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HOW TO ARGUE RELIGION
by BOB KUHN
04/19/06
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{THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON SUITE101.COM}


HOW TO ARGUE RELIGION


You have likely heard the phrase, "Never discuss politics or religion." In fact, if we were to categorize topics according to conversational appropriateness, religion and politics would likely fall somewhere between details of personal hygiene and family medical history. Although politics can be boring, religion very seldom is. Religious conversation involves issues that are far more interesting than the typical socially accepted dialogues of work, wardrobe, and weather. Instead of being labeled the taboo-of-talk, I believe religion should be considered a major topic option for recreational discourse.

Many who object point out that most religious discussions turn into religious arguments, but I see that as a benefit. Arguing is fun and religious argument should be treated as a game. Like other games, it has participants, spectators, winners, and losers. Problems arise, however, when none of the participants of a sacred-squabble recognize the purpose of the competition. It is mistakenly perceived to be either a defense of beliefs or a persuasion of truth. However, as in most religious activities, image is the actual objective. Truth has very little to do with winning a religious argument. The real victor of the consecrated-contest is the one who appears to be the most spiritual, the most rational, and the most insightful. As a contestant, your goal is to make yourself look good at the expense of all others.

Those who are keenly aware of the contest's genuine intent hold a decided advantage over all others. Cumbersome procedures such as proper research, verification of accuracy, honesty, and documentation of facts are not needed to triumph. There are, however, five simple, yet powerful techniques that are extremely helpful. I have listed those techniques below.


Technique1: Subtly Claim Moral Superiority

Your antagonists must be made to look vile and despicable for even daring to disagree with you. You must make yourself appear more concerned and more loving than they are. The way to accomplish this is to state that your reason for choosing the side you choose is because of your love and sensitivity. This position automatically infers that your opponents choose the other side of the argument because of a lack of concern and lack of love. This technique should be used when it becomes apparent that your argument lacks logical merit. Begin by telling an emotional story of some very young or very old person who was deeply hurt as a result of your opponent's position. You could choose instead to share a story of some person who was greatly blessed as a direct result of circumstances brought about by your position. Either way, use the story to imply that a truly loving and sensitive person would never defend your opponent's view. Always appeal to the emotions of the spectators when using this technique. (Please note that these stories can be fabrications; but if a true story is used, always embellish it to the max.)


Technique 2: Assert Spiritual Supremacy

Since the subject at hand is a religious one, there are likely to be areas that transcend common human reasoning, such as areas of faith and spirituality. Here is where you can really gain an advantage. If you can convince the spectators that you are more spiritually advanced than your opponents, half the battle is won. Instead of saying, "I think" or "It seems to me," use phrases such as "God revealed this truth to me," or "I entered a new level of spiritual understanding when I finally realized this reality." If your opponents disagree, just give a condescending look and say, "I understand. We are all at different levels of spiritual growth."


Technique 3: Suggest Intellectual Dominance

The best way to appear intelligent is to quote statistics. The best statistics to quote are those you make up yourself. Nothing impresses followers and intimidates opponents more than a strategically placed barrage of supportive statistics. You not only make yourself seem informed, but you also begin to erode the self-confidence of your adversary. Keep in mind that fabricated statistics cannot be refuted; they can only be questioned. The chances that they will be questioned are very unlikely. In the heat of a religious argument no one bothers to verify the accuracy of a statistic, especially if it is presented as an item of common knowledge among the intellectually elite. After all, anyone who has ever studied argumentation knows that 72 percent of all statistics are made up anyway.


Technique 4: Ridicule Your Rivals

If you are not up to making yourself look good, simply focus on making your opponents look bad. Make up humiliating names and use them when referring to those who challenge your beliefs. Accuse them of being deranged, or crazy, or stupid. Always try to associate the insult with the argument at hand. For example, if you are arguing with an overweight person who believes in following a strict set of religious rules with which you disagree, you would not gain an advantage by just calling him or her fat. But it would be appropriate to call him or her a fat self-righteous Pharisee. You are ridiculing the person in an area that indirectly relates to the argument at hand. (The spectators love that type of criticism.) But avoid using clichéd insults like homophobe. Instead, make up some of your own. This can be the most enjoyable aspect of the entire argument.


Technique 5: Make Scathing Accusations

Finally, if all else fails, accuse your opponents of something they cannot disprove. State that they are only being stubborn and that they have no desire to learn the truth. Blame them for trying to confuse the issue at hand. Accuse them of lying about their spiritual experiences and their ethical beliefs. Once you establish that your opponent is not worthy of your opinions, you can disgustedly leave the argument appearing to have won at least a partial victory.

I hope these five techniques will help you have more enjoyable and more victorious religious arguments in the future.


If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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Edy T Johnson  20 Apr 2006
This is great satire, but it definitely teaches as well. By spelling out the techniques used in arguments (the opposition will certainly use these to his advantage against us), we can be fore-warned and fore-armed. Now, we just need a sequel on how to specifically respond, the way Jesus would, to each of these argumentative techniques (the goal, afterall, not being to win the battle that has already been won, but to be a doorkeeper for the Kingdom of Heaven)! I love good humor--thank you for this writing.




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