Since I am the ‘mike’ being talked about in my recent possibly unexpected swings at Catholic teaching, I may as well respond.
Interesting that a very aggressive person who has called me personally ‘a liar’ in his own post (later retracted)would now act as the seeming objective, uninterested ‘third part’ qualified to measuring levels of aggression by ‘others’. Does this not seem equally as ‘passive-aggressive’?
But to be fair, the question is legitimate, regardless of past history between us, so I would answer it this way. Let’s compare two identical questions in terms of communicating the same packet of theology:
Example ‘bad’ question that will get a lot of down-votes:
‘Are Catholic relics just a pack of lies’ and then list why it seems that way with the information the person has at hand.
Example re-phrasing that argues the same thing but get up-votes:
‘What did Martin Luther think of Catholic relics’ and then answer ones own question with a quote that Luther thought they were a pack of lies. (I may actually raise this question in this method – simply to avoid the negative emotional responses that the first would illicit –through recent experience)
The truth is, however, I prefer the question to be raised in the bad way. I prefer that people ask what they really ask inside themselves and not put on an air of objectivity. In fact I detest that I am forced to do this for all those who I feel need to loose the sensitivity and grow a thicker skin. Yet I will probably oblige more in the future.
Is ‘objectivity’ less aggressive, or often much more aggressive?
We sometimes think that to be academic we must remove all feeling from our observation and pretend a neutral stance on very emotional subjects. This is one of the great hypocrisies of our generation. For example, a news anchorman might read the teleprompter about a war between two nations, one he personally hates and another his own, and he will use an objective voice and relaxed manner as his network provides him all the biased and slanted ‘facts’ for him to slander and spread propaganda. Is this not the most aggressive form of behaviour possible? Is not the impassioned observation of an enemy more deadly and violent than one that reflects true feeling? So let’s not pretend that mature fatherly objectivism pretended by the political grandfather types are automatically ‘not aggressive’ while any honest person who simply says what they mean is ‘aggressive’. This is just a deceptive way of understanding the nature of aggression.
Why is directly attacking Catholic or Protestant teaching considered aggressive?
I have patiently answered a slew of anti-Christian, blasphemous, Calvinistic hating, etc. type questions for a couple months now and never once questioned or even thought about the legitimacy of these questions, nor has most everyone lese. However, I know when I decided to shoot a very small round off over the fence on the Catholic-Protestant divide; I would illicit strong negative response. Why is this? Why did I know I was doing something ‘bad’ while only mildly representing my own long established mainstream church tradition? I think the answer is that on top of our hypocritical modern airs of objectivity, we are also in the middle of various ecumenical movements that present unity above truth and peace above Christ. We applause ourselves when we can get along with other denominations and think we are far superior in this regard to those shameful church founders that made mincemeat our of each other in protecting doctrine. To add to the sentiments of modern day ecumenical movements, lonely people hang out in social media environments in which this is in partly one. In other words, there is no real strong logical reason why attacking another Christian faith is wrong in of itself, but many oppose it because it clashes with their personal desires on an emotional level, not a logical one. The result is true representations of church positions at a very high structural level are repressed leading to in inaccurate overall picture of history and truth in order to preserve social media. I prefer to skip the social media and preserve the history.
Genuine questions often have prejudices built into them, which is why they SHOULD be asked
For this particular question, I can not think of any other way of phrasing because it was my sincere question. Re-wording it would not longer be my question. I also have learned from the answers and no longer have the question as sharp as it was originally formed with respect to the narrow subject that I introduced it with (anti-Semitism). In this way Catholicism benefited as it brought out strong Catholic apologetics that I could not find on Catholic sites I first visited before asking it here.
However even this might be deceptive on the larger scale. I have noticed that when I learning opposing views I often start with unfounded prejudice, then as I listen I realize I was making a cartoon characterisation that nobody actually believes but have only been told this. At this point I may behave as the moderate and clam down those slanderers who originally formed my bias. However this is not the wise objective end of the story for often after I really get to know what the ‘other’ person thinks and compare it to my own, I arrive back where I started and realize ‘Oh they actually do believe what they claim they do not, its only much more subtle and deceptive!
The truth is as a person progresses from ignorance, to partial and more moderate liberal understanding and then final in-depth expert understanding, at each stage their questions should be legitimate. As a person moves along the stages of theological faults lines that divide the tectonic plates of Christianity, hurling rocks at those who sincerely want to revisit them, does not support academia but just whitewashes history. Also, along the path of fire, where strong questions are asked and answered, we burn away our own prejudices on both sides, even if they are replaced by more stinging and final clear differences in the end. This will eventually best represent the founders of our faiths and lead to a stackexchnage that allows the exchanges of history without becoming a false non academic forum for ecumenicalism and social media at the cost of intellectual integrity.