I have to agree with Reed here. After reading his long winded post I was duly ashamed (well, maybe a little less than that) of my aggressive behavior towards the intellectually challenged. Lets think about another word for a moment: "Condescending"
The word condescending is associated with "talking down to" in my mind. The question is: Is "condescending" an interpretation of the listener only, the speaker only, or some combination of both. I suppose like all communication, it is the senders responsibility to present communication in a way that can be understood by his audience. Tone has an awful lot to do with interpretation - but cannot always be faithfully reproduced in writing. l As we are all very different emotionally, there is no real way to be sure if someone is being an ass, or just honest. When I read Reed's post, I felt that he was simply stating that something obvious, thought out, honest and objective.
I agree that the verbal bludgeoning some of us hand out can seem cruel and abusive - but I do not subscribe to the notion that "My rights end where your feelings begin". Generally I try to maintain a kind and honest approach to a first time "the Xtian or any other God is real" poster. If they are aggressive, I am more aggressive and cutting. If they are reasonable and questioning, then I reply in kind. If they post evidence to support their claims, I look at it and try to be objective regarding the evidence. This is my duty to all posters here.
I must be honest too - I like an argument. I like an argument even when there is no possibility of changing the other person's mind. I like to be wrong when it improves my understanding and I like to be right when the discussion is about a subject for which I have prepared. Most people, statistically speaking, cannot change their views on religion due to the brain washing they have received all their lives. It would be like asking someone raised with English to spontaneously start speaking latin. It is beyond their capabilities. In cases like this, the only hope I see of making any headway, is to cause them to question their beliefs without retreating to "because the bible says so". The only way I can think of to achieve this with those who cannot reason past faith is to pit their ability and desire to reason against their faith - and put them into an emotional state that is distressing. Resolution will be high in the minds of those that need reason for stability. As for those that just prefer "faith" I have no need of them, and little respect for them. (This is not to say that I don't respect their rights). These are the people I fear. These are the people like Steve Largent, and Jesse Helmes - who feel that they need to force their moral viewpoint upon the population under threat of imprisonment. These are the people who throw gays in jail - in some cases for up to 20 years, for sodomy. These are the people who try to force English on every American by law. These people want Xtianity forced on our children in public schools, fight against education reform, think single motherhood is a sin and put them on the streets when possible. These people use "god" as a rallying cry for war, a whipping stick for women, shackles for us atheists, and cages for very minor drug offenders.
It is my duty as a loving, caring and thinking American to help protect the constitution and every American living under it. This means at the very least that I need to stand in the way of anyone attempting to oppress. I am a card carrying, dues paying member of the ACLU, I donate heavily to Planned Parenthood and a local children's center. I come close to "faith" in my belief that freedom of body and mind are the most precious of gifts.
So basically I think that sometimes reason is a weapon, the only one we have. But like a real weapon - it needs to be used as such only when the time calls for it.
-----Original Message----- From: Reed Konsler [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 1999 9:54 AM To: email@example.com Subject: virus: :-)
>From: Bob Hartwig <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re: virus: Why does everybody love Oprah?
>Don't worry, it wasn't your imagination. I'd like to
take this opportunity
>to nominate Reed's posts as the condescending
sanctimonious diatribe of the
Well, given the traffic on this list, I have to take that as a compliment. Thanks.
>>>No, I don't think you're anything like that. I think
you're a very good
>>>hearted person trying to help people around you. The
other stuff is just
>>>a protective shell you don't need anymore.
>Somebody get me a bucket.
Why is it so hard for you to believe I mean that? Do I have to package it in layers of sarcasm and self-referential bullshit to make it palatable? What ever happened to old-fashioned direct honesty? Reed --------------------------------------------------------------------- Reed Konsler