Obligatory Disclaimer: I apologize in advance for the unavoidable incoherence of this post as I’m sure there are many who won’t get it. This is because the thoughts themselves are based on a recent post I’ve read on the blogosphere about religion. Out of respect to its author I won’t be linking to it or even describing its content, but suffice to say the following was inspired by it so you can draw your own conclusions.
Let me begin by saying the following first, simply to avoid any misunderstandings: I enjoy a good argument. I enjoy people who disagree with me and I enjoy disagreeing with people. It’s not just that spark of debate that I simply enjoy but the structure of a person’s argument. I have great appreciation and respect for it. It’s engaging, intelligent, articulate and challenging, no matter how much I disagree with it. No matter how much it is in exact opposition to what I believe in. And this comes after living most of my life outside the realms of the Middle East and in the throes of a multicultural society where I’ve argued with many from all races, creeds, cultures and religious convictions that span across the wide ideological spectrum. I was fortunate to have that experience for a long time.
I enjoy structure to an argument. I enjoy the connections, the links, the metaphors and analogies that permeate a sense of logic and amplify the convictions of the speaker. And at the end of it I can say to myself “I understood what they were saying and they said it well, but I don’t agree with it” followed by an eager “and here’s why…”
But then there are those that leave me asking two questions at the end:
One: what does anything you’ve just said have to do with the price of tea in China and…
Two: will I ever be able to get the last 10 minutes of my life back?
Again, these are not the type of arguments that leave you saying “I highly disagree with you” but rather “what the hell are you talking about?”
These are the people who after you’ve written a lengthy reply pinpointing every thing that made no sense about their argument (if we can call it that), they will reply with a lengthier reply and eventually end the ‘debate’ with an ‘I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree’.
These are the people who involve so many apples and oranges in their argument that every point they make, every new paragraph, is a potential digression into yet another arena of knowledge they have no idea about. And the connections they make between those apples and oranges are not even in the same universe let alone the same flea infested fruit bowl.
Yes, these are the people who have absolutely no clue what they’re talking about BUT they don’t know that. At least I suspect they don’t.
And yes, the specific people and arguments that I am talking about are a rarity but I think I’ve figured out why.
There are those who know what they’re talking about, those who pretend to know what they’re talking about and do so convincingly and those who don’t know what they’re talking about. The latter group has those who know they have no idea what they’re talking about so avoid the topic all together. Religion, politics, current events. They have no opinions on the matter and I can respect that under the guise of it being better to be silent and thought a fool.
But then there are people who don’t know what they’re talking about, want to pretend they know what they’re talking about but do so
Most of these people will choose either religion or politics as their main topics.
These are also the same people who will tell you they do their best to avoid talking about these topics.
And if their male and really reeking of bravado they’ll also choose another heavy hitting issue: women’s rights.
To their credit, atheists tend to be very intelligent and articulate people. So encountering one with a really bad argument coupled with a really bad way of articulating it, is a rare thing. But when I do encounter such a person, usually an ex-Muslim, I will not only think to myself the following but will be willing to stake my entire life on it: they have no idea about Islam. Not a single clue. They’ve never read the Quran and I’m pretty that those who did had absolutely no understanding of it. Because their arguments seem to be a figment of their imagination.
For those arguing political matters, it’s usually a lacking knowledge of history. And everyone has the right to an opinion on politics but you can’t just make things up as you go along. History tends to frown on that sort of thing.
And I admit that normally these people would not bother me so much was it not for their readers or listeners that engage with them and lend credence to their argument; encouraging them.
The main reason I don’t like arguing with these people is because it would be much easier to respond to them face to face as opposed to writing or typing a response on their blog.
Because if I even THINK of wanting to reply, I’ll stare at the comment box and say to myself:
Where do I start?
So while this post may indeed be just another ranting, rambling and raving I will take this opportunity right here, right now to implore you, to beseech you, to make the most important choice you’ll ever have to make. Either take the opportunity while educating oneself has not yet been internationally outlawed and learn a thing or two about what it is you want to argue OR say nothing at all.
Deeb: go figure!