Ever argued with an idiot? You know… someone that will not listen… someone that only wants to prove his point… someone that will not listen to reason?
(Because… after all… we’re right!)
ScribblePreacher.com offers a list of 15 ways NOT to argue like an idiot.
Truth is… we’re all idiots.
And we all use some of these methods sometimes.
(I find that I use them more when I’m losing the argument though.)
In fact… I’ve heard some of these methods used in preaching.
(Please don’t be THAT guy).
Anyway… here are some of the ways NOT to argue like an idiot:
1. Ad Hominem – Attacking someone’s character rather than their argument. I was sitting with my friend a few weeks ago, debating the significance of a Greek word when he blurted out: “Well, they all translate it that way because theologians want people to go to hell!”
2. Straw Man. This essentially comes down to stating the argument of your opponent in a way they themselves wouldn’t have said it. I’ve heard countless sermons in hyper-conservative circles portraying non-Christians saying things I’ve never personally heard a non-Christian say.
3. False Analogy. In our age of creativity, this is probably the most common – how many times have I heard a debate “settled” because one person uses a beautiful analogy to illustrate their point? All analogies break down at some point; we need to know when and how in order to analyze them.
4. Slippery Slope. The argument that the extreme of a position must be true as well. I heard a Catholic radio DJ say that if we didn’t take the “body and blood” of Christ literally, we’d have to throw out his deity and the gospel itself as well. Or we might say, “If we allow homosexuals to marry, we must allow humans to marry dogs and cats and multiple partners, etc.” This is a different argument than the lesser to greater argument (by the very same principle, this also must be true) – sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.
5. Confusion equals Cause. This argues that because we don’t understand something, God must be the solution. Because science can’t explain ______, God must be responsible.
6. Argument from Authority. I need to be careful here, because I believe ultimately, all of us argue from authority – whether it’s the authority of logic, experience, emotions, tradition, or the Bible. But still, we are to avoid arguments purely from authority; I must have a reason why I believe my authority is authoritative! Maybe a better way to say it is: “Argument from human authority”. After all, if our premise that God is omniscient and omnipotent is accurate, He doesn’t need to give us premises. That’s the whole point of the book of Job. We would do well to recognize as well that the reformation debate was over whether humans could claim Divine authority, with the assumption that Divine authority dictates truth.
And that’s just the first five, you idiot! Find the last ten here…
HT: Trevin Wax