Don’t Be A Jerk, But We Should Still Talk About It


Last month I tried to have a conversation with another blogger about her anti-feminism. Needless to say, it did not go well. However, life soon led me to forget the conversation ever happened. Yesterday, another blogger replied to one of my comments. Withteeth decided to give the conversation another go. Again, it went nowhere. After the conversation, I noticed that the blogger put this post up: http://wildaboutegypt.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/you-mad-bro/. I thought I’d respond to it here.
Before I begin, I have a few things to say. First, it is never okay to comment on another person’s blog to abuse them. Withteeth and I have gotten a lot of abuse over the last year, and I know other bloggers have too. Whether you agree or disagree with someone, please try to be courteous while commenting. I know it’s hard sometimes, and Withteeth and I sometimes fail to be courteous at times, but a friendly conversation will get you farther than insults will. Second, as much as we all like being agreed with all the time, it’s not going to happen. And we’d never learn anything if we did. People are going to comment to tell you your wrong. You don’t have to agree with them, but you don’t have to get upset either. Again, a friendly conversation will get you a lot farther than an angry, flippant response. Third, dialogue and debate shouldn’t be shut down unless it’s no longer respectful. It’s how we learn. We all hold false beliefs. We can only get rid of those beliefs by hearing all sides of the argument. Remember: not all opinions are created equal. And I don’t have to respect your opinion (though that’s not to say the conversation shouldn’t be respectful). Now, onto the response:
“However, I’m very open about how I’m a Christian and these posts are from a Christian viewpoint. If all you’re going to do is insult me and try to tear apart my argument, even if you run out of points, then go find another blogger to try and destroy. Feel free to read, but please don’t be so rude in the comments.”
There are a lot of Christians who blog here. There are a lot of non-Christians too. That means there are many different view points being shared by many different people. At some point we’re all going to come across people we disagree with. But what is a Christian viewpoint? Is it a viewpoint held by a Christian? If so, I know a Christian who likes to put sprinkles on her toast. Is that now a Christian viewpoint? Is a Christian viewpoint a viewpoint that is only held by Christians? Because I don’t think such a thing exists? Is a Christian viewpoint a viewpoint that is fundamental to being a Christian? If so, the only real Christian viewpoints are the God of the Bible exists, Jesus Christ exists/existed and has/had some relationship with God, and the Bible is an important text. Those are the only viewpoints all Christians share. Everything else is an add-on based on your denomination, the place you live, and the church you attend. So what do you mean by “Christian viewpoints”?
Again, we are all going to run into opinions that we don’t agree with. This is the internet. What’s more, this is a secular site with many different beliefs expressed her. If you don’t like people disagreeing with your opinions, don’t post them. If people are attacking you, then of course that isn’t right, and you have every right to speak out against them. You can even block them from being able to comment. Withteeth and I have had to do that with a few people, but we try to avoid doing so until people are getting quite abusive. Some people on the internet are assholes. Unfortunately we all have to deal with them. But it’s important to know the difference between people who are assholes and people who disagree with you who genuinely want to have a discussion. The internet makes intent difficult to read, because we have no body language to read, but most people are genuinely interested in having a discussion.
“If you are actually open to other people’s opinions and Christianity, then I do encourage you to read and comment. I love a nice discussion.”
This isn’t a one way street. If you want people to learn about Christianity (or rather, your version of Christianity) then you need to be willing to hear their opinion too. This is the internet, it’s not an echo chamber. Having a nice discussion is great, but if you just want to talk at people and have them accept what you have to say, you’re in the wrong place.
“Seriously, if you don’t care about my opinion, why are you getting so worked up about it?”
People don’t get worked up about opinions they don’t care about. If someone is getting worked up about your opinion, that means they do in fact care about it. They likely disagree with you and what to have an actual discussion. If you shut them down, then they may get quite upset. Then again, they may also be trolling. Trolls, as annoying and pathetic as they may be, are part of the territory. If you suspect someone of trolling, ignore them. Or feed them so long as it amuses you. But if you believe that the person isn’t a troll, then they are probably genuinely concerned about what you’ve said and it’s time to have an actual conversation. You will get nowhere if emotions start to fly. Stay calm: the ball is in your court.
“Because I do my very best to be polite and understanding when conversing with people about my blog. And if you want to get anywhere with me, then stop insulting me. Don’t accuse me of being hateful and judgemental when I’m simply putting my beliefs into words.”
Sharing you beliefs is one thing, but when you’re offering judgement, prepare to get judgement back. If someone is being purposefully hurtful, that isn’t okay. But again, try to realize that you may take something as hurtful when the other person is intending to try and get you to think outside of the box. Try to figure out the person’s intent before you get mad. Try to keep the conversation from getting too emotional. If you can do that, then both parties can learn from the conversation.
“You don’t see me cussing you out, saying your opinion is stupid, or telling you to stop shoving your religion down my throat.”
I haven’t seen you cuss, but I have seen you tell people that their opinion is stupid. In fact, you told Withteeth that his opinion was stupid. And he was trying to have a calm and thoughtful conversation with, not you, but another blogger commenting on your post. You took it as an attack and never bothered to try and have a thoughtful conversation. You immediately got mad and threw out any possibility of a civil conversation taking place. What, exactly, did you hope to gain from that?
“A little respect is all I’m asking for.”
Respect is earned. It’s not given freely.
“So, you mad bro?”
Not really, but I’m certainly bemused.

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10 responses to “Don’t Be A Jerk, But We Should Still Talk About It

  • mathie

    “Respect is earned. It’s not given freely.”
    Be careful Hessian, if that statement is true a misogynist could use your own words to justify not respecting women because “they didn’t earn it”.

    Like

    • hessianwithteeth

      They could use it, but that makes them assholes. Respect is earned doesn’t mean you get to choose to disrespect someone because you want to, it means that while you as a human being are treated with respect, your ideas require a certain level of merit. I’m not going to accept her ideas because she wants me to. If she wants her ideas respected, she better have a reason why they deserve respect. I differentiated respecting her and respecting her ideas in the post. She wanted her ideas respected.

      Like

  • Noise Pollution

    This is why I don’t talk to anyone, ever

    Like

  • shawntheatheist

    Some people just want to preach to the choir… They just get upset when they realize the choir isn’t as big as they thought. (This goes for atheists as well, lol)

    Liked by 1 person

  • amoafowaa

    Wow. Such wisdom. I tend to ignore all the abuse, sometimes, I just allow them so other bloggers will see, some get to my defence some chastise me for allowing myself to be bullied but in all, I respect divergent views. And as you rightfully put it, that’s how we learn.

    Like

  • Lydia Thomas

    I agree with the points you make here, but I especially appreciate how you’ve spoken to the issue of Christian viewpoints. Being a Christian myself, I’ve unfortunately seen some Christians say, “Well, I hold this view because I’m a Christian,” as if people who don’t hold the same views are a) lesser Christians or b) (in more extreme situations) not Christians at all. An example of this is Miss Dance-In-the-Rain’s generalizing statement “You can’t be a Christian and a Feminist” when I know plenty of people who are most definitely both!

    I didn’t spend too much time browsing her blog (would have written some comments of my own if I had stayed), but I did see she was seventeen, and that may have something to do with her dogma. I don’t think that makes it right, just might be an explanation – listening is often something that comes with maturity.

    Anyway, great points about conversation. Applies here on the internet, and applies in real life too.

    Liked by 1 person

  • seesharppress

    You hit the nail on the head. You raise some excellent points, especially regarding “Christian viewpoints.”.

    Liked by 1 person

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