Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I could be arguing in my spare time...

I am still visiting the smoldering remains of several blogs where people are discussing the same old topics they started to discuss five or six years ago during the heyday of the Jblogosphere. It doesn't feel like the arguments have progressed at all, but now it feels like they have gotten more efficient. It reminds me of the joke about the prisoners calling out numbers.

If nothing else, the blogs have inspired a certain sub-group of people to become quite proficient in rhetoric, logic, theology, ancient history, etc... These people are (I assume) for the most part laymen, yet they fire back at one another which these succinct salvos of "No true Scotsman", "Ad hominem", and "You're begging the question".

It reminds me of the description of Alexandria of Late Antiquity and the amount of religious strife over the question of Jesus' Godly Essence in Rubinstein's book "When Jesus Became God":

The almost obsessive quality of these disputes is nicely captured by a famous churchman, Gregory of Nyssa, writing twenty years after the lynching of Bishop George. In a sermon delivered at his church in Constantinople, Gregory deplored the contentiousness of his fellow Christians. "If in this city you ask a shopkeeper for change," he complained, "he will argue with you about whether the Son is begotten or unbegotten. If you inquire about the quality of bread, the baker will answer 'The Father is greater, the Son is less.' And if you ask the bath attendant to draw your bath, he will tell you that the Son was created ex nihilo[out of nothing]"


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