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Miniblog #339: Why Not Elevate the Conversation Instead of Highlighting Stupidity?

by Carson T. Clark on April 4, 2014

The truth is that I naturally assume the good majority of people are morons. For some it appears they’re wired that way but for most it appears to be a willful, self-inflicted condition. I’ve cultivated an intentional habit of giving the benefit of the doubt whenever there’s any indication there might be good reason to hope, but experience has taught me it’s wise to proceed with initial skepticism.11.In the immortal words of Dubbya, “There’s an old saying in Tennessee–I know it’s in Texas, it’s probably in Tennessee–that says fool me once, shame on… shame on you… you fool me you can’t get fooled again.” It’s not because I have a low view of people. Quite the opposite, it’s because I have a high view of their potential. I think ordinary folks are intellectually capable of a whole heckuva lot more than they’re given credit for and what is ordinarily expected of them.22.We keep lowering the bar, then are surprised when people have last the ability to jump. It’s a classic case of use it or lose it. Or in this case maybe it’s create it or you’ll never have it… Far less catchy, though. It seems to me the problem is a failure to actualize that potential. My goal, then, is not to berate, ridicule, demean, or undermine. My goal is rather to inspire, encourage, equip, and facilitate. Take this past Monday’s blog post as a prime example. Rather than jump headfirst into the cacophony of mindless ideological warfare that permeates the blogosphere — this time around the Noah film — I posted a thoughtful “7 Minute Seminary” video of John Walton.33.In that short video he explains not only how to understand the flood narrative in a genuinely biblical and theologically sound manner, but why it’s important to do so. He’s widely regarded as evangelicalism’s foremost Genesis scholar. Rather than become enmeshed in widespread mental constipation, I endeavor to cut past it with some cognitive Ex-Lax, thereby raising the bar. I cannot claim I do it perfectly, of course. Yet that’s the principle behind my aspired approach. It seems a relatively small group of bloggers and social media users have this outlook, though. This leads to my question. Why do so many people I know, including even many thoughtful Christians, keep linking to webpages which confirm the fact that the good majority of people are morons? Seriously, I want to know.44.This isn’t a cathartic rant. It’s a sincere inquiry. What’s the underlying principle or philosophy there? What’s the objective and is it helpful? I get doing it on occasion, but why make a habit of posting links to people saying and doing sensationally stupid (and hateful) things? We all know they’re out there. Why highlight them? Why not instead focus our collective energy on trying to elevate the depth and richness of the conversation?55.To be clear, that’s not a rhetorical question. It’s a sincere inquiry. I want to know. What’s the purpose? Why do that? How does it help? I’m open to listening.

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