The Counsel of Trent

writing is thinking

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Parental Paranoia? (From an email to a former student)

parents would sometimes question me for having students read works like Neitzche or Russell's "Why I'm not a Christian" and such things, b/c they feared the effects it might have on the their children (reasonable so in many cases). In some ways, though, what they really should have been worried about is their kids NOT being aware of these guys and their ideas and then falling prey to them in college, as so many do. Weak arguments make weak minds. Weak minds make weak hearts (you can't muster much courage for what you don't really believe). Weak hearts make weak Christians. Thus, it is a service to the Christian community to make strong Christians by giving them strong hearts by giving them strong minds by giving them string arguments. The best way to strengthen an argument is to attack it wherever it can be attacked. It's a win-win situation. Either the argument withstands the attack or it doesn't. If it doesn't, then you win by getting rid of a weak argument on your own and not embarrassing yourself before an unbeliever. If it does withstand the attack, then you win by having warranted confidence in the argument and by being in a better dialectical position to defend it. So I think a way to make class more exciting AND be of service to the community is to vigorously attack any potential weakness you see in an argument (just be sure to go after the premise, not the person).

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