The motte-and-bailey doctrine
Today I am going to teach you an argument tactic called "the motte-and-bailey doctrine".
Imagine you're a medieval lord. You own productive land which is good, but you have enemies, and because they are Powered By Satan, you cannot defend your land from them.
So, you build a castle. It's not economically productive, you don't even like the place, but it's safe so when the enemy comes you go inside it. Then you wait. Eventually your enemies realize that they're just wasting their time at best, and they go away.
Then you come out of that stinky castle and get back to living off the fat of the land.
Evangelism is like medieval warfare. The productive fields consist of children, the politically disengaged, "Low-information Voters", centrists who believe "both sides are [equally] bad" and so on.
We harvest the fields by sending out True Christians preaching the Word of God, every word spelled out, every t crossed and i dotted just as God did when He wrote the Bible.
The enemy are people who disagree with us, and therefore Jesus - any disagreement counts, the term "constructive criticism" does NOT appear in the Bible. "If you are not with me, you are against me" (Matt 12:30). Because Satan powers them, there is no way to survive debate with them.
Our Castle is built of vague, inoffensive statements, best uttered by inoffensive liberal Christians. Yes, it's distasteful, but castles aren't built for comfort. They're built to waste time until your enemies go away, or in our case, for the critic to leave the room.
Eventually the critics don't even bother entering the room, knowing that at best they'll waste their time, and at worst their efforts will be counterproductive because they will end up appearing divisive and nasty.
Critic is in the room: "I will pray for your soul as you persecute us with your intolerance..."
Critic leaves the room:: "America is a Christian nation, love it or leave it!"
Critic is in the room: "Any part of the Bible that looks bad to modern eyes is misinterpreted, it's just a metaphor/poetic flourish/for a specific situation/you're taking the Bible our of context"
Critic leaves the room: "...one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law," -Matthew 5:18 "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." -Revelation 3:16
Critic is in the room: "God is love. God is just my word for the universe. The Founding Fathers and even Einstein used the word God."
Critic leaves the room: Preach about God, how his very human-like ego must be stroked, lest his very human-like Wrath fall upon us. And yes, he knows exactly how you vote, there is no "secret ballot" under the all-seeing, all punishing eyes of the LORD.
Critic is in the room: "How dare you accuse me of wanting to enforce that particular detail of Biblical Law, that's in the Old Testament and we only publish the Old Testement because we had extra paper and ink left over and didn't know what to do with it."
Critic leaves the room:"Now, back to the universal, eternal and perfect blueprint for society that is Biblical Law..."
Critic is in the room: "Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner"
Critic leaves the room: "Back to Psalm 139:22 "I hate with perfect hated" - God
I've long urged all True Christians to use Republican code words, and the use of this tactic is simply the art of giving a single word two meanings, with the literal meaning used when the critic is in the room, and the code-word meaning used when he leaves.
I'm sure you can all think of many examples of how to use this technique.
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Last edited by Jeb Stuart Thurmond; 07-19-2014 at 02:00 PM.
|dark ages, debate, debating atheists, evangelical outreach, high middle ages, medieval|
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