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Preaching to the Converted


 

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So it's okay that onegoodmove readers agree with me on most things.

I agree.

I think it means that you don't have to keep looking for things to disagree with us on. :)

Yeah, and you don't have to be so disagreeable about it either.

Some sites have an ombudsman, norm invited a devil's advocate to hang out.

What Norm needs is a Jesus's advocate.

Hell once a year doesn't seem excessive, though I know how I feel when someone I agree with on most things disagrees with me. It pisses me off, how can they be so damn stubborn, why can't they see the obvious error of their ways, and then finally when we get all the evidence on the table and discover either that there was no disagreement, or that our priorities are different or that one was wrong and the other right.

A Jesus advocate I'm holding out for a personal appearance, if he has something important to say let him say it himself.

Be careful what you ask for ;-}

Amen.

why? isn't jesus coming back to be really, really nice to everybody?

That was supposed to be a reply to Tim's desire for a Jesus advocate, not Norm's (look at the time stamp). I thought I clicked on 'reply', but it didn't show up that way.

yeah, who is this devils advocate, anyway?

about the video: what was the point of making that a video? video is a visual medium and this particular attempt is glaringly lacking in visuals. as far as what is actually said, in a nutshell: i agree. and i think it was well said. but this would have been better, imo, in the form of text with a few illustrative graphs. that way i wouldn't have to sit there, drumming my fingers on the table, waiting for the guy to make his next point, with nothing interesting to look at.

yeah, who is this devils advocate, anyway?

about the video: what was the point of making that a video? video is a visual medium and this particular attempt is glaringly lacking in visuals. as far as what is actually said, in a nutshell: i agree. and i think it was well said. but this would have been better, imo, in the form of text with a few illustrative graphs. that way i wouldn't have to sit there, drumming my fingers on the table, waiting for the guy to make his next point, with nothing interesting to look at.

sorry about the double post, my computer virtually exploded on my first attempt, dragging me into hyperspace. i had to grab it with both hands and bring her in for a rough landing.

your site is really hostile, sometimes, norm. especially the way it signs you out of typekey while claiming you're still signed in. phasers on stun.

But surely this is self evident from the words of the expression 'preaching to the converted'. This is something which goes on ALL THE TIME. This is something which every single world religion (to use just one cultural example) is built upon. Preaching to the converted. If it wasn't worth doing for some reason then people wouldn't do it. You have even more reason to believe that if you don't believe that a particular religion is god-given and the preaching and communal practices of the religion are demanded by a higher power. If you don't believe that of any religion then you should believe that the religion evolved based on pressure to conform to a social dynamic which was useful. If you believe this about one religion you'd have to either believe that other religion were (a) also true, (b) copying yours or (c) had socially evolved to fit their present pattern. Either way most people should look at the example of religion and figure that whatever preaching to the converted does, it must be doing something.

Memetic reinforcement I think needs to be added to the list. The video relies heavily on a rationalistic account of human behaviour (preaching to the converted involves seeking better arguments for my own positions) but of course there are many aspects of reinforcement involved in preaching to the converted as we ordinarily witness it which aren't simply cognitive; they can be ritualistic, they can be value-reinforcement, they can be reinforcing of a particular set of in-group/out-group definitions.

Those who would set themselves up as opponents to or critics of religion would do well to take seriously the social dynamics evidenced by religion and reflect on how these dynamics feature in their own presentation. Is it true that Dawkins puts people off, as had been claimed, by presenting an almost tribalist framework for his Atheism. This might be true of the God Delusion, it isn't true of The Greatest Show on Earth and it certainly isn't true of Dennett's Breaking the Spell though Dennett is frequently tarred with the same brush.

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