Tips for online arguing?


#1

I'm debating online with a calvinist friend of mine. We're having a lot of fun, but I don't think either of us know how to effeciently argue. We each type really long word documents that cover a lot of topics, and each response (for both of us) just gets more complicated and winded. It feels like we're going nowhere.

My question is, how do you guys argue online? What method works for you and is the most efficient?

Pax

Pat


#2

You might try getting Matt Fradd's DVD. How to win an
Argument without losing a Soul. Could be very helpful to you.:thumbsup:


#3

Well, if someone is simply trolling you, ignore them. :)
But if someone genuinely wants to learn more about the faith or another topic, I agree with the poster above me. :D

:thumbsup:


#4

[quote="CrispSnowflake, post:3, topic:336389"]
Well, if someone is simply trolling you, ignore them. :)
But if someone genuinely wants to learn more about the faith or another topic, I agree with the poster above me. :D

:thumbsup:

[/quote]

He's definatly not trolling me. We know eachother and each love searching for the truth. We're very respectful of one another.

I'll chect that DVD out :)

Thanks!


#5

I try to remember that defending and arguing are fighting. I take into account that others may not realize this, and try to go around things by simply stating my position. If it looks like someone wants only to defend or argue, I just stop. It also helps to ask myself: what would Jesus do?


#6

Make sure it’s a fair discussion; My own experience with Calvinists is they like to ask a lot of ?'s but answer few in return.


#7

He's very fair, but this guy knows his stuff. He's read Trent and V2 and has sent me his problems with the individual canons. I've had to play "catch up" over this last year.

Right now we're debating sola scriptura versus the magisterium. We've tried to argue justification by faith alone, but are just sending more complicated responses to eachother that end up going nowhere with it.

Right now I'm writing a very lenghty paper on authority and I know it's going to go the same direction. I just want to include everything I know, but that's A LOT. I mean, people have written whole books on the subject.

Obviously, I need to keep it short, but how do I keep it effective and efficent?


#8

Don't fight to win, let the truth do the work.

Debates are to the service of the truth, and the audience, avoid deceitful tactics and deception.

Learn the argumentative fallacies and avoid them, and call them out when they are made against you.

Consider what the rebuttal to your claim will be and defeat it before it's made.

Write your thought, then refine it, refine it, refine it. Make your point clearly, and concisely before you submit it. Do not leave a single word that isn't absolutely necessary.

If you have 2 strong points, don't make 3 points. People will take your weakest point to discredit the other 2 points.

Continually reset the tone to a neutral one. After 4-5 exchanges you may need to reset the tone to make sure it doesn't get out of hand. Throw your opponent a bone like "you are making good points but I think".

Avoid line by line exchanges. If your opponent blasted you with a bunch of points, pick the strongest ones and rebut them. The weak ones don't matter they are just fluff.

Don't get into a google search debate. They don't end.

Don't fight little battles, just stick to the war. If the path in front of you is blocked by rebuttal, and it doesn't lead toward the end goal don't fight it.

Don't argue the mechanics of an analogy unless it is a point. If the analogy is not a point then it either assists the understanding of the original point or it doesn't. It can be left alone. Typically if it starts with "If" then it's a point, if it starts like "It's like" then it is probably there to assist in understanding.

Don't engage in an unmatched official debate, either in your favor or against. It distorts the truth.

Protestants and Catholics speak an entirely different language. A debate over one thing can easily get lost in translation.


#9

Just ordered the DVD. Can't wait to watch it!

:thumbsup:


#10

[quote="BookofJames, post:9, topic:336389"]
Just ordered the DVD. Can't wait to watch it!

:thumbsup:

[/quote]

Please do give us a review after you watch it. I'm very interested in what people have to say about it.


#11

Ask a question to answer a question. God Bless!!!


#12

[quote="BookofJames, post:1, topic:336389"]
I'm debating online with a calvinist friend of mine. We're having a lot of fun, but I don't think either of us know how to effeciently argue. We each type really long word documents that cover a lot of topics, and each response (for both of us) just gets more complicated and winded. It feels like we're going nowhere.

My question is, how do you guys argue online? What method works for you and is the most efficient?

Pax

Pat

[/quote]

Stick to one topic at a time.

No, seriously...just one.

You can talk about other stuff later, but stay focused.

On one topic.

At a time. :thumbsup:


#13

I have to steal a quote from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and say seek first to understand, then to be understood.


#14

[quote="BookofJames, post:1, topic:336389"]
I'm debating online with a calvinist friend of mine. We're having a lot of fun, but I don't think either of us know how to effeciently argue. We each type really long word documents that cover a lot of topics, and each response (for both of us) just gets more complicated and winded. It feels like we're going nowhere.

My question is, how do you guys argue online? What method works for you and is the most efficient?

Pax

Pat

[/quote]

I would keep it simple.

I or 2 paragraphs at a time. Question and answer type format, or perhaps statement rebuttal. but handle one objection at a time. Typically this will the lead to one objection after another and you just keep working out one at a time. Don't let him change the subject when he runs out of objectives.

I also try to simplify things a lot, for example Purgatory.

A great way to get started on that topic with a Calvinist or Evangelical is to say "Do you believe that you are made perfect when you die and enter heaven? God will miraculously take away all pain, sin, suffering, sadness, and yo will live in his joy?"

Undoubtedly they will say "of course"

You can then respond that they believe in Purgatory because that is all that it is.

Then you can handle their objections better because they will have a properly set frame of mind and they will find their preconceived notions melted away whether they like it or not.

Something similar can be done with a lot of the hot button topics.


#15

[quote="Jon_S, post:14, topic:336389"]
I would keep it simple.

I or 2 paragraphs at a time. Question and answer type format, or perhaps statement rebuttal. but handle one objection at a time. Typically this will the lead to one objection after another and you just keep working out one at a time. Don't let him change the subject when he runs out of objectives.

I also try to simplify things a lot, for example Purgatory.

A great way to get started on that topic with a Calvinist or Evangelical is to say "Do you believe that you are made perfect when you die and enter heaven? God will miraculously take away all pain, sin, suffering, sadness, and yo will live in his joy?"

Undoubtedly they will say "of course"

You can then respond that they believe in Purgatory because that is all that it is.

Then you can handle their objections better because they will have a properly set frame of mind and they will find their preconceived notions melted away whether they like it or not.

Something similar can be done with a lot of the hot button topics.

[/quote]

I also notice something you do that I think is important online: you keep your thoughts organized with paragraphs and short sentences.

I've heard it said that brevity is the soul of wit, and you exhibit it well.

Breaking up your thoughts makes it much easier for others to comprehend your ideas.


#16

I would agree with everything said, especially the "ask a question to answer the question" comment. I've had many intense but friendly conversations with hardcore Calvinists, which have been fruitful for both sides. Often they will give you a sermon. I try to be socratic. Often they will be very long winded, I try to be brief. Often they will send a link to ccel.org, or an RC Sproul sermon, or a Charles Spurgeon sermon, while I try to use my own words and summarize with my own words whatever links I send (nothing annoys me more than answering a question with "here, read what so- and-so says.")

In addition, I usually try to pray before posting an online comment, for both wisdom and charity. I'll pray three hail marys and then ask for the intercession of certain saints, especially those who might be particularly germane to the discussion. For instance, St. Augustine is always a good intercessor in Calvinist discussions. Ditto St. Francis de Sales. St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Pius V are good for Council of Trent discussions. St. Irenaeus St. Justin Martyr, St. Ignatius of Antioch for early church history and authority, etc. etc.

And lastly, don't be thin-skinned, but don't be a pushover. It's almost a sure bet that they'll something that seems insulting. If that happens, I think it's fine to be a little pointed/aggressive right back, but in a charitable way with a friendly smile and/or a wink, kind of like friends busting each other's chops (praying to strike the right tone seems to work for me. :) )


#17

As a former Catholic who has become a fully convinced Calvinist, I'd like to offer my 2 cents worth. There has been a lot of good advice - pick a topic and stick to it (much like a thread on the forum). If you find yourselves constantly straying into another area, you may want to change the topic to the other area, as this may need to be resolved first (like a building, you don't start with the roof or walls, but you make sure you have a good foundation to build on).

Don't be dismissive, but address what your opponent says. For example, in another thread, I posted a paragraph from Origen and gave a link to my source. A Catholic dismissed it without comment by pointing out that the source was "an Orthodox website". I then posted the next paragraph in what Origen wrote, and pointed out that the previous paragraph was identical to what is found in the Faith Database, which is available for sale in the CA shop. The same Catholic disparaged Origen and accused me of surfing every fundamentalist website looking for something to use. I see very little value in carrying on a discussion with someone like that. In discussions on Purgatory, the book of Maccabees has been brought up. Rather than simply dismiss it with, "I don't consider Maccabees to be Scripture", I actually address the verses cited.

Very important - CHECK YOUR SOURCES!!! Just to point out a couple that I've heard before, no ECF that I'm aware of ever said, "Rome has spoken, the case is closed", and the source for the 33,000+ "Protestant" denominations includes (among other things) over 1,000 Catholic denominations (to be fair, only 242 are Roman Catholic). One poster mentioned how he would handle a discussion on Purgatory. I would check Catholic sources (like the CCC, Catholic Encyclopedia, church councils, etc...) to see what the Church says about the subject. Be prepared to give your sources!

Be careful about using quote books. I try not to use the ECF's because they had a wide variety of opinions. When I do use them, I will rarely give a quote, but will post the full paragraph (as well as the citation of where it can be found, in case anyone wants to look it up for themselves) in which the quote is given so that the context can be understood.

Finally, I believe you can learn from listening to others. For example, Tim Staples did a debate with a Calvinist (James White) on Purgatory, which should be available in the CA shop. James White has debated other Catholic apologists (Sungenis, Pacwa, and Stravinskus to name a few) on other topics (Marian dogmas, the Papacy, Prayer to and veneration of saints and angels to name a few). I'm not sure how many of these CA offers, but the "debate" with Akin (which CA has offered in the past) wasn't really a debate, but a discussion on the Bible Answer Man program. Still, it could be informative. If you're interested in getting some of the other debates that CA doesn't offer, you can PM me and I'll be happy to give you the website.


#18

[quote="BookofJames, post:1, topic:336389"]
I'm debating online with a calvinist friend of mine. We're having a lot of fun, but I don't think either of us know how to effeciently argue. We each type really long word documents that cover a lot of topics, and each response (for both of us) just gets more complicated and winded. It feels like we're going nowhere.

My question is, how do you guys argue online? What method works for you and is the most efficient?

Pax

Pat

[/quote]

I'l introduce you to my ex wife Pat..... she will teach you.... haha


#19

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.