Re: The Wheel of God

Date: Thu Aug 09 2001 - 01:13:11 EDT

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    ----- Original Message -----
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    Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2001 8:53 PM
    Subject: Re: The Wheel of God

    > While I've been trying to stay out of this fray (and maybe should continue
    > do so), I think I can add a possibly helpful observation.
    > Richard, I think you need to be aware of how you are coming across on this
    > forum, because it is hindering your chances of being heard. Your posts
    > the *tone* of the typical Internet crackpot (please note that I am not
    > your ideas themselves are crackpottish). You claim to have discovered some
    > brilliant self-evident truth, and all those who express skepticism are
    > treated as though they are blithering blind idiots. Blasts, complete with
    > shouting, like "Where, oh where, is your defense against my DESTRUCTION of
    > you argument?" only make you sound arrogant and immature.

    Thanks for the correction!

    I will be the first to admit my shortcomings. They are plain for all to see.
    It reminds me of a quote I read in the Wall Street Journal opinion page a
    couple weeks ago that said "the problem with absoute truth is that it tends
    to throw humans into homicidal rages." While I don't think I went quite that
    far, I do admit that my style failed to faithfully convey my true thoughts
    and feelings. Therefore, I am the victim of my own vice.

    You are absolutely right about my attitude, and I will continue to work on
    that character flaw. It is sad to think about how much I edited out before I
    sent the note. I think part of it was the frustration that George said he
    was quitting the discussion right at the point of what I really do believe
    is a valid proof that his argument fails. Unfortunately, it is an only too
    human fact that one often shouts when he feels he is not being heard. This
    is particularly ludicrous when the reason is because the people speak a
    different language. I once saw a man shout louder and louder when a Spanish
    speaking Mexican couldn't understand his English!

    But I think it is very important to note the tone with which I entered the
    conversation, and the tone with which I usually opened and closed my posts.
    I frequently gave thanks to George for taking time to discuss this, and
    ended my second post with these words:

    Shalom to you George. I pray my response will not seem harsh. I greatly
    value intelligent criticism.

    Does that sound like the tone of an Internet crank?

    And again, when he, in his very first post, gave no recognition of any kind
    that there was anything of value in what I had to offer, I ultimately
    responded with these words:

    Of course, I think you are probably right -- a lot of my style is
    dangerously misleading. E.g. I am not a fundamentalist, but who could tell
    that from my web site? And for that matter, I don't even assert inerrancy in
    the ordinary sense. This lack of presentational clarity probably arose
    because I have studied this topic for about ten years and have only now
    begun to find intelligent interaction. That is why I TRULY value this
    discussion! Please be patient with me.

    And how did George respond to this? He utterly ignored it! Here is a man
    (me) who lays down the sword in the midst of a heated debate, and offers a
    statement of his shortcomings in the hopes of engendering a recognition of
    our common shortcomings, and he doesn't notice and you say my attitude

    Man oh man ... this is not as easy as I had hoped.

    And that reminds me of my first response to George, after he said he was
    sorry for what was going to be a "rude" welcome to the group. What did I do?
    I opened my post with a reasonably funny joke and closed it with thanks. I
    tried to lighten the conversation and bring forth a sense of human
    fellowship, but he never recipricated.

    I think the real issue is that my thesis is truly radical, rational, and
    revelational. To talk about such things online inevitably carries the air of
    crankiness, since such is the daily fair of small minded delusional folks.
    So I think my true failure is that I did not adequately guard against that.
    Rest assured, I am working on it, and am greatly pleased to receive your
    criticism! I need it and I want it. Please note again that in the posts to
    George, I admitted exactly this, and told him how I had failed. He
    completely disregarded that point when I laid the sword down and he offered
    no right hand of fellowship, disregarding the fact that I was offering him
    peace in the midst of the battle, hoping he would respond. And so I lifted
    up my sword again.

    Now let me respond to your assertion that I treat those who express
    skepticism as "blithering blind idiots." Please offer a few examples from
    anything I wrote except the last exceptional post, when my battle fever was
    so high. I try to never speak of individuals, only their arguments. And I
    tried to defeat the arguments with plain logic. When I found that the
    information I presented to be ignored, then yes, I did point to it again,
    and with (perhaps too much) emphasis. But fundametnally, I think the reason
    they looked like blithering idiots, if in fact they did, was simply because
    of the power of my arguments.

    Of course, you also must remeber that the tone goes both ways, as I am sure
    you have noted. The first words I received were "Sorry if this seems rude
    ..." and then a lot of dismissive arguments that were not worth their salt.

    >Your last post to
    > George Murphy had the tone of a teenager bragging to his friends about how
    > stupid his little sister is. George Murphy probably has some things wrong
    > we all do), but he is not stupid.

    I never called him stupid, and if he looked so to you, I would suggest the
    cause to be his own obstinant rejection of the rather obvious destruction of
    his argument.

    BTW -- do you acknowledge that he never even attempted to defend my fatal
    attack on his fundamental argument?

    > If you want to be listened to and sharpened by productive discussion
    > than ignored as just another obnoxious crackpot), grace and humility and
    > respect for your listeners are key. I know those are not the typical
    > of Internet discussions, but they should be in a Christian forum.

    I agree completely, and pray that with help from people like you and from
    the God of all grace, I will become a closer image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Thank you very much for you criticism.


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