Sunday, August 8, 2010


I’m just wondering how much division has been caused in families, in the Church and between nations with attitudes that might be summarized by an outburst from those in authority, “Because I said so; so sit down and shut up.” To which the expected (but equally unhelpful) response from those under authority often is, “No one’s going to tell ME what to do!” This kind of “discussion” was satirized years ago on Saturday Night Live by Jane Curtin and Dan Ackroyd with the famous tag, “Jane, you ignorant slut!”

I wonder if making the 2nd statement could have been avoided by not making the 1st; I wonder if by not making the 2nd those making the 1st could be brought around.

I wonder if the bottom line is speaking the truth not in bullying or anger, not in defiance or resentment, but speaking the truth in love…


  1. Not all arguments are about TRUTH, are they? This led me to explore an excerpt from "The Common Man", G.K. Chesterton:
    'It is true to insist upon God's knowledge, but heretical to insist on it as Calvin did at the expense of his Love; it is true to desire a simple life, but heretical to desire it at the expense of good feeling and good manners. The heretic (who is also the fanatic) is not a man who loves truth too much; no man can love truth too much. The heretic is a man who loves HIS truth more than truth itself. He prefers the half-truth that he has found to the whole truth which humanity has found.'
    So, psychologically speaking, the development of self-control and thoughtful thinking possibly determines the manner in which one argues; the lynch-pin of one's core beliefs may not even be recognized -
    Hence, a desire for a reasonable presentation in an argument gives way to impulsive, derogatory speech.

  2. In his "Prophetical Office," John Henry Newman (writing in 1837, before he entered the Catholic Church) wrote that the problems (among other things) with "Private Interpretation" involve 1. inaccuracies of mind, either from bad logic or bad facts; and 2. prejudices. Needless to say, Chesterton's quote is a reaction to the latter. Both Chesterton and Newman are (as of course I would think!) right on target...