Darn Apologists!

Darn Apologists!

Posted on Dec 26th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
*begin rant*

I did a really silly thing.  I just made a brief comment on a Christian’s Youtube video.  I really didn’t want to discuss anything, but he responded and I responded.  I knew from the get-go that I desired not such a “discussion” (if an exchange with an apologist could be called that). 

I quickly disentangled myself from the pointless spiderweb of verbiage that apologists are so capable of tirelessly weaving.  I’ve dealt with enough of them to instantly realize when its not going anywhere.  I’m a person of curiosity and I find myself utterly bewildered by someone who has made up their mind before I even say anything.  They just know they’re right.

Shouldn’t apologists have better things to do on Christmas than argue about Jesus?  Shouldn’t they be spreading Christ’s Good message of Love or maybe ladling soup to the homeless while preaching to them about their sinful souls?

This particular apologist was one of the worst varieties.  I’ve come across this exact type many times before, and they’re all very predictable.  Its almost a personality type.  This type of apologist doesn’t tend to rant unless you really get them riled up.  They’re actually very intellectual with an aloof self-certainty.  They’re mostly harmless in that they’re not that annoying except if you’re ever experienced banging your head against their brickwall.  They have this intellectual inner certainty that reminds me of Introverted Intuition, but they have this outwardly congenial nature that doesn’t allow them to ruffle easily which makes me think of an INFJ Christian I know from another site… mostly a nice guy if a bit difficult to connect with.

If you’re feeling patient, you can sometimes have a good discussion with this type as they’ve tended to read a lot and they think very deeply.  The problem is that their thinking is somewhat narrow and plodding, and they have strong beliefs which at least tend to be somewhat interesting in their uniqueness.  They usually have some favorite obscure Christian philosopher, but it won’t bother them that you’ve never heard of the person.  They’re used to not being understood even by other Christians. 
They might secretly pride themselves on their idiosyncracies somewhat, but mostly they seem humble in a laid back way.  Its hard to unsettle them or change their minds.  If you try to have a debate with them, you’ll just go round and round.  In certain ways, they’re very conventional in that they just don’t see or don’t care about what exists outside of their narrow focus (definitely no sign of Extraverted Intuition).  You’re more likely to have an interesting conversation with them if you simply limit yourself to their interests. 

They can keep up an argument if necessary, but they don’t really care to get worked up.  Even though their beliefs are strong, they keep them mostly to themselves.  They’ll often talk about more peripheral issues because that which truly matters to them is such a deep and profound experience for them.

They’re very scholarly with a typical pedantic attitude.  Even though they like certain obscure writers, they put a fair amount of weight on tradition.  They’re the type that would make a great Catholic theologian who knows the entire history of the Church.  Their thinking is very abstract and they feel safest keeping theology away from practical affairs and thus keeping themselves away from getting mired in politics.  They’re very understanding people and capable of relating well, but they’re also wary of the risks of complex social dynamics.  They’re very good at reading others and also at hiding their own inner thoughts.

To be specific, this guy I was talking to on Youtube was quick to dismiss (dispute is the word he preferred) Robert M. Price.  I briefly defended Price as he is as about as respectable as you can get, but its true that he doesn’t toe the party line of Biblical scholarship (ie conventional belief of mainstream Christianity).  This guy definitely valued the theistic majority perspective of Biblical scholarship.  People in Biblical scholarship tend to be Christians and so its no great surprise that belief in the historical Jesus is just assumed.  One would have to be extremely naive to claim that this field was one of the more objective fields in academia.

Okay… so, I knew that if I tried to defend Price any further, this Christian would just nitpick and it would ultimately be just a battle of opinons.  This kind of person can be very willful in having great intellectual stamina in going over and over the same little detail.  I imagine that he would continually demand quotes and references all the while offering few of his own… or, anyways, that is a technique many apologists use… they just assume their position doesn’t need to be proved that its so obviously true.

In some ways, I prefer the ranting apologists more… the way an INFP apologist would act. lol  There is an honesty about in-your-face prosyletizing.  On the other hand, these more pedantic types lure you in with an appearance of being reasonable, but no amount of rationality will sway them.  They just enjoy discussing ideas even though they’ve stated the exact same ideas a million times before.  I’m fine with belief as long as someone is willing to admit that their views are beliefs.  However, this type has this intricate facade of rationalization that you can’t even pierce through to the actual person behind it all.

*end rant*

I suspect this is a conflict that I experience when my Ne confronts the Ni of another.  This might go back to my dad having auxiliary Ni.  Anyways, its a challenge for me.  The Ni is hiding away from the view of my Ne, but my Fi can sense it behind the social facade (especially in INFJs).  I want to force to the surface which is exactly where Ni doesn’t want to be, where it can’t be in fact.  My Ne gets bored with the narrow focus even though I can be momentarily impressed by the depth of insight that Ni sometimes proffers forth.  I just don’t have the patience waiting around for that inisight that may or may not show itself.  My Ne has thousand directions to go in and time is a’wasting.  Curiosity beckons.

I think this is particularly magnified when Ni is the dominant for the other person as my Ne is auxiliary.  I don’t identify with my thinking per se.  Its simply how I try to relate to the world.  My auxiliary Ne holds ideas very lightly.  I too have an inner certainty but it just ain’t involving ideas for sure.  Also, my inner certainty is less aloof as INFPs are more likely to get worked up than an INFJ.  The burning passion of an idealistic core (Fi) manifests through the ungrounded infinitude of wonder and possibility (Ne).  Simply put, Ne hates conventional thinking with a passion.  It chafes against more plodding thought processes, and it mistrusts the aloof congenial nature (or facade as Fi judges it) of an INFJ.

Don’t get me started about NTs.  🙂

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Tagged with: apologist, Christianity, debate, MBTI, Ni, Ne, Fi, Fe, INFP

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

14 minutes later

Marmalade said

I realize I was projecting to a great degree. I don’t really know that guy on Youtube beyond my very brief interaction. I just have this sore point when it comes to apologists… or really with anyone who has strong beliefs. The only thing I’m righteous about is in relation to the righteousness of others. I’m a millitant agnostic afterall.

This does go back to my dad and my recent interaction with him. I’ll be seeing him tomorrow. I hope it goes well. I’ll steer away from all serious discussion… oh, who am I kidding… I’ll have to not say anything at all if I try to avoid serious comments. Oh well, such is my fate.

There should be a rule against INFPs becoming intellectuals. We’re just too sensitive of souls. We should be kept ensconsed in walled gardens and distant mountain retreats far from the maddening crowd. Of course, we must be permitted a library but maybe only stock it with poetry and fiction… oh yeah, and be sure to give us plenty of art supplies.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 3 hours later

Marmalade said

Actually, there is a big difference between a Ni dominant person and a Ni auxiliary person like my dad. My dad really isn’t an aloof person at all, but he does have a bit of that quality in that he is so focused outward that he often hides his true opinions. He has this deep side that rarely shows, and when it does show its filtered through Te: principles, analysis, practical evaluation, etc. He is very capable of open-minded philosophizing fueled by a sense of wonder… amd he even lets others see this side of him when you catch him in a relaxed mood.

Its kind of funny how opinionated INFPs can be (or can appear to be), but you have to give us credit in that we change our opinions somewhat easily (except for our few cherished ideals). INFPs can have a way of stating things as if they were strong opinions (when feeling worked up or defensive), but it really has nothing to do with core values.

Dominant Fi can be hidden in the way its not easily verbilized. However, Fi is so blatantly obvious compared to Ni. Or even compare the Fi of an INFP with the Ti of an INTP. When an INFP gets there Fi panties in a bunch, they can be downright annoying… very messy emotions will be splattered all over the place.

Ni is very interesting. Ni talks around an idea, but does so in a very focused way. Its like knowing a blackhole exists by its gravity alone. Ni writing style can be very convoluted and meandering. Both Ni and Ne can lead to verbosity, but Ni comes off as more philosophical and abstract somehow… maybe because it exists solely in the inner world.

Ni, by definition, can never be directly expressed and so can only be known via an Extraverted function. OTOH Ne is just there trying to get your attention. Ne is also more playful in that it wants to interact, and if one is not careful Ne can lead to superficiality and flakiness (ie being a dilettante).

I sometimes have a bit of the dilettante in me jumping from one temporary interest to the next. I have a hard time committing myself fully to anything, but of course I idealize this tendency in order to put a positive spin on my Achilles’ Heel. People who actually have strong opinions and stick to them are just plain righteous idiots… whereas I am “flexible” and able to see multiple perspectives. rotfl

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 13 hours later

Marmalade said

The interesting thing about the internet is that you get the opportunity to interact with more Introverts in a way you’d never do in everyday life.  Online interactions encourage Introverts to show the side of themselves they normally hide.  This is good and bad because its the side of them that is least socially adapted.

So, an Ni type might seem even more intellectual or detached.  And an Fi type might become even more passionate… or, yes, righteous.  An Fi type might go so far relying on their dominant that they feel they have people figured out… ahem… not that I’d ever fall into such low behavior.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 14 hours later

Marmalade said

There is another blog of mine that has very similar subject matter.  Its about a specific archetypes that are related: Trickster, the Primal Man, the Titan/Giant, the Hero, and the Savior… also, the Divine Child and Shadow.  These archetypes are especially central to the Monomyth.

Myth, Religion, and Social Development

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

How did it go with your Dad? I’ve been thinking about this for a while but haven’t discussed it yet with you, sorry.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

That is funny! I put that last comment in the wrong blog apparently. It really doesn’t fit here.

Hello Nicole. Enjoy the holidays?

You might be able to tell from my plethora of blogging that I spent a lot of time at home. I had 3 days off in a row, but because of weather conditions haven’t yet visited with any family. Hopefully, I’ll see my parents tomorrow. We’re planning to visit one of my brothers in a nearby town.

The roads have been very icy this week. Strange weather. There was thunder and lightning last night and rain all today which was of course supposed to freeze.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

thanks, I have been having a very relaxing holiday, just what I wanted!

we just had some very high winds but everything seems normal this time of year – snow, freezing rain, rain, sunny weather – we get a little of it all…

Marmalade : Gaia Child

2 days later

Marmalade said

Relaxing holidays always are good for me. So, what was relaxing about your holidays. Did you stay at home?

I was thinking about some other things when I mentioned strange weather. There has been some very warm weather in the Midwest. Along with that, there have been some tornoado watches (not in my area), but I don’t know if any tornadoes have been spotted.

I finally spent some time with my parents today. It was nice to see them, but they’ll be gone tomorrow and so is a short visit. It was all the family together today which isn’t my favorite way of experiencing family. It wasn’t stressful though because everyone seemed in a good mood.

I guess everything went fine with my dad. I don’t think my dad understood why I was annoyed at him and I didn’t feel like explaining. I really didn’t see any advantage to having a discussion about it. I more or less kept conversation light.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

5 days later

Nicole said

I’m glad things went well with your dad.

Yes, it was relaxing because of being at home, but especially because I didn’t answer the phone or spend time on the computer, and playing games like Munchkin and Carcassonne with my kids. Do you know of Munchkin? Seems like it would appeal to your sense of humour 🙂

It was wonderful to have my oldest daughter Julia home for a few days.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

5 days later

Marmalade said

Munchkin? No, I don’t believe I’ve heard of it. Nor does Carcassonne sound familiar. My niece doesn’t seem too excited about games. She is more into imaginative play-acting. She probably doesn’t enjoy games because she dislikes losing. She was an only child the first 4 yrs of her life and she is used to getting her own way.

Is Munchkin a board game? I used to play a lot of games growing up. My friends and I would play almost any kind of game… board games, card games, video games. I don’t play games as much anymore. Occasionally I play a video game with my friend. Until recent years, I used to love playing Rummy but I finally became annoyed with the luck factor which is the largest part of the game.

Its interesting, though, that many kids games have large luck factors. I wonder what that teaches kids. Historically-speaking, the luck factor of games relates to divinization. The connection is lost to most of us moderns, but games have a strong connection to religion. They’re a ritual of sorts. The ritual itself is more important than the outcome of the game.

I’ll have to blog about that sometime. I’ve come across some fascinating info when studying the symbolism of numbers as it relates to games.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

5 days later

Nicole said

I used to play a lot of board games with my friends growing up, but we didn’t have many video games back them 🙂

Munchkin is a types of special card game – the other is a sort of card/board game… Munchkin is unfortunately very luck oriented (you’re right, that can get very annoying!) but Carcassonne is strategic.

That’s an interesting philosophical point about the large luck factors. You’re right this all could make a cool blog 🙂

Horror and Typology

This post will just be a jotting down of connections.  I ordered some books recently and they came in the mail today.  New books mean new thoughts.  Yeah!

Okay.  Two of the books are Metaphysical Horrorby Leszek Kolakowski and The Thomas Ligotti Readeredited by Darrell Schweitzer.  They’re more or less related in their respecitve subjective matters.

Kolakowski writes about the problems of philosophy and the question of meaning.  Many philosophers have come to the conclusion that philosophy is at a dead-end.  Kolakowski calls this anti-philosophy.  It seems to me that the Pessimistic philosophy of Zappfe and Ligotti could be categorized as anti-philosophy.  So, Kolakowski’s analysis and response would be helpful in seeing Pessimism in the larger context of the development of Western thinking.  He writes about Descartes and horror which reminded me of Cartesian anxiety, but I don’t think he uses that specific terminology.  I first heard of Cartesian anxiety in discussions about the relationship of enactivism and integral theory (which are theories that speculate about the relationship between subjectivity and objectivity).  Kolakowski also writes about the phenomenologists (i.e., Husserl and Merleau-Ponty) who tried to respond to Descartes’ mind-body dualism.  Phenomenology was a major influence on enactivism and is of interest to integral theorists.  Also, in the volume of the Collapse journal that published Ligotti, there was an essay related to these ideas (“On the Horror of Phenomenology: Lovecraft and Husserl” by Graham Harman)… and Ligotti considers Lovecraft to be one of his most important influences.

The Thomas Ligotti Readerhas an essay by Ligotti: “The Dark Beauty of Unheard Horrors”.  In it, Ligotti references Lovecraft quite a bit and he uses a specific quote from Lovecraft that I’ve seen in a blog by Matt Cardin (Autumn Longing: H.P. Lovecraft).  This isn’t surprising as Cardin is a fan of Ligotti’s writing and he even has several essays in the Ligotti Reader.  Both Ligotti’s essay and Cardin’s blog cover a similar set of ideas.  This dark aesthetic appreciation of the world can be put into the context of phenomenology and enactivism (autumn longing is an experience that I’m sure many phenomenologists and enactivists would understand).  In the essay directly after Ligotti’s, Cardin discusses the topic of liminality in terms of Ligotti’s fiction.  The liminal is another concept that deals with the meeting of and mixing of categories such as subjectivity and objectivity and also the personal and the collective.

One further thought involves something Ligotti brings up in his essay.  He describes two tendencies in horror writing… that of making horror concretely specific and that of making horror emotionally evocative.  This relates to Ligotti’s desire to present the horrific directly which he acknowledges as ultimately being impossible.  He, in a sense, wants to decontextualize the experience of horror.  A horror that has no form is all the more horrific, but a horror story by its very nature needs form.  In the essay, he recognizes that “Of course, mystery actually requires a measure of the concrete if it is to be perceived at all: otherwise is only a void, the void.”  This sense of a hard to grasp truth that must be approached subtly also reminds me of his style in writing about Pessimism in the Collapse journal. 

There is a sense I get from Ligotti’s non-fiction writing (and his writing in general) that feels like he is circling around some singular insight.  Along with his desire to free this insight from the constraints of the concrete, what it makes me think of is my experience of dealing with a particular person who was a very good example of dominant Introverted Intuition (Jungian typology).  I use Extraverted Intuition (Ne) much more and there is a clear difference to the two styles of thinking.  When Extraverted, Intuition thinking style goes off in a million directions sometimes simultaneously.  It scatters and looks for connections, for context.  When Introverted, it’s the complete opposite.  It focuses in such an inward fashion that it attempts to leave the concrete entirely and so it’s hard to communicate.  The Introverted Intuition type (Ni) has a very convoluted communication style that is plodding and meandering, but there is a core insight around which it all revolves.  Going by Ligotti’s fiction and non-fiction and his interviews, that is the way his thinking seems to me (according to my Ne-biased view). 

Also, there is the aspect of pessimism in Ligotti’s writing (by which I’m not referring specifically to his ideas about philosophical Pessimism).  In that Introverted Intuition causes a desire for freedom from context, there can be a conflict with exterior reality, the concrete world (Extraverted Sensation).  Ligotti’s story “The Shadow, The Darkness” seems to be an expression of what I’m sensing.  The way Ligotti describes Grossvogel’stransformation feels like a dominant Ni type’s experience of an eruption of inferior Se (or something like that… anyways, not the way a dominant Se type would experience it).   Ne types are often just as detached from the concrete, but their abstract and imaginative thinking is focused outward.  The expansive nature of Ne can lend a quality of optimism as there is a sense of infinite possibilities (although this would also include negative possibilities as well).  For example, I’m a very depressed person with Ne (althought it’s secondary/auxiliary rather than dominant).  The expansiveness of Ne counteracts my depression all the while the abstractness of Ne exacerbates it, but no matter how dark my thinking when I consider possibilities I feel inspired and even a bit hopeful.  Ligotti’s thinking challenges me and I meet that challenge by seeking to give his ideas a larger context.

I could go on with my thoughts, but those are the basic ideas rumbling around in my brains.