Sunday, June 18, 2006

Tangling with TRs

The following fictitious conversation captures the flavor of the last several discussions I've had with the "Truly Reformed":

Idealistic Young Man: I've been reading Dr. Y on topic W, and he has some good insights on how the Reformers could be improved upon in that area.

Defender Of Orthodoxy: Why do you have to contradict the Reformers? Don't you know that Dr. Y's stuff is heresy. Do you want to be drawn into heresy?

IYM: Wow! That's a rather strong claim you make. Could you explain why it's heresy?

DOO: Why do you have to turn everything into an argument? Why can't you just accept that it's heresy and repent of your involvement in it?

IYM: Do you know enough about the subject to give a two-sentence summary?

DOO: Look, I just read a book about it and decided I don't like it. Why isn't that good enough for you?

IYM: So, you're basing a charge of heresy and a call for repentance on your non-specific feelings on the subject. Do you see how someone might have a problem with you doing that?

DOO: It's arrogant of you to question my ethics. I don't have a problem with anybody besides you.

IYM: Is that because everyone else is afraid to differ with you?

DOO: The problem is that you're harboring bitterness because I called you to repentance.

IYM: Yes, I recall. You want me to repent of, uh, reading books. And that has made me bitter. Yes, very bitter. How about we not talk about this anymore?

DOO: Are you suggesting I'm unable to carry on a discussion about this?

IYM: No, I'm not suggesting anything. I'm stating plainly that as long as you react to things in a way that doesn't involve words, it is impossible, by definition, to have a conversation.