March 28, 2007

Lesson in Logic

Christianity Today's Weblog offered a much needed lesson in logic to the Institute on Religion and Democracy. The IRD had attacked Richard Cizik of the National Association Evangelical (see my previous posts on this issue here, here, and here). The IRD claimed that Cizik was leading the NAE to become focused on issues of lesser importance. As "proof," they noted that the subjects on which the media recently covered the NAE:
By far the leading issue linked to the NAE was the environment and global warming, with 37 percent of the non-Haggard-scandal mentions. ... If this Nexis search is any indication, the NAE certainly has not been caught up in the 'hot button' culture wars issues. Only three percent of the NAE media mentions related to its opposition to same-sex marriage, and less than one percent involved opposition to abortion.
CT then offered this great reminder to the IRD:
Uh, or is it possible that there's a phenomenon known as pack journalism, wherein reporters tend to quote each others' sources, follow up on each others' stories, and feed the same narrative? And it's also possible, as George Gerbner postulated, that mass media coverage cultivates attitudes about people that do not correspond to reality. That media outlets keep covering Cizik's environmental views means that reporters find those views interesting. It doesn't mean that Cizik talks about the environment 37 percent of the time. And that reporters seldom quote Cizik on same-sex marriage and abortion may simply mean that they have others in their Rolodexes that they prefer to call on those subjects.
An excellent point! This is a great reminder about making sure one thinks through an argument before making it. The IRD--and many other Christians--often display very poor logic. It is time for us to serve the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, body, and mind!

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:58 AM

    "The IRD—and many other Christians—often display very poor logic." Fascinating that you throw that out so baldly and without qualification or evidence (other than one instance you claim is poor logic on Alan Wisdom's part).

    Maybe you need to write a posting about how you need to follow your own advice: "This Blog is designed to teach Christians how to communicate effectively, which includes knowing when to remain silent. Sadly, Christians often do a poor job of communicating, which can make us look bad and drive people away from God. Sometimes I want to just say to those Christians: 'For God’s sake, shut up.'"

    Like you, I think we must confront harmful statements, and your blanket dismissal of your fellow Christians is one of them.

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  2. Thanks for leaving your concern. You are correct that we must be careful with our criticisms of others, though I believe my statement about the IRD can be backed up. In case you missed it, here are some previous posts I have made about the IRD that show some problems in addition to the one pointed out by Christianity Today:

    Mistakes and Plagiarism

    Hypocrisy

    Abandoned?

    NAE Stays Cool

    And there have been other items I have read from the IRD that have also been problematic. So, I believe my statement about the IRD is justified. However, I am not sure this is a “blanket dismissal” of them. I am not saying they are awful and should be kick out of Christian fellowship, but instead I am saying they need to be more careful with what they say. There is a huge difference between those two positions.

    At the same time, you do raise a good point. I do not claim to be perfect with my communication and I openly admit that I am still trying to improve my own communication in the same ways I am urging others to do so.

    ReplyDelete