It seems to be a problem developing on here that one cannot state anything authoritatively or frankly without being attacked as arrogant and abrasive. We have to speak in platitudes and tip toe around everyone's feeling laden sleeves until the men on here seem almost effeminate. It is as if our speech is to be so bland and trite that nobody is ever wrong and everybody is always right. The only exception is when someone says he is right and someone else is wrong- then that person is arrogant and abrasive and unchristian and immature- and wrong. Debate seems to be less and less about iron sharpening iron and more and more about propping up one another's tender egos. What on earth is wrong with saying- "God bless you guys and I love you but this is clearly the way it is and your position is utterly ridiculous and here's why..."? I appreciate a man who will put my ideas to the test. He doesn't do that over tea and cream puff pie. He turns the dogs loose on my ideas. And I thank him for it. If his dogs can tear my ideas to shreds then they have done me a favor. I'll go and get stronger ones. There was a paradigm shift in American culture a while back. We made a significant move in our ideas of manhood from John Wayne and Charlton Heston and Gregory Peck and Douglas MacArthur and George Patton to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I suspect it was the hippies that started us down that terrible road. When did it become a right to not have your feelings hurt??? When did men get so concerned with feelings?? I read a study a while back that said that the testosterone level of men today is significantly lower than men 50 years ago. I believe it. Why can't some of our brethren not comprehend that a Christian man can love you and knock you around a bit at the same time- and he's often times doing you a favor. The wounds of a friend are faithful. Your ideas ought to be torn to shreds if they can be. Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." That is why I come here. To examine my ideas against contrary ones. That is the goal of debate. I was asked the other day if I talked to my church members the way I talk to some on here (it assumed I was being rude- and I actually was a bit too overagressive but nonetheless-) the answer is no. DEBATE is not for the shepherd (undershepherd of course) and his sheep. Worship service is not DEBATE. Midweek prayer and bible study is not for DEBATE. DEBATE is like timber work in the old days. It is not a place for the feeble. Two men grab a cross cut saw and go to work on a tree. The tree is some truth that needs to be broken down and processed. The saw is the sharpness of the minds involved in the work. One pulls and then the other and then the other- to the untrained eye it looks as if the two are fighting over something that neither is willing to let go of. It is ugly. There is grimacing and grunting and gritting of teeth and pulling and jerking and sweat and blood-But to the lumberjack's eye it is a beautiful thing. Those two are not working against each other. They are giving each other hell- but at the same time they are working together- the only adversary is darkness, ignorance, falsehood. They are going to keep going back and forth until the truth is brought down and made useful for themselves and others. A timber forest is no place for sheep and babes- it is a place for men (and you strong women too!). Church is no place for DEBATE- but that doesn't mean there's no place for it in the Kingdom. It is how we got the Jerusalem Council. It is how we got the Nicene Creed of 325 AD and Orthodoxy and the Canon. It is how we got the Protestant Reformation. It was a hot and hard and sweaty and ugly scene at times- but it produced some beautiful and essential things- much like the wood of the timber produces beautiful and essential things such as homes, etc... Two strong people can appreciate mutual severe scrutiny. I'm not advocating ad hominem for the same reason I am speaking against effeminacy- it muddies the water and hinders the testing of arguments. The one's who tend to make it personal are the very ones who start hurdling into the discussion terms like "arrogant" and "abrasive". Those are terms that describe a person- hence they make the conversation PERSONAL. I know for a fact that there have been times when I did not say a single word- not one- about someone's person; I simply stayed firmly fixed on the dismantling of their arguments- and that person became so frustrated he began calling me names like "abrasive" and "arrogant" and "adolescent", etc... Name calling is the EPITOME of abrasiveness and arrogance and adolescence. That ought to be avoided simply because it detracts from the arguments themselves and hinders the whole purpose of debate. But the one who is kicking your butt in the debate while not attacking you personally is not the one who is abrasive and arrogant and adolescent. You become those very things when you start calling him those very things. And you do it because you are getting your butt kicked and you are trying to save face. Suck it up and thank the person who is obliterating your ideas. He is doing you a great favor. Buy him a steak for so doing! DEBATE is for the strong- period. If you find the idea unpalatable, I think you should go and plant yourself in the fellowship forum and avoid the DEBATE forums until you get a thicker hide. But let men and strong women hash it out and test ideas- or let's call this thing something else besides DEBATE.