A common "strategy" used by opponents of the church in popular media?

I have a good friend who has turned from the church so I have a somewhat personal interest in this. Knowing and talking with him I became curious as to what others with his view are saying so I started watching and looking at shows and web-sites dedicated to the “left” side, as it were.

What I discovered is that a common strategy used by these folks seems to be to potray believers as ignorant, against science (or at least unknowledgeable in science), & uneducated. I for one take offense to this as a Catholic as I happen to work in a science field, but I digress.

For example, I was watching a show on MSNBC and the discussion was about congress and how the republicans are in trouble and such. The host made the point that part of the problem is that their followers don’t even believe in evolution…the insinuation being that evolution is so well proven that only a boob would not know this? My point here is not to argue about evolution (or politics…that was just an example) but that Christians are made to look like simpletons holding onto outdated superstitions (a phrase my friend often uses). This is but one example but there are many more and I have seen this over and over again now where atheists hold themselves to be intellectually superior while believers are potrayed as not well educated or as “right-wing kooks” and are “silly” in the eyes of the world. (Wasn’t that the point of Maher’s film Religiousosity?) It all sounds so familiar when I speak with my friend that I now know where he gets his information.

So my question to you all is what is the best way for us to combat this or answer when we are potrayed as fools. Do you see this trend as I do to potray Christians as fools?

PS…Will you please pray with me for my friend. He had a series of financial setbacks and he lost his faith.

Yes, this strategy has been used for, probably, as long as the world has existed. It’s a very dishonest rhetorical ploy. No one wants to be viewed as ignorant, naïve, or stupid. So all you do is paint the opposition as these things, and you can get people to believe whatever you tell them simply because they don’t want to look the fool (when, ironically, that is exactly what they are doing when they succumb to this rhetorical scheme).

To be fair, I don’t think many people are being intentionally dishonest. They probably really believe that their position is the “intelligent” position. So, obviously, if you don’t agree, then you must be stupid!

In college, I think I was probably headed down the road of being “educated” out of my faith. What helped me was to read books by and talk to Catholics who were very intelligent. I especially enjoyed the books by Dr. Peter Kreeft. He’s a philosophy professor at Boston College (but don’t hold that against him! ;)). It helped me realize that the anti-religious position was not an intellectual position but a snobbish one. It’s really quite prideful to write off the vast majority of people who have ever lived as “ignorant”, but then, of course, not include yourself as one of the lowly peons. It really gave me pause to stop and think of the sheer arrogance and audacity I had to seriously suggest such a thing.

Also, the chaplain at my college was a former Rhodes Scholar with, like, seven degrees (including two doctorates). Priests like him were embodied proof for me that such a position simply was not honest. Obviously, this guy was intelligent and knew a lot about a lot of things. So how does he respond to these intellectual arguments that he has no doubt encountered dozens of times before? To my joy, his answers (and the answers of Dr. Kreeft) always satisfactorily addressed my questions.

Not sure if this helps, but I want you to know that I feel for what you and your friend are going through. :o

Working in the science field, I think that you already know how the Catholic Church reconciles its teachings with the Theory (and that is what it is) of Evolution. There are however some evangelical groups that are unable to make this connection. They insist on a literal interpretation of scripture. Seven days equals seven 24 hour periods rather than "a thousand years is but a day in the sight of the Lord."
One of the prayers from the LOTH actually calls God "source of our science."
Hopefully, this will give you a starting point. A book cannot be written without an author, and the Author of Life is God.

The irony of this tactic is it’s fundamental lack of intellectual rigor. It is an argumentum ad hominem, which any third-rate pseudo-intellectual (like myself) knows is not an argument, but a sneer.

It’s the equivalent of the high school jock lunging at an AV nerd. :nunchuk:

“but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong,” (1 Cor 1:27).

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

mark

The way it works is to change the words used but not the intention. That way, it makes old arguments sound new, and the words are often selected to sound less offensive or immoral. The military does it all the time.

Depopulate: We killed everyone in the village.

Ignorant: This new use of the word does not refer to actual intelligence, although that is the implication. It simply refers to someone who disagrees with you about established leftist dogma.

Evolution: A dogmatic belief of the left that cannot be challenged. Anyone who challenges it is immediately labeled a religious nut or a fundamentalist.

Fundamentalist: A backwards, unintelligent and irrational individual who may also be willing to harm others based on his beliefs. The correct definition would be that this person holds his religious convictions as very important to his day to day life, but not in any way with the intent of harming others.

Small town: Usually used as an adjective to define people who live in small, rural communities with the implication that they are leaning toward fundamentalism and couldn’t possibly be very well educated. Apparently, the further implication is that if someone from a small town moved to a big city, their IQ would immediately go up. This is nonsense.

Other dogmatic beliefs of the left:

Stem Cell Research: According to a local paper, the only people opposing it are religious nuts. The obvious falsehood does not include the scientific fact that everyone reading this began life as a human embryo. According to Investors’ Business Daily, it is not possible to have a rational discussion about this subject.

Euthenasia/Death with Dignity: The big marketing push has just begun for this one with some celebrity names singing its praises. Never mind that powerful painkillers and other means are available to relieve suffering and never mind that do not resuscitate orders already exist.

“Gay Marriage”: Oppenents are not only ignorant but are filled with hate. Never mind that biology does not allow for such a relationship.

You will notice that on the internet, that there is the ‘insistence argument.’ This is where someone states something and expects no one to disagree with him. When someone does, the insistence remains.

The media is teaching people how to react to things, and even training them how to think. I mean, surely, they tell us, no “rational” and “intelligent” person could possibly disagree with us. This isn’t about rationality or intelligence, it’s about getting you to believe that whatever the Left is pushing is the right thing.

Examine what the Left is saying and realize that they are only promoting what they want. Follow what the Church has said about all of these things to be able to respond to anyone who thinks death is the answer, or that morality is relative.

Peace,
Ed

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