Sunday, July 22, 2012

Good Question. For my answer, read all of this stuff

I have had this happen a number of times. I will be reading a blog post from a Christian and something piques my interest. I will ask a question about it hoping to start up some kind of a conversation. The response I get will simply be a reference to a bible verse, another blog post, or sometimes a book. This drives me absolutely crazy.

If I am starting a conversation with you, I would like to hear your opinion on things. Don't get me wrong, references are great, but why not explain to me why that reference is valuable. "You should read bible verse X" is unacceptable. "You should read bible verse X, I think it answers your question when it says..." is a good answer. If you want to give me a reference to back up your opinion that is great, but it shouldn't be all that I get.

Worse yet is when people refer me to a book. On several occasions I have had people respond to a simple question with a link to a book on amazon. It is not reasonable to expect me to read a 300 page book to answer a quick question. For some reason people seem to do this a lot with CS Lewis books. And again, a reference to a book is not a bad thing, it just can't be all I get. A really good answer can be something like "[Author] explains it much better than I can in [book], but the basic idea is [clumsy answer]." It doesn't even matter if your answer isn't as well refined as what is in the book, that is one of the great things about 2 way communication, if something is confusing I can ask further questions and we can iron it out. If you answer my question by linking to a book, as far as I am concerned you are simply shutting communication down.


  1. Well, yeah, but you could communicate so much better if you read Confident Conversation by Mike Bechtle.

  2. To me if you have to must refer to an article or book to answer an argument, it probably means that you don't understand it well enough.. I do agree that presenting ot as a further reference is a different case.


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