When you hit a wall...
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07-07-2012, 02:46 PM
When you hit a wall...
Hello All,

Sorry I have been absent from the forums a couple of weeks. Work is work. But during my absence I received a Facebook message from an old friend in my old church. Apparently she, her sister, and her mother had breakfast with my mother and sister. My recent coming out to my parents as an agnostic came up. After my thoughts on this, for those that are interested, I'll post her message and my reply. (Quite lengthy)

The reason I bring this up is after she sent me her "godly" message, I responded to everything the said including a cliff notes of how long I had actually not believed and kept those thoughts away from my Christian friends. Then I refuted a few claims she made about how god is awesome, the sun is the perfect distance, etc. all the common arguments the uneducated Christian would throw out on a dime. I refuted them all in great detail, and I would like to think with as much kindness as possible. It has been almost 5 days now, and I have yet to see any response from her and I don't want to sound like a FB stalker, but she is always online posting random things. Maybe she will respond and is doing her duty in Matthew and grabbing another Christian so that my 2 mouths, I may hear the error of my ways. Or maybe, and this is my gut feeling, she doesn't know how to talk to me because she has never met an argument that logically contradicted her beliefs.

Have any of you hit this wall? That wall where you refute everything and put a lot of time and thought into your argument, but they don't in turn even try and rebuttal you. Instead they might change the subject or direction of the argument. Attack your lifestyle, other choices, etc. It is very annoying and sometimes frustrating. I will try everything to redirect it back but to no avail.

Anyways: Below is the dialogue. She is listed blankly as "Christian" out of respect, and then I am just "Me."

Amber: Hi timmy! Just wanted to let u know I was thinking about u, and I'm sad
to have heard that you haven't been following God anymore. [Image: blank.gif] I just wanted to encourage you to love God again. He will bless you and make your life full if you obey Him. [Image: blank.gif]
its soo true! He's all around us, just think about how perfect
everything was designed. Just one of them for examle, the sun is exactly
the right distance away from us so the earth doesn't burn up or freeze,
making it the perfect place to live... that didn't happen on accident.
Also how the sun feeds the plants, trees and makes our food grow, warms
us, gives us vitamin D, gives us light, dries things, gives us daytime,
helps give us seasons... its perfect! I hope you take the time to look
around and discover Gods beauty, because the Tim I know, knew God and
was excited about it (even in times when I wasn't exactly excited about
it). I know that's somewhere inside of you still. maybe getting away
from all of your influencial friends could help clear you mind and
rediscover your true love for God. Mike and I miss you and wish you
lived closer so we could be closer. I hope you will think about this and
not be mad @ me for saying something, but I care about you.
Love,
Amber

Me: Hi Amber.
Thanks for the good thoughts care. I do miss all you guys as well.


I can't say I'm surprised to finally recieve a message of some sort
from someone other than mine an Eric's family. And considering where you
are from and who you are, I understand everything you are saying.
However, (and I am not saying who you learned my choices from) the
choices leading up to me "turning away from God" were not a sudden group
of rash choices while being in the military. I never, and I repeat
never truly believed in God. My parents and I had a long discussion
about this and I put everything out on the table. Plain and simple:
Growing up, I was a really good liar. And I don't mean that in a
narcissistic manner.
I knew that growing up, my parents believed in
certain things. I knew that they wanted me too as well. I knew that if I
disobeyed from their beliefs whether it was something as simple as
don't watch an "R" film or don't lie, or something more complex like drinking or sex... that there
would be a consequence so long as I was under their roof. So I made the
most rational decision possible sometime around the time I got baptized.
I would just keep my mouth shut, and follow what they and the church
said as long as I could, not with the intent to immediately rebel at the
turn of 18, but with the hope that my childhood would go a lot more
smooth if I wasn't constantly being punished.
I did everything in my
power to do so. I met curfews, followed rules I thought to be
ridiculous, refrained from watching shows and movies I wanted to watch.
Never had a close girlfriend until I was 17 and I kept that from them. I
didn't bring many friends over to the house for fear of an awkward
confrontation. In church it was worse, for some reason, everyone thought
I was a goody-two-shoes. So I played the part. I treated bible class
like real school and acted like the grades mattered. My reputation as a
Christian grew. I attended mid week studies with my Charlie and Burt
along sometimes with others like my parents, your mom, the Sherry Drew
and Ligon etc. And it grew more. I participated in studies, tossed the
Bible around in school a little bit even. I led singing, prayers, Lord's
suppers, readings, devotions, preached, and even taught adult Bible
Class. I thought moving to Wisconsin would lessen the pounding idea of
being a progeny. I was wrong. It got heavier. Being in a small
congregation of about 30 people at the time, most of whom were older
adults. The thought of a young and righteous Christian family put
excitement into this mundane group at the time. Out of nowehere we
started having a million potlucks, gospel meetings, additional services
etc. And I was involved in leading something in every single worship.
Then about once a month I would preach. Every other quarter I taught a
class, both adults and children. I enjoy public speaking, so I used
those opportunities to hone those skills. And again I put my very best
effort forward. I never said anything in a class or lesson that could be
deemed "untrue" by a Christian. And it was hard not to do so, so many
times I wanted to just insert one line of logic that had been flowing
through my brain since I could understand the concept of reality. But I held in check.


I have since obviously joined the military. I went to a few services
just simply because my parents had some contacts in Mississippi, so I
had to keep them going. Eventually I stopped going to church altogether.
Kept my agnostic life from my parents and all of you back home to
mitigate awkward situations. And to everyone else I was just... me. And
what a load off my shoulders it was. I didn't have to say things I
didn't agree with, I didn't have to act as though I believed, I didn't
have to pretend. Yet, when returning home, the mask would come back on,
and I was that good Christian boy everyone loved. Recently I came out to
my parents as an agnostic and I figured it would only be a matter of
time before others knew. And that's fine. I still count many of you as
friends back home, I still have some fun memories, and out of all the
scenarios that could have played out, I like this one. It was the best
possible, to my knowledge.

Sorry for the long message, but I
figured I would break out the cliff notes on the history of my
decisions, but the most important part to know is that I never, truly
believed. I am an agnostic, not an atheist. There is a difference though
most atheists would disagree with that. I don't believe, in anything
that currently exists as far as deities or higher powers are concerned.
But I also know that not all science is proven. I do not use a crutch. I
am a truth seeker. Nothing put in front of me, is what anyone else says
it is unless it is proven. And I take no one person's word for granted
as well as not accepting it as truth because everyone lies. And everyone
can be wrong.

About your thoughts on the Sun's distance. This
argument has been put to me 100 times over. And each time I let them
know that the actual habit area from the sun known as the "Goldilocks
zone" is .95 to 1.37 astronomical units away from the sun. We could
stray from the sun and be just fine. Our diameter from the sun during
our orbit of it, is never constant. It is not a perfect circle. If you
were to take one of your kids, and while playing with them hold them by
their arms or wrists and spin them around, you would notice that behind
their laughter and the blur behind them, occasionally, your arms will be
stretched out to their limit, they will start to slip away but then you
bring them back in, and it will happen quite naturally. This is the
same principle used when space shuttles need to use their fuel
efficiently so they will use the gravitational pull of the moon or earth
to slingshot them towards one another. And you claim the sun to pure
and fully of good things for us yet consider these 3 things. 1: Spend UV
rays are harmful if not kept in checked. Hence why we sunburn. 2: There
are over 200 billion stars in our milky way right now, and we are not
the only galaxy. You may not know it, but we just witnessed one such
star go supernova and explode last summer. Our star, the sun, will one
day do the same. 3: The chances that out of the 200 billion stars in the
milky way alone, and not to mention the millions of other galaxies
across the universe only 1 star has life around it... are quite grim.


God is so good? I'm sorry and I don't mean to be rude, but the next
time you are with the family watching football and you see matt forte or
tim tebow kneel after a touchdown and praise god for their gifts, think
about the millions of starving in africa and south america. The next
time that you are thankful for your children, remember the women that
can not have any, or the children dying around the world, or sold as
slaves for various and immoral reasons. The next time you are thankful
to be able to worship your god in a free country, remember those in
China who can't. The next time someone in your family is helped thanks
to the marvels of medical science, remember those who haven't ever
stepped in a hospital. God is so good, that he created a world that was
perfect. He created adam and eve. But maybe he just got careless, or was
malicious enough to also put in 2 trees and carried the possibility of
suffering and condemnation for the rest of the world. And him being all
knowing and all powerful, he knew what would happen next. But he let it
happen. And instead of all of us prancing around like happy fools in a
garden, we are here... in this. No Amber, god is not good. If you take a
few excerpts from the Bible than sure, yeah, it's a good book with some
moral grounds. But if you take some excerpts out of the Gettysburg
Address, than all Lincoln was talking about was the revolutionary war.
Take it as a whole. It is a book of fables and stories. If a God like
the god of the old or new testament existed. I would not want to
worship. I would like to know there was a way to end him, and bring him
to justice.

Again, I'm sorry for the coldness, but I felt it
needed to be said. 2 more things and then I'll let you go. 1: Your
statement about my influential friends. Amber, I have many friends here.
Many that believe, many that don't. Some that believe in other gods and
even 1 that believes she is a witch, quite comical but I let her run
with it. I have an awesome balance of friends out here and we all live
in harmony and respect for one another. Just last weekend, I was at a
party, drinking and playing games, and a new friend and I got into a
discussion on the possibility of God existing. Me with a beer in my
hand, and him with a mountain dew. That... is awesome. That is
tolerance, acceptance, and peace. In the end we did not agree, but next
week, we are going fishing. I have even gone to some services with a
couple of the Christians I hang out with simply because they asked and I
had nothing going on. And we carried about our business afterwards
without missing a beat. My friends have nothing to do with my choices. I
make them.

My second and final point is somewhat of a quote
from a very rude, yet funny, and one of the most intelligent individuals
who I have ever known. I first saw him on CNN on a debate with a
Christian he did a book tour with. He is now dead, but 1 set of
statements he was famous for, hit me hard, because I had been thinking
the exact same thing as long as I could remember, albeit in simpler
words. I can't correctly quote him so I will say it as I have always
understood it before I heard of Christopher Hitchens.

--There
are over 3,000 forms of Christianity to date. There are hundreds of
different religions in this world that are held as valid beliefs. With
so much difference yet all speaking a form of absolute truth there are
only 3 possible outcomes:
1: "They are all true." This is the most unlikely answer.
2: "Only one of them is true." Which is the most difficult to prove.
3: "They are all false." The most likely of the 3.


I have been a good person and I will stay that way. I don't hope for
anything out of this message except for understanding on your part with
where I come from. I hope this has set some answers straight regarding
that subject. I do not force my views or opinions on anyone. But if they
are asked they will be given. I do not often comment on facebook,
especially with half of my friends here constantly posting "godly"
quotes, praises, requests, etc. That being said I have and will continue
to comment on anything that tries to bash basic civil rights, use
science falsely, make incorrect claims regarding science and history
etc.

I think that at heart you are a good person. We grew up
together and shared many memories. I do thank you for coming in
kindness. I know you are charged in many scriptures, specifically Mark
16:15-16, to go out and preach to the world. And I am welcome to any
future discussion on these matters, I will not shut my doors as long as
reason is being used. But I do caution you, since you are charged as
such, if you come to me with the goal of converting me to Christ, your
good Book (Jesus specifically) speaks of people like me. "Do not throw
your pearls before swine..."

I hope you have a good 4th of
July. I know I will. I have always enjoyed grilling and blowing up
fireworks. I will be home for Felisha's birthday and Faith's concert. So
maybe, we can all get together then. Have fun.

Peace.Write a reply...

And yet another interesting topic I am not interested in.
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07-07-2012, 03:03 PM (This post was last modified: 07-07-2012 03:06 PM by Vosur.)
RE: When you hit a wall...
(07-07-2012 02:46 PM)AmishLatinJew Wrote:  Have any of you hit this wall? That wall where you refute everything and put a lot of time and thought into your argument, but they don't in turn even try and rebuttal you. Instead they might change the subject or direction of the argument. Attack your lifestyle, other choices, etc. It is very annoying and sometimes frustrating. I will try everything to redirect it back but to no avail.
*cough* S.T.Ranger and TheArcticSage *cough*

Yes, I've had the pleasure of meeting such people on the Internet. Fortunately, I usually don't have to deal with ignorant theists and the likes of them in my everyday life because most people I know are atheists/agnostics/anti-theists. I absolutely agree that it's frustrating if you put a lot of effort into your replies and the person you're debating with just ignores you or tries to defend his/her point of view by using ad hominems and other logical fallacies. For this reason I have stopped debating with Creationists, because there is absolutely no help for them. In order to believe what they believe in, you have to be absolutely deluded.

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07-07-2012, 03:38 PM
RE: When you hit a wall...
They will try this approach first, then they will APPEAR to back off and ACCEPT you.
However, that will not be true. They will only be civil to you. The first time something happens bad to you it will be god punishing you for turning away. Every time you have problems deciding a on a tough issue, you will be reminded that god is the answer. If you screw up it will be because of the bond you broke with god.
They will seem relentless because they absolutely believe this.
I have some relatives like this. I've gotten to the point where I'll yell at them, "Stop with your delusional crap!" They will understand because they hold out hope that god will fix me and my anger is why I've rejected god. I'm just angry at god, that's all.
Remember that you are a threat to their beliefs. You have to be the one who is wrong even if they allow you to keep non-believing.
Best advice, get some new friends.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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07-07-2012, 04:23 PM
RE: When you hit a wall...
(07-07-2012 03:38 PM)Thomas Wrote:  Remember that you are a threat to their beliefs. You have to be the one who is wrong even if they allow you to keep non-believing.
Best advice, get some new friends.
I agree. I knew a few others were in my situation. I've seen how my former congregation has handled those that "stray." So I am aware of that. Just have yet to experience them pointing it at me. However, based on what will likely happen, I'm going back home for a family visit. First one in about a year. Based on what I have seen and heard, I am ready for an ambush of sorts. Thanks for the post.

And yet another interesting topic I am not interested in.
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08-07-2012, 04:56 PM
RE: When you hit a wall...
The wall I hit at work once.

I use to work for a company whose phone number was one digit off from Blue Cross & Blue Shield insurance agency.
People would call in occasionally and I would explain to them that this wasn't Blue Cross. Our numbers are similar and they had in fact dialed the wrong number.

But one day this lady calls in and asks if I can help her with a change of address form for Blue Cross.
I explain to her that she had dialed the wrong number. Blue Cross's number was for example (555-1212).
She then asks if I can connect her to Blue Cross. "Sorry miss, but I can't, because you dialed the WRONG number. If you dial 555-1212 you'll get Blue Cross."

She then says "I dialed 555-1212."
I reply "No miss, you dialed 555-1211. That's my number. If you dial 555-1212, you'll reach someone who can help you."
"Can you connect me" ? she asks
"No miss, I cannot."

In that case, maybe I could speak to your supervisor. Perhaps he can connect me to Blue Cross.
I say "He's out of the office at the moment, but let me give you his cell number. I'm sure he will be able to help you.
His cell is 555-1212. Call him on his cell right now and he'll connect you to Blue Cross."

She says "Thank you very much" and the call ended.

She had it in her mind that she couldn't have been wrong, that she couldn't have made a mistake. Nothing I was going to say could have possibly changed her mind. Religion can do that to a mind. Make you believe that something is absolutely true, no matter what anyone else tells you.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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08-07-2012, 07:12 PM
RE: When you hit a wall...
I don't understand what part of this is "hitting a wall". Do you mean Amber is "a wall" just because she disagrees with you? Very few people change their positions on any issue. The vast majority of times that debate happens, each side "hits a wall" in this manner. In fact, it would seem that Amber hit a wall with trying to convince you that God exists. When's the last time you had a major shift in opinion?

But maybe the subject isn't your thesis. Perhaps you just wanted to show us your opinion to brag or get a pat on the back. You didn't bring up her objections because you needed or wanted feedback from fellow atheists.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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08-07-2012, 09:43 PM
RE: When you hit a wall...
(08-07-2012 07:12 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  I don't understand what part of this is "hitting a wall". Do you mean Amber is "a wall" just because she disagrees with you? Very few people change their positions on any issue. The vast majority of times that debate happens, each side "hits a wall" in this manner. In fact, it would seem that Amber hit a wall with trying to convince you that God exists. When's the last time you had a major shift in opinion?

But maybe the subject isn't your thesis. Perhaps you just wanted to show us your opinion to brag or get a pat on the back. You didn't bring up her objections because you needed or wanted feedback from fellow atheists.
Maybe it is not so much that She is the wall, but rather her way of thinking and rationalizing?

I am in no way speaking for everybody else, but I made life decisions that have changed my worldview, and it is the only way to the truth.

If I am correct, the wall here is not the person, but the idea and ignorance the person is spouting off.

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09-07-2012, 04:49 AM
RE: When you hit a wall...
(08-07-2012 09:43 PM)Atothetheist Wrote:  
(08-07-2012 07:12 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  I don't understand what part of this is "hitting a wall". Do you mean Amber is "a wall" just because she disagrees with you? Very few people change their positions on any issue. The vast majority of times that debate happens, each side "hits a wall" in this manner. In fact, it would seem that Amber hit a wall with trying to convince you that God exists. When's the last time you had a major shift in opinion?

But maybe the subject isn't your thesis. Perhaps you just wanted to show us your opinion to brag or get a pat on the back. You didn't bring up her objections because you needed or wanted feedback from fellow atheists.
Maybe it is not so much that She is the wall, but rather her way of thinking and rationalizing?

I am in no way speaking for everybody else, but I made life decisions that have changed my worldview, and it is the only way to the truth.

If I am correct, the wall here is not the person, but the idea and ignorance the person is spouting off.
The presupposition that Amber's ideas are "ignorant" is what I'm talking about. If you want to talk about her ideas being a wall instead (it seems pedantic, like a homophobe pointing out that they hate the sin rather than the sinner), it still applies equally well to most of us. I think that we should judge a person's argument based on its merit, not on its side of a position. But it's not human nature to do that, and so most of us take an immobile and inflexible position on topics like these, thus we are all walls -- or if you prefer, our ideas are. We judge our opponents to be ignorant, or stupid, or completely wrong before we even hear what they have to say.

A recent example I ran across was on YouTube, where a video entitled "Atheism Destroyed with One Question" had several comments reacting to and arguing the guy's "one question". It was a parody, though, that made fun of Christianity... a person only had to listen halfway through the 2-minute video to get that. People were responding to this guy without even listening.

*Note: I'm not defending Amber here. I think she's totally wrong, and I think the response was spot on. I'm only arguing against the idea that a theist should be seen as unyielding just because of their side on the God issue.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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12-07-2012, 06:21 PM
RE: When you hit a wall...
(08-07-2012 07:12 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  I don't understand what part of this is "hitting a wall". Do you mean Amber is "a wall" just because she disagrees with you? Very few people change their positions on any issue. The vast majority of times that debate happens, each side "hits a wall" in this manner. In fact, it would seem that Amber hit a wall with trying to convince you that God exists. When's the last time you had a major shift in opinion?

But maybe the subject isn't your thesis. Perhaps you just wanted to show us your opinion to brag or get a pat on the back. You didn't bring up her objections because you needed or wanted feedback from fellow atheists.
The wall was when she stopped responding. That point in a conversation where no matter what truth you actually speak, the other party will adapt away from it, or simply not acknowledge what you say. Since you seem to want to put such a high road status on Amber, here is what she has since done:

1. Nothing...

I have not sent her any more messages. I have not attempted to contact her in anyway. That is her wall. Maybe sometime in the future she could respond and maybe sometime in the future this story will change. But let's say this: You don't know me. You don't know her. And her behavior or lack their of, is exactly that of a mindless zombie who has known nothing but the church and tried to nothing else. She is a nice person overall, but also tends to be fake.

And furthermore with your random assumptions, I'll just try and hit them in the order they appeared:
1. Amber's wall is addressed above ^.
2. How many people do you debate with? Look at half the people on this site and/or reddit. I personally have witnessed many people change their opinions and not just on religion, but gun control, marijuana, abortion, private vs public school, democrat vs republican vs independent, best athletes of all time, etc. People change their mind all the time. What planet have you been living on? If people rarely changed their mind, how the heck has the country changed at all in the past 200 years, let alone the world?
3. Personally, I can't count the number of times I have changed my mind or opinion on something. A lot of it has gone hand-in-hand with maturing and experiences, but it still has happened plenty of times. Who hasn't been proven wrong before?
4.Me... Brag? If that were the case, would I not have been more brash in my post? Perhaps been more insulting? Or maybe even ask others if they thought I handled the conversation, or lack thereof, correctly? But no. I asked what others do when they run into walls. Do they pursue, be patient, or maybe just disregard the whole thing? I spend more time reading and creeping most forums without posting. I absorb information. You can look at my forum stats honey, it's not like I exactly go trolling for likes and reputation.
5. Her objections... she hasn't responded as I have already stated. So can't really post what hasn't been said.

I will agree with one section of your reply and that is where you state that many times both sides hit a wall, especially when it comes to critical subjects like religion. Happens all the time. But it also happens that one side is simply being stubborn. One side lies about their information. One side gets angry or out of hand. One side changes the subject. One side... puts up a wall.

But thank you for demonstrating my point. Instead of maybe sharing your own experience or what you would do when the conversation hits a forced stopping point aka... a wall. Instead you turn the focus towards a random hidden agenda, possible internet injustice, trolling, etc.

I mean you no ill will but seriously... where do you get off?

And yet another interesting topic I am not interested in.
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13-07-2012, 07:52 AM
RE: When you hit a wall...
(09-07-2012 04:49 AM)Starcrash Wrote:  The presupposition that Amber's ideas are "ignorant" is what I'm talking about. If you want to talk about her ideas being a wall instead (it seems pedantic, like a homophobe pointing out that they hate the sin rather than the sinner), it still applies equally well to most of us. I think that we should judge a person's argument based on its merit, not on its side of a position. But it's not human nature to do that, and so most of us take an immobile and inflexible position on topics like these, thus we are all walls -- or if you prefer, our ideas are. We judge our opponents to be ignorant, or stupid, or completely wrong before we even hear what they have to say.

A recent example I ran across was on YouTube, where a video entitled "Atheism Destroyed with One Question" had several comments reacting to and arguing the guy's "one question". It was a parody, though, that made fun of Christianity... a person only had to listen halfway through the 2-minute video to get that. People were responding to this guy without even listening.

*Note: I'm not defending Amber here. I think she's totally wrong, and I think the response was spot on. I'm only arguing against the idea that a theist should be seen as unyielding just because of their side on the God issue.



I think maybe we misunderstood each other then, starcrash. And for some reason, my last post for me didnt show the 3 posts before it until today when i checked in. I didn't even get a notification in my CP that anyone had responded, so that was an inconvienience.

I am all for not immediately judging a person's ideas off the bat. I strive not to do that. And my original post on this thread is not a good indicator of that because Amber didn't really provide a good argument for anything. To her, she just thinks that God is great. She has never known anything different, and actual knowledge on what the Bible preached is very limited. If you asked her to defend her faith, she would struggle greatly because she has never had to. All in all, sh is one of those who just "knows it in her heart." So as I said, my remarks to her about her blanket faith and sun statements are not a good indicator of a debate. She has yet to rebuttle, and knowing her, I doubt she will. When I posted this thread, I simply copied and posted our messages because I had recently had a couple oral discussions with others who spoke in the same manner and could not prove or bring up a source for anything that they said. Amber was the only one I had anything written down or on my PC. So she got posted here.

I would like to think that because her lack of response, you think I am attacking her strictly based on her idea. I am not. If someone walks into the room and tells me that 1 + 1 = 3, I would immediately question that notion and their thought process. I would lay out how I knew 1 + 1 to equal 2 and not 3. If they don't respond, that does not mean I am attacking her merely because she can't add, but for a number of reasons. Not only can she not add, but she has never been taught how to add, has never subtracted so I can't expect her to fully know what addition does, refuses to discuss adding any further, and will continue on adding the way she has added all her life despite the lack of reasoning why.

Hope I didn't lose my point in the example above. I think we are in agreement, starcrash, on how debates or arguments should be addressed, but it would seem we took a round-a-bout way of getting there. Hope we're good.

And yet another interesting topic I am not interested in.
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