Saturday, 16 August 2008

Agreeing to differ

Sometimes I find Andrew Brown irritating beyond words. And he himself has written, I believe, some very unnecessary things about those with whom he disagrees. Nevertheless, I commend heartily this article by him in the Guardian's 'Comment is Free' section - though be warned, it contains the 'F' word early on. Here is his conclusion:
[The] dismissal, in advance, of everything your opponents might say as meaningless is the hallmark of all popular philosophical or religious discussion on the internet. It's odd to find it so enthusiastically embraced by academics, because it is not so very different at all from the demand of students opposed to all uncomfortable learning that anything they don't understand should be removed from the syllabus.

In County Fermanagh, religious differences were real enough for people to kill one another: my great-grandfather is buried in Enniskillen, which was the scene of one of the worst bombings. Perhaps because of that, people learned not to give offence unless there was something really serious at stake. But online, everything feels like a game, and in the teeth of all the evidence we persist in believing that there is a clear sharp line between gaming and reality.

Thank you, Andrew.

John Richardson

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1 comment:

  1. When someone rubs us up the wrong way it at least releases in us a passion and that is a good thing right? The Church is full of people who rub each other the wrong way and cause pointless debates over silly things. But it allows us to think. And to think is important.
    Steve Hearn
    Langdon Hills, Essex