Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Worthy Discussion?

In reaction to this post of mine citing an article by Candice Watters, Happy Feminist has written her own perspective on her blog (NOTE: I want to warn you that there is some language used!). She offered to link to me, but acknowledged that I might not want a crowd of people traipsing over here for an argument:o) While I'm certainly not against a good DISCUSSION, she's right that I'm not hankering for an ARGUMENT. I genuinely appreciate women like Happy Feminist who graciously engage in respectful dialogue with people of opposing viewpoints without resorting to name-calling and dagger-throwing, and would prefer not to accommodate the latter sort on this blog.

Anyway, I responded to HF that I would direct my readers to her site if they want to participate in the discussion over there. My own post on the topic is a week old, and I've since moved on to other subjects.

To be honest, I'm not positive that much can be gained by arguing details with folks who have an entirely different worldview. Our rousing discussion isn't going to change anyone's minds if God hasn't first changed their hearts. But we SHOULD learn to interact with non-believers in a gracious and loving manner. We are to be salt and light, and sometimes that means just letting the joy that we have in God and with our families shine through. If only one person is touched by that, it's worth it. What do you guys think? Also, what is the value of and place for intellectual discussion with non-believers? I have heard stories of God using these types of discussions to reach people, so I tend to believe it's a worthy endeavor. But I'm interested in reading some of your thoughts about this.


Anonymous The Happy Feminist said...

Thank you SO much for your kind words. My blog was born in part out of my interest in discussing issues with people of different world views, especially conservative Christians in the U.S. I'll admit that part of it for me is that I just think that it's interesting. But I have wrestled with the question of whether these discussions are worthwhile or productive since we are operating from different standards and may not wind up agreeing on very much. (My post on this topic is here

I have concluded that, like it or not, secular humanists and conservative Christians are both influential forces in U.S. politics and culture. So understanding each other, even if we can't agree, can't be a bad thing.

There will certainly be times when I read what a conservative Christian has to say and conclude that his or her views are both wrong headed and immoral (as in the case of Watters). There will be other times when I find myself in sympathy with a conservative Christian who is misunderstood or mischaracterized or even discriminated against by non-Christians.

And vice-versa. I am sure that many of you think half of what I have to say is absolutely whacky and immoral. But I like to think that at times some of what I write may help people to view the interests of feminist women like me with a bit more sympathy. Or at least to realize that we are not the hateful screaming harpies that many imagine us to be.

In other words, I like to hear opposing views directly from the people who hold them rather than distorted in the popular media. I may not always like what I see but at least I am learning what people actually think, rather than some media caricature of what certain people are supposedly like.

1:14 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

When it comes to the things of God such as salvation and the Bible, the Bible commands us to be able know what we believe and why and to be able to answer.

It says in 1 Peter 3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"

On my most recent post, a commenter questioned why I was trying to prove the Bible to be true and my good friend, Mrs. R, had an excellent answer to that question. The commenter used the expression 'You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink'. And part of Mrs. R's response was "But, as Christians, we're to be both salt and light. And true, you can't make a horse drink, but you can sure make him thirsty."

However, I'm inclined to agree with you about trying to debate feminism with feminists. I like what you said about interacting with them, in a gracious and loving manner. However I think that majoring on 'details', as you put it, is pointless. I'm much more interested in someone's soul and where they're going to spend eternity than with their politics and such.

That being said, I think that we need to continue to write books and articles and blog about what we believe and how we think things should be. We need to be a voice but the Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:23 "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes." also Titus 3:9 says "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain."

In my humble opinion, trying to straighten out people's beliefs before their heart has been changed is putting the cart before the horse.

Again, just my .02. I could be wrong. (o:

1:23 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

Erin, I just read your comments on HF's post and you did a fabulous job! You are wonderful at expressing yourself in a clear and concise and kind way.

HF: I will say that reading your blog has helped me understand you and other feminists a little bit better. I don't agree but at least it helps me to not lump people into one big least not as much! (o;

1:44 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Becky Miller said...

Mrs. B - well said!!! (I hate using multiple exclaimation points, but I felt you earned them. : ) And I like what your friend said about being salt and making people thirsty for truth.

I agree with Mrs. B and HF - loving discussion can be very fruitful in helping us understand each other, but heart change is ultimately more important than mind-change. God uses "the foolish things of the world to shame the wise," and as Delirious puts it, "The Cross is such foolishness to the perishing ones." The Christian worldview will make NO SENSE to someone who does not know Jesus. But the moment someone has a personal encounter with Him, the Holy Spirit starts to teach them. Mind change follows heart change.

Friendly questioning and debate have their place, but if it becomes vituperative and pushes people away from Christ, it's pointless. Our time and energy would be much better spent on praying for those who don't know Jesus and sharing the Gospel with them. Talking about Christ and Him crucified will be more worthwhile than talking about women's roles.

9:16 AM, March 31, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

Thank you very much Becky, for your kind and encouraging words(and all 3 explanation marks!)! I really needed to hear them....I'm currently dealing with a commenter who thinks it's wrong that I am blogging about things like 'How we can know the Bible is True' and things like that. I expect that kind of criticism from the world but am kinda surprised to hear it from a fellow believer.

Thanks again! (o:

11:33 AM, March 31, 2006  

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