by Lana Hope cross posted from her blog Wide Open Ground
Some days -so much of the freakin time – fundies don’t give back any substantial rebuttal or feedback to arguments that have been addressed specially at them. For example, a while back, Libby Anne addressed how the leading homeschool legal defense group in America, HSLDA, had called a child abuser a hero. That’s a substantial claim that would deserve a good answer.
But fundies don’t usually give back any sort of substantial argument. They might, however, name call (“you feminist” or “Jezebel”), or they might go so insanely vague on the argument, or they might laugh themselves sick and assume others are bitter, but shallow, thinkers.
HSLDA responded all vague. Surprise, suprise. Then numerous other individuals just cried, “she can’t know what she’s doing. She’s an atheist.” Yea, FOR REAL KINDA CRAZY STUFF.
I’ll tell you an insiders secret:
Fundies are trained not to give the other side a bit of an edge.
My mom knows child abuse is an issue that has not been addressed in homeschool mom circles. She remembers when one of my friends came over with bruises on her back and how the girl had been forced to stand in front of her church and repent for something we knew was a load of crap. My mom knows about another friend whose dad repeatedly shoved him against the wall. My mom was always against their abuse and NEVER said it was their fault.
Yet now a decade later she said I shouldn’t tell the child abuse stories online. Not because it didn’t happen. It did.
“It will ruin homeschooling for the rest of us!”
So get this: It’s okay to defend your beliefs. But suppose someone else does come along and not only challenges your position, but also make some good points?
Ignore the meat of the argument.
Ignore all together.
Don’t ever say, “Yeah, fundamentalism has some holes, you’re right. But here is why it’s not as big of a deal as you think….” or “Yeah, fundamentalism has some holes. I still disagree with your conclusion because…..”
NO HECK NO. We don’t ever say that. Not to our opponents face, anyway. (Debate teams don’t count.)
Here’s another secret: as a kid, I thought going all vague and not admitting to agreeing whatsoever at all was the best response. Yea, that’s what I thought.
Then I met healthy disagreements. A good example is the recent debate between Marcus Borg and Tony Jones. They disagree on whether Jesus physically resurrected from the dead. They went back and forth and back and forth on their blogs. They never name called, they addressed the dang arguments (especially that part), and yet they still disagreed. Novel?
Oh yes, novel to me.
I’ve gotten interested recently in a very, very, very, very current philosophy of religion debate in academia. In fact, it’s so recent that theists are arguing with theists over how to best defend this. ARGUING WITH THEIR OWN DANG TEAM MEMBERS! IN JOURNAL ARTICLES. Talk about flooring me.
This is why folks like Kevin Swanson who recently on his Generations with Vision podcast referring to Homeschoolers Anonymous, said we are “a bunch of bitter ex-fundie homeschoolers” who are “finding each other on these websites” and “opening up [our] IHateHomeschooling.com websites.”
Not only could Swanson not say, “Yeah, Mary’s life was living hell. I agree” (cuz that might make homeschooling look bad), but he also couldn’t see beyond the fog that maybe we aren’t all or nothing kind of folks.
Why? Because if we were prohomeschooling, you see, (back to what my mom said), we wouldn’t be speaking up. Swanson is taking this at face value. So we are speaking up; therefore, we are IHateHomeschooling.com kind of people.
You are so wrong, Mr. Swanson.
In fact, I’m so pro-homeschooling that I’d totally leave the country if homeschooling were illegal in America (oh wait, I already left the country).
It’s possible to say, “yea, I’m prohomeschooling, but sometimes homeschooling sucks.” It’s also possible for me to disagree with other bloggers on certain issues, even other bloggers on H.A., and yet still have some common ground and share group hugs.
I say let the defenses down.
If Swanson doesn’t want to agree with Homeschoolers Anonymous, he should say what he disagrees with and address our arguments. I’m not all oh-he’s-gotta-agree kinda gal. Just, yeah, tell me the what, why, and how you disagree.
Oh yeah, that’s against the fundamental code book.
That’s why I enjoyed the Tony Jones/Marcus Borg debate. The only thing that I didn’t like is that I’m a nobody and don’t get smart folks like that to argue with me.
Comments open below
Lana Hope was homeschooled 1st-12th grade in a small town and rural culture. Involved in ATI, her life growing up was gendered, sheltered, and with a lot of shame and rules in disguise of Biblical principles and character qualities. After college Lana moved to SE Asia and began working with the abused, and upon discovering that the large world is not at all like she had been taught, she finally questioned it all, from Calvinism to the homeschool movement to the foundation of her Christian faith. Today Lana is a Christian Universalist, holds a B.A. in English, and is currently working on a M.A. in philosophy. She blogs about the struggles she has faced leaving fundamentalism and homeschooling behind and how travel and missions has wrecked her life for good and bad at her blog www.wideopenground.com.
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce