At the risk of overgeneralizing, I have found that one of the hallmarks of some of the more fervent religions is a tendency to become very insular in their beliefs. By insular, I mean that once they have reached the point where they feel that their beliefs are correct, where there is no going back and re-examining them, and where there is nothing that could be presented to them to change their beliefs, they seem to fall into a certain insular mode where they metaphorically stick their fingers in their ears and sing “la-la-la-la-la” in order to drown out anything that contradicts them. It’s the intellectual equivalent of an armadillo rolling into a ball, or a turtle tucking its body into its shell. They effectively pull down the shutters, turn on the white noise, and block out all dissent. The odd thing is that they would gladly admit this. It’s a defensive measure to prevent the loss of belief.
I saw this recently over at a Christian blog called Defending Contending (they like to shorten it to DefCon, which has a particularly melodramatic militaristic ring to it, don’t you think?). Some of us in the comments to the last post alluded to it a little. One of the “editors” is a guy calling himself the Desert Pastor, though there are others. I have not read the entire blog, but instead got involved with Philly on this particular post. At one point I even left a comment supporting him, which was “moderated” out of existence, most likely because I violated their Rules Of Engagement. For anyone who values reason, intelligence and a free exchange of ideas, #6 just has to make you laugh.
6). We will not tolerate your intolerance of our intolerance.
As you can see, the members of this little circle jerk are very insular, and the blog is designed to be self-insulating. They have no use whatsoever for constructive criticism, most likely because they don’t believe any criticism is constructive. They seem to have assumed that if one criticizes their beliefs, it’s automatically destructive. They have turned off the ebb and flow, give and take of ideas, preferring all ebb and give. Ideas are allowed to flow one way only.
The sole purpose of the blog, so it seems, is to simply reinforce their beliefs. They have no need for any ideas counter to those in their Super Book. If anyone happens to pop in and question their beliefs in a way that might actually cause a person with a brain to question them, they are summarily ushered from the blog. The Desert Pastor as much as admits this:
I banned PhillyChief’s last comment because it did not add to the conversation and was clearly a blatant attempt to spread what he believes and not designed to gain an understanding of what we believe.
I’m sure they couldn’t care less about what I think (their moderation of my comment being Exhibit A) but this just offends my sensibilities, and is particularly insulting to my intelligence. As I’ve said ever since I started writing this blog, I want to know whether I am right. I offer my somewhat mediocre musings to test my thinking. The way to test whether your thinking is right is to open it up to everyone, and allow it to be bashed, pulled, stretched, poked and prodded to see if it survives. If it does, then it can be provisionally accepted as somewhat valid. If not, then it should be discarded. Either way it is the free exchange of ideas that leads to truth, not the blind adherence to a book written thousands of years ago, that contradicts itself more than it agrees with itself, and that can only be adhered to with the help of a relentless application of pretzel logic.
So, it’s all about preaching, and nothing about learning. The whole point of attracting readers to their blog is to maintain rigid belief, and if you go there with a contrary belief, you are banned. They even had a problem with accepting criticism from other Christians, specifically our buddy cl. You can’t get more insular than that.
If you read the Garrido post, and all the comments, the only conclusion you can justify is that the lemmings who follow the blog look to have their beliefs reinforced. The blog, therefore, is a excellent example of the defensive, insular nature of Christian belief.
Even the name of the blog confirms that.