Personal attacks.

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Herald, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. Herald

    Herald
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    I've been accused of them; fellow Doctrines of Grace adherents have been accused of them; and yes, even you who disagree with me have been accused of them. So, what really is a personal attack? Let me share a few that make the list (according to my definition):

    Moron
    Idiot
    Jerk
    Fool
    Stupid
    Dumb
    Heretic (in the loose way in which it is commonly used)
    Ignorant (yes, I am guilty of using this one)

    These type of personal attacks cause conversations to get nasty and unproductive. It also casts our brothers and sisters in a negative light. There may be times to use such language, but not in a public Internet forum. Again, this is my opinion.

    But what about terms that are considered personal attacks (by some), but really do not fit that description? Here are a few for consideration:

    Arminian
    Calvinist
    Determinist
    Free Willer
    Open Theist
    Synergist
    Monergist
    Uninformed
    Misinformed
    semi-Pelagian
    Amyraldian

    I have seen posters get their knickers in a twist about these words, even if they accurately describe what they believe. Of course you can use a non-offensive word in an offensive manner. If you purposely put a label on someone that does not apply, you may be using that label as a pejorative, so your intent may determine whether it is a personal attack. There are many more words that can be added to both lists. So, mine is not the final word on the matter.

    One last comment. I think that some posters have very thin skin and take offense when none is intended. Debate forums can be hard hitting. That is the nature of debate. Yes. Personal attacks should be avoided, but they are going to slip out on occasion. It is the job of the moderators to control that, and personally speaking, they either do not see, or choose to ignore most of them. It would be better for poster's to trade in their thin skin for a thick hide. It does not excuse rude, arrogant, and caustic posts, but it just might allow you to consider the source and dismiss them a lot easier.

    As for me? Well, I am a work in progress in this area. I have apologized for my offenses on this board and labor hard to keep my words honoring to God; all will still being able to engage in vigorous debate.
     
    #1 Herald, Jan 17, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2013
  2. Crabtownboy

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    I agree with your list and opinion. The only term I might quibble on is 'ignorant'. It depends on how it is used. To be ignorant means a person does not know, but has the intellectual ability to learn. Granted it can be used in an attempt to insult and probably should not be used on the BB as too often it would be misunderstood and considered an insult where no insult was intended. There are other words that should not be used as they will almost assuredly be understood as an insult where none was intended.

    There is no need for insults.

    I worked with a fellow I counted as a good friend. We agreed on almost nothing and yet we could argue any topic with neither of us becoming angry, calling names, etc. I really liked him and found discussing and arguing with him very interesting and fun.

    There is a person here in Prague who I count as a very good friend ... both he and his wife. He is very conservative politically and yet, as in the first example, we can discuss politics with no hard words, no insults, no hard feelings. He is very strong in his political stance ... but I find politics interesting to discuss with him.

    Currently I am reading a biography of D. Bonhoeffer. He had a close friend with whom he argued almost continually when they were together and yet the loved each other. Again no need for insults or name calling, just the enjoyment of a good discussion and argument with another Christian.

    There are other examples, but I believe you understand my point.
     
  3. thomas15

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    Another one to add to the list:

    goofball
     
  4. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    LOL....Pillowfights!
     
  5. Van

    Van
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    Any time a person is addressed rather than the position or view being expressed, it is a personal attack. If I say I believe once a person is saved, they are always saved, and someone says I am a Calvinist, that is a personal attack, even though my view is consistent with Calvinism.

    To label people is to use stereotypes to describe people and the effort is not to enlighten but to disparage. The fact that I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, should not be used to justify folks calling me "thick sculled" or "brain dead."

    Another method commonly used on this board is to claim an insult is present. For example if an opponent says a view is false doctrine, it was said this means the the proponent is a false teacher and therefore unsaved and therefore this was a claim that a person's Christianity was being questioned, a violation of the rules. Using this method of inferring an insult, any statement can be construed as a personal attack.

    I disagree with most of Calvinism so to call me a Calvinist is a personal attack, designed to cause me to stop making my point and start trying to correct the record. However, on the other end of the spectrum we have Calvinists who say they are not Calvinists. But when they are asked to state which of the 5 points of the Tulip are mistaken doctrines, they fall silent or change the subject.

    Sometimes the personal attack is coated with honey, such as I want the best for you so you need to study the topic more and pray about it. At its core, this is not addressing the topic, but claiming the opponent does not know what they are talking about.
     
  6. Herald

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    I have to politely disagree. If "Bob" articulates that he believes in the Trinity, then I am accurate if I describe him as a Trinitarian. If "Bobbie Sue" believes everyone is saved then I am accurate if I describe her as a Universalist. If someone describes you as a Calvinist because you believe in eternal security, that is not automatically a personal attack. They may have made an assumption based on one facet of what you believe, but that does not make it personal. It may become personal if you correct their misunderstanding and they persist in calling you a Calvinist just to annoy you.
     
  7. Van

    Van
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    Calvinism is made up of 5 points, whereas Universalism, everyone will be saved, and Trinitarism, One God in three Persons, are made up of one point. An accurate statement would be to say you agree with Calvinism on this point. I believe the future is not fixed, thus I agree with both Arminianism and Open Theism on this point. But to say I am an open theist or an Arminian is to simply misrepresent my views in an effort to derail discussion of the actual topic.
     
  8. Herald

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    We will just have to disagree on that.
     
  9. Van

    Van
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    The alternative is I could start questioning your cognitive ability, education, credentials, and Christianity. :)
     
  10. thomas15

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    You could also preface your remarks with "if the shoe fits..."
     
  11. Herald

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    You would not be the first to do that!
     
  12. Zaac

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    I think TROLL needs to be included on that list of personal attacks. That seems to be the big one on here if the old school folks don't like you disagreeing with the "group position".
     
  13. Yeshua1

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    One problem is that calvinism/arminianism etc should NOT have negative connotations, as they are just descriptive of theological systems, yet MANY here use them as directly negative!
     

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