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As rational thinkers, some of us are frequently disappointed by the arguments against scientific results, and specifically, the use of biblical references to do stupid things. The fact is, though, that a moral argument can be made for almost anything that is the right thing to do, and if it is convincing, and preferably in person, it is the one thing that can get a fundamentalist to change their mind.

A recent diary mentioned the Pope's use of "Who am I to judge?" as a statement that a fundamentalist would never say, but I would counter that it is used all the time. "Who am I to judge, but..." or, "I will say this and this and that about them, but who am I to judge?" When someone says that the thing to do is agree with them, and stress the variety of people that they know and how everyone is different, but that we are all children of G-d. That is what will get them thinking. Emphasizing the idea of not judging someone you don't know is the way to reinforce their caveat that they are not the ones to judge.

Appealing to the children is particularly important in the climate change debate, but not without making it personal and immediate. Al Gore has rightfully concluded that an appeal to moral arguments is needed to sway some people. What you have to realize, is that if people have a "second coming" mindset, that this is where the argument needs to be made. You can say that we need to think of our children and our grandchildren and how we leave the earth to them, but more effective is the personal and immediate consideration. It is written that the devil tempted Jesus to throw himself off of a cliff and if he is the son of G-d that G-d will save him. If we see a cliff, should we jump and tempt the wrath of G-d, or should we be responsible caretakers of the earth? People have been expecting the second coming since the first century, but it is written that no one will know the date.

It is also worth pointing out that TV shows the worst of people and that it is not representative of the way things really are. If TV were like real life, not many people would want to sit and watch it. This brings people back from their TV morality to their personal experiences. Convincing people that TV is entertainment, and not meant to be realistic, is an important way to help reset their moral compass to the world around us.

Tolerance is a particularly important and difficult topic from a fundamentalist standpoint. Not only are we not the people to judge, but the whole point of the new testament is that if we have love in our hearts, that the old testament laws do not necessarily have to be followed. Specifically, following the ten commandments are referenced, but as articles have pointed out, we are not encouraged to judge homosexuals just as we are not going to burn witches or stone our children to death.

It is easy to think of a fundamentalist mindset as being closed and unchangeable, but people do respond to life's lessons, and if a new idea fits into their notions of what is debatable, then the debate can really go either way, depending on whether you appeal to morality and the idea of unconditional love.

Poll

When I next meet a fundamentalist and they say something that I find inappropriate...

15%3 votes
21%4 votes
26%5 votes
36%7 votes

| 19 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  thought provoking - thanks (0+ / 0-)

    This is a new thought for me:

    Convincing people that TV is entertainment, and not meant to be realistic, is an important way to help reset their moral compass to the world around us.
    I do practice the Who am I to judge, people are all so different approach you talk about, and I agree that with care and luck it can really lead to a conversation where you feel a possibility of change .
    The Television of couse is made to be entertaining and different from real life idea is an approach that is brand new to me, It never even came within whispering distance in my thoughts. I am very glad to have come across it here.
    Thank you very much for this post.

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