The Place of Critique in Blogging

So i’ve been doing a bit of reflecting on the blogging enterprise lately, and am finding myself increasingly disenchanted with all the critiquing that goes on, at least in the theoblogosphere.  I’m not against being critical of other’s views, but it seems like many forget that, as Dallas Willard puts it, it is better to Christ-like than right.  Often our critiques show a lack of charity.  It seems that we have little interest in finding common ground; instead, we just look for ways to point out how deficient other’s thoughts are.  Many reflections on the recent evangelical manifesto come to mind.  It seems that the best fuel for theological thinking is often someone else’s inadequacy.

There are two ironies here.  First, most of this uncharitable critiquing happens against conservative evangelicals, who are often (rightly) accused of being narrow minded and unwilling to listen.  Second, this post in many ways falls prey to the very criticism it offers.  So maybe the very nature of criticizing theological viewpoints requires the risk that we come off more judgmental than we mean to be.  I guess it would be refreshing to see more posts that, while maintaining a place for being critical, focus more on the commonalities between the two perspectives. 


3 responses to “The Place of Critique in Blogging

  1. Excellent post.

    Honestly, I think a lot of what we read in the blogosphere is, to use Harry Frankfurt’s analysis, BS (to say it cleanly). For most of what you read shows no desire on the bloggers part to share any “truth” whatsoever. Some people just feel the need to say *something* and really don’t care if what they say is accurate.

    Frankfurt says it better:

    “BS is unavoidable whenever circumstances require [I must blog!] someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about. Thus the production of BS is stimulated whenever a person’s obligations or opportunities to speak about some topic exceed his knowledge of the facts that are relevant to the topic. This discrepancy is common in public life, where people are frequently impelled – whether by their own propensities or by the demands of others – to speak extensively about matters of which they are to some degree ignorant.”

    Many see blogging as such an obligation, and so they latch onto the latest controversy and spew nonsense – BS – with no regard for whether or not their statement reflect reality.

    That’s how I see it anyway . . .


  2. Hey Brian,

    I agree with you that it is a real temptation in life to talk about things you have no or little knowledge of like an expert. It is even harder when:

    1. There is little or no accountability for what you say

    2. you are in a more “intellectual” setting

    Blogging, at least when it comes to theology, meets both requirements, making it even harder not to wear a mask.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Pingback: Rowan Williams on the Character of Theological Discourse « A Thinker’s Progress

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