannot think of a better place to share these thoughts and hear the responses.

In a couple of the threads, I encountered something that I believe is simply not in the spirit of Christianity. I am talking about aggressive, secular form of debating.

One of the qualities of a man (or woman) of God is that they are to be “easily entreated.” We are also not to be a disputer or bring division amongst the brethren.

I perceive that there are certain posters who are trained, either at the secondary or college level in debate rhetoric. Two of my sons participated in debates, and my older one is graduating this spring with a pre-law degree. I am a bit familiar with how this works. I will try to explain why I do not think that this has any part in the discussions of scripture here on Worthy.

The goal of debate is to win the argument…..period. The debaters are often given subjects they do not even believe in, because the important thing is HOW you argue, how you present your points, and how you tear down and discredit the views and points of your opponent. 

The only goal here at Worthy should be to use our knowledge and gifts together in a spirit of unity and love in order to arrive at actual truth. The goal of debate is to win at all costs and to be excellent at the methods to produce the win.

My concern is that some are using secular debating tactics to both defend their own positions and to tear down with ruthless disdain the views of others. One debate tactic is to ignore any good point or difficult to answer question that is posed. Instead the debater will use a diversionary tactic of picking on any small point, even something they know is absurd, in an attempt to escape from any exposure to a weakening of their own argument. The result here is to suppress truth. The point of discussing theology is not to be personally right, but to arrive at absolute truth, even if….especially if this proves me to be personally wrong! A Godly man invites and treasures correction that exposes falsehood or deception and brings in truth.

A dead giveaway that someone is in this debating spirit is that they rarely, if ever, voice real agreement with anything that is presented by one who is “against” their point of view. This kind of person only wants to find fault and criticize the one who dares to question their point of view. This is NOT in the humble and meek Spirit of Jesus Christ.  This sort of person also is not seeking to find any possible compromise or middle ground, since this could make their view partially wrong or incomplete, and therefore they do not WIN. Truth is all that matters, and none of us has all of it. Few of us have all truth on even any one subject or doctrine!

In conclusion, I want to publicly declare that I want to step out of any of this debate rhetoric that I have walked in. I also invite the posters on Worthy to hold me accountable for this if they see it working in any of my posting.

Blessings to all, Andy 

 

In the NT, I see a particular style of debate used. In Judaism, the method of teaching is quite a bit different. In a Jewish home, the parents (or just the father), will bring up a point, and the children will offer their opinion. The parent and child then debates. When done, parent and child either exchange positions, or select different positions. This is a teaching method to help the child think thru a topic to arrive at the best conclusion. It is teaching an analytical method to learn.

 

At the time of Jesus, and later, Rabbis would enter into these kinds of debates, offering many possible understandings of scripture, to arrive at the most likely option of what scripture means. One of the more interesting debates is to consider the Messianic prophesies in the OT, and propose what to expect when the Messiah comes. Such as, how can scripture indicate the Messiah would triumphantly defeat all of Israel enemies, and rule from Jerusalem, and the scripture also speaks of the Messiahs death. How can both be true. Of course they did not have the NT, so they offered all kinds of different possibilities for both to be true in these debates. Other debates are longer, and far less interesting, such as if there is to be no work on the Sabbath, and a person can not carry a burden thru the gate of a walled city on the Sabbath, if you are outside the gate and have an apple, and someone is inside the gate and needs the apple, yet the person outside can not carry the 'burden' thru the gate, can they throw the apple thru the gate? Can the person inside reach their arm outside and take the apple from the outside persons hand? Boring, but when a person is trying to keep the Mosaic law given by God, such considerations do come up.  

 

So, debating can be an educational tool, and might be cultural. Jewish families and people who debate for fun and education, can appear to have heated debates, and when it is done, go out to have a meal together as friends.    

 

Wasn't this called "Yeshiva" or similar? A friend of mine loved this kind of debate. Here again, I am only cautioning against certain tactics that suppress the truth instead of drawing it forth, not healthy forms or aspects of debate. Thanks Qnts2. This is the first post of yours I have read. Bless you!

 

 

A Yeshiva is a school, and literally means sitting. It comes from the idea that students are sitting during formal education.   Pilpul is one form of debate or thought when learning the Talmud. But debate is simply a typical method of learning as it engages the students in thought and participaton.  

 

I mentioned this because I have experienced Messianic Jews entering into heated debates, enjoying the exchange of ideas, and Messianic Gentiles becoming upset by what they view as arguing and contention. It is a cultural difference and therefore perceived differently.



#16
nebula

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. . .

 

In a couple of the threads, I encountered something that I believe is simply not in the spirit of Christianity. I am talking about aggressive, secular form of debating. ...

 

I perceive that there are certain posters who are trained, either at the secondary or college level in debate rhetoric. ...

 

The goal of debate is to win the argument…..period. ... The goal of debate is to win at all costs and to be excellent at the methods to produce the win.

 

My concern is that some are using secular debating tactics to both defend their own positions and to tear down with ruthless disdain the views of others. One debate tactic is to ignore any good point or difficult to answer question that is posed. Instead the debater will use a diversionary tactic of picking on any small point, even something they know is absurd, in an attempt to escape from any exposure to a weakening of their own argument. ...


A dead giveaway that someone is in this debating spirit is that they rarely, if ever, voice real agreement with anything that is presented by one who is “against” their point of view. This kind of person only wants to find fault and criticize the one who dares to question their point of view.

 

Using demeaning words and phrases that tear down the opponent or make fun of the oppent's position are others.

 

 

I'll be honest, there are many debates I engage in where I have every reason to believe the opposing position is dead wrong.

 

Case in point, when a Muslim comes on board and challenges us with passages that they interpret to mean that Jesus is not God incarnate. It takes a very patient person to walk through a reasonal debate against such a one as this who has an agenda and has no intentions of changing.

 

Now, I know you are talking about debates between believers, but I used something we can all agree on as being a lie to emphasize the difficulty in this "debating to discover the truth" method rather than "debating to win your position."



#17
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I have greatly enjoyed my time reading, posting, and meeting folks here on worthy. There is one thing, however, that I have struggled with as of late, and I decided to start my first thread to see what everyone else feels about this. I appreciate so many of those who contribute here that I cannot think of a better place to share these thoughts and hear the responses.
In a couple of the threads, I encountered something that I believe is simply not in the spirit of Christianity. I am talking about aggressive, secular form of debating.
One of the qualities of a man (or woman) of God is that they are to be “easily entreated.” We are also not to be a disputer or bring division amongst the brethren.
I perceive that there are certain posters who are trained, either at the secondary or college level in debate rhetoric. Two of my sons participated in debates, and my older one is graduating this spring with a pre-law degree. I am a bit familiar with how this works. I will try to explain why I do not think that this has any part in the discussions of scripture here on Worthy.
The goal of debate is to win the argument…..period. The debaters are often given subjects they do not even believe in, because the important thing is HOW you argue, how you present your points, and how you tear down and discredit the views and points of your opponent. 
The only goal here at Worthy should be to use our knowledge and gifts together in a spirit of unity and love in order to arrive at actual truth. The goal of debate is to win at all costs and to be excellent at the methods to produce the win.
My concern is that some are using secular debating tactics to both defend their own positions and to tear down with ruthless disdain the views of others. One debate tactic is to ignore any good point or difficult to answer question that is posed. Instead the debater will use a diversionary tactic of picking on any small point, even something they know is absurd, in an attempt to escape from any exposure to a weakening of their own argument. The result here is to suppress truth. The point of discussing theology is not to be personally right, but to arrive at absolute truth, even if….especially if this proves me to be personally wrong! A Godly man invites and treasures correction that exposes falsehood or deception and brings in truth.
A dead giveaway that someone is in this debating spirit is that they rarely, if ever, voice real agreement with anything that is presented by one who is “against” their point of view. This kind of person only wants to find fault and criticize the one who dares to question their point of view. This is NOT in the humble and meek Spirit of Jesus Christ.  This sort of person also is not seeking to find any possible compromise or middle ground, since this could make their view partially wrong or incomplete, and therefore they do not WIN. Truth is all that matters, and none of us has all of it. Few of us have all truth on even any one subject or doctrine!
In conclusion, I want to publicly declare that I want to step out of any of this debate rhetoric that I have walked in. I also invite the posters on Worthy to hold me accountable for this if they see it working in any of my posting.
Blessings to all, Andy

 
In the NT, I see a particular style of debate used. In Judaism, the method of teaching is quite a bit different. In a Jewish home, the parents (or just the father), will bring up a point, and the children will offer their opinion. The parent and child then debates. When done, parent and child either exchange positions, or select different positions. This is a teaching method to help the child think thru a topic to arrive at the best conclusion. It is teaching an analytical method to learn.
 
At the time of Jesus, and later, Rabbis would enter into these kinds of debates, offering many possible understandings of scripture, to arrive at the most likely option of what scripture means. One of the more interesting debates is to consider the Messianic prophesies in the OT, and propose what to expect when the Messiah comes. Such as, how can scripture indicate the Messiah would triumphantly defeat all of Israel enemies, and rule from Jerusalem, and the scripture also speaks of the Messiahs death. How can both be true. Of course they did not have the NT, so they offered all kinds of different possibilities for both to be true in these debates. Other debates are longer, and far less interesting, such as if there is to be no work on the Sabbath, and a person can not carry a burden thru the gate of a walled city on the Sabbath, if you are outside the gate and have an apple, and someone is inside the gate and needs the apple, yet the person outside can not carry the 'burden' thru the gate, can they throw the apple thru the gate? Can the person inside reach their arm outside and take the apple from the outside persons hand? Boring, but when a person is trying to keep the Mosaic law given by God, such considerations do come up.  
 
So, debating can be an educational tool, and might be cultural. Jewish families and people who debate for fun and education, can appear to have heated debates, and when it is done, go out to have a meal together as friends.



Really insightful response!

#18
nebula

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Another way of expressing the same thing, but it relates, and has a unique perspective on it, so I'm sharing here:

 

Some people want to know “theology” or glean insights from the Scriptures not for the sake of serving God, but as a way to feel good about themselves, to flatter their egos, etc. We have to examine our motives. Do you really want to know the truth, and if so, why? Are you able to get beyond your own self-interest to hear what the Spirit might be saying? What do you hope to do with revelation that may be disclosed to you? Do you seek to know for the sake of making something of yourself, or perhaps to make you feel superior to others? Do you think of truth as a weapon to prove that you are right rather than as the means of living a life of righteousness? Take account of your motives. “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Gal. 6:3). To seek the truth for the sake of feeding the ego misses the point and can lead to self-deception.... Knowledge and truth are essential, of course, but if they are not employed in the service of love – to build up others, to bring healing, hope, and kindness – then they can be dangers to the spiritual life. “If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know” (1 Cor. 8:2). True spiritual knowledge is grounded in humility that is expressed in acts of love.

 

https://www.facebook...ans/56347292809

 

(emphasis mine)



#19
Tolken

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Nebula - I have been off the forums for at least 7 years or more, and it was a somewhat difficult addiction to overcome.  I had been on another "Christian" forum and was astounded at the vitriol spewed on a constant basis, most especially in the political forums.  I confess that in time I was quite capable of matching the dismissive, sarcastic, and mocking replies as in "fighting fire with fire". After so much time I decided to give it another try... went to my previous "playground" and read sufficient posts to realize that nothing had changed.  So here I am at Worthy.

 

I will suggest that way back when I was involved on a number of boards including "infidels" I witnessed little difference between "Christian" sites and "Atheist" sites in terms of tone.  In fact there were many non-believers that exhibited much more gracious attitudes. (In fact I recall on one post defending "faith" as a superior position when evidence can not be fully realized and though dismissed strongly by some quite a few "Atheists" gave credence to a "faith" position.)  The point being that in my past experience I've seen little difference between believers and non-believers.

 

Perhaps it is a blessing that all of my notes from past interactions are at present not to be found and so a clean beginning. I do believe that we should be able to defend those positions on which we base our views in matters peripheral to the foundational unerring tenets of orthodoxy.  Though with respect we should engage in discussion and be open to various positions I still hold to Chesterton's "Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid".   Blessings........ 



#20
ajchurney

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Welcome back Tolken! It seems you share my desire for a truly Christian form of debate and discussion. 

Bless you, Andy






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