Blogging the Passive-Aggressive Way

I just happened to go to the Triablogue website. I noticed that Hays dedicated an entire post to his combox exchange with me regarding the failure of the Resurrection as an explanatory hypothesis. I found it interesting  to see how he categorized the post:

It appears that Hays has dedicated an entire blog post category or “label” to “Village Atheist.” Not all of his posts about comments made by atheists seem to be placed into this category, so one can only assume that he is using the label in a way that is consistent with its connotation, as a slur against what he takes to be stupid or unsophisticated atheist arguments.

Too many people on both sides of theist-atheist discourse are verbally abusive. To be clear, no one is perfect. I’ve been guilty of this sort of thing myself. As tempting as it is to respond to Hays in kind, I’m going to take the high road. It would be nice if everyone could elevate the level of the discussion and keep it professional.

Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 2
The Theistic Arguments: A Brief Critique
“A Leap of Faith”
Interview with Prof. Axgrind
About Jeffery Jay Lowder

Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.

  • steve hays

    “Passive-aggressive”? Well, that’s half right.

    I label posts according to the quality of the argumentation I’m responding to, which is often variable. As a matter of fact, your interpretation of 1 Cor 15 is unsophisticated, as is your allusion to Lk 20:36 (or its Synoptic parallels).

    I don’t label all my responses to you by that category.

  • Keith Parsons

    Jeff, surely you remember the fable of the frog and the scorpion. If you give a scorpion a ride it will sting you. That is its nature. If you try to have a civil, rational argument with Hays or his ilk, they will be jerks. Complaining that they are acting like jerks is like complaining that scorpions will sting. It is their nature.

    • Matt DeStefano

      I agree with Keith here. We have no evidence that Hays & co. are even capable of civil discussion. Until we do, it’s best to proceed under the belief that they cannot until shown otherwise.

  • Jason Thibodeau

    I think that we just have to steel ourselves against verbal abuse. It is fair to point out ad hominem abusive fallacies when they occur and to cease to engage with those who resort to abuse. Beyond that, hoping for civility is a bit like rooting for the Cubs.

    • Jeffery Jay Lowder

      I agree. I’m upvoting your comment.

      • Derek

        The dilemma is Steve Hays is highly intelligent and makes considerably insightful points but his points are laced with ad hominem. If we leave his points unanswered, then obviously they stand unanswered. But we have to wade through all his ad hominem to debate him. He’s like a Michael Jordan where Jordan was one of the greatest basketball players in history but always used to trash-talk other players on the court.

        • Keith Parsons


          As I see it, intelligence is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for debate-worthiness. Essential also is a fundamental respect for the integrity and worth of the process of intellectual exchange. Such respect implies further respect for any interlocutor who, though his opinions may be diametrically opposed to yours, seeks to engage in rational debate. Those whose stock-in-trade is derision, ad hominem, straw-man, and well-poisoning show their disrespect for the process of rational debate. Such persons are True Believers who will prefer a forensic triumph (achieved, at least, in their own minds) to an honest exchange. True Believers will sometimes offer perfectly legitimate arguments when it suits their purpose, but the real game for them is to say anything that promotes the doctrinal imperative. One could, I guess, cherry pick the reasonable bits from the morass of invective and irrelevance, but why bother when there are smarter, better informed persons who are happy to have a civil discussion? Victor Reppert comes to mind. He and others like him show that it is possible to have strong, even passionate commitments without demeaning the differently persuaded.

  • jonhanson

    Jeffery, love the blog, definitely not a fan of Triablogue, but I have to say this post feels kind of passive agressive. I mean, calling him out on his bs is fine, but talking about how you’re going to take the high road afterwards feels like a sideways jab and a bemrag at the same time. I don’t know, it’s not a big deal but I have a problem with people talking about their good traits rather than just practicing, especially when you’re conparing yourself to another and implicitly asserting your superiority.

    • Jeffery Jay Lowder

      Thanks for your feedback. I honestly don’t see how my post is passive-aggressive right now, but I’ll think about what you’ve written. For what it’s worth, I think there’s a difference between talking about one’s good traits vs. one’s intentions. I never said I always take the high road. In fact, I said just the opposite: I admitted that “I have been guilty of this sort of thing myself.”

      As I said, though, I’ll give your comment some thought.

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