And kindness is always right

““That Ark’s esteem is enhanced when he diminishes another human being.”
That’s not what he’s doing and it’s not what I’m applauding. He is criticizing belief in certain incorrect ideas. You are the one – like Heather – who associates the incorrect idea as if it were a personal trait. It’s not. It’s a Bad Idea worthy of criticism … criticism that uses critical words.
Imagine that. How very terrible. Not kind at all.
Since when was kindness for Bad Ideas more important than respecting what’s true? Without the latter, I don’t think you can have an honest expression of the former.”

Dear Tildeb –

How many times, with those you love, are you kind (even when you know they are wrong)?  I ask because I have found relationships do not thrive on an absence of kindness – even when one or the other is wrong. I have found relationships cease when being right takes precedence over kindness.

People who blog do so for many reasons. It has taken several years for me to learn that Ark performs for an audience, does the same proselytising he finds despicable in others, layers his Ark-based-faith over “evidence”, actively rears back from “relationship”, and pours disdain on anyone not yet deconverted to his satisfaction.  He has no interest in finding out anything about who I am, what makes me tick, what makes me the person who blogs.

So knowing now that Ark performs, enters a forum of sharing not to share but to diminish and pull down, seeks to groom those who are vulnerable … whose foundation stones are rocky … who live their life by a code they now doubt  … with real consequences for any change of faith-based-belief (like “the Clergy Project” he uses as “evidence” of being right) …

BTW: if I admit to all of what Ark wants – but continue to live my life preaching the same things as I did before – because to not do so means I am out of job … why is that deception okay? 

So when words of abuse and disdain and dismissal and pulling down are validated by “being right” – I see no difference between the application of poison by a religion you detest, and the application of poison you applaud.

Because if words did not have consequences – why are you so passionate about the “fiction” that is the bible?  A fiction used by you to describe a cruel and vile God who is the same vile Jesus of Nazareth (with that “fiction” being evidence to validate being cruel to those who think differently).

I am missing something.

I read one book that challenged the bible.  It did so in a way that made sense of the bible (with a different) history and “fiction”.  It did not tell me what to think.  It did not perform.  It did not proselytise.  It did not groom.  I was given freedom of choice.

But Ark does not allow choice. Nor do you. If I do not agree with you I am wrong (and vile?).  And I wonder how that is different to the “poison” of which you accuse religion.

People change, Tildeb.

Just look at the empty pews on a Sunday morning, the churches being sold off, the vacancies for clergy, the fractures over “good theology and bad theology”.  And then look at how little interest “real” people have in the academia of religion. Listen to the alienating language of “academic theology and atheism” that has arisen from those who love their research more than they love the application of their results …

Of being kind to someone you love even when they are wrong. Of knowing one more criticism might push this person over the edge. That this person writes with a ton of baggage. That this person reacted when they read these words because they were having a bad day so anything would light their fuse.

Isn’t NOT factoring all that in the real “fiction of being right”?

None of us know who that one person might be.  Nor who will wander by months after these words are written today (when we have changed – again – and would not write the same words again).  So I will not perform. And I will not groom.  Because if I do real people don’t matter. Only being right.  And that is something you also level at religion.  And all THAT is why I have responded to Ark and you as I have.

I discovered you are as dishonest as those you accuse of dishonesty.

And that’s not kind.


13 thoughts on “And kindness is always right

  1. “So when words of abuse and disdain and dismissal and pulling down are validated by “being right” – I see no difference between the application of poison by a religion you detest, and the application of poison you applaud.”

    Well said, Paul. The whole post was very insightful. Amen and amen!
    BTW: I’ve talked to atheists who’ve been very kind and gracious. I have a lot of respect for them even though I disagree with their position.


  2. Yes, you are missing something. You are misunderstanding the object to which offering kindness is not just another Bad Idea but a pernicious form of apologetics.

    You conflate the object of harsh criticism – the Bad Ideas worthy of harsh and sustained criticism using ‘unkind’ words – to be unjustly descriptive of the character of the people who hold them. You then conflate the harsh words for these Bad Ideas to be ‘unkindness’ towards those who hold them.

    Well, paulfg, how on earth can you criticize any bad ideas if we all make the same mistake you do and conflate criticism of these bad ideas with unkindness towards anyone who holds them?

    What a wonderful way to protect bad ideas. That’s what you’re trying to argue here.

    Criticizing Bad Ides in not unkind; it’s necessary. it’s respecting what’s true and knowable MORE than the brittle and delicate feelings of those who not only hold these Bad Ideas but then act on them using these Bad Ideas as a justification.

    You offer a garrison for these Bad Ideas to congregate and sally forth defending their use by claiming any criticism to be an unjustified attack against these invaders! This is a mistake on your part. This is what you are missing. You are trying to defend on an emotional level what you cannot defend on a rational one. And what gets lost is the very idea that it is not a kindness to allow batshit crazy ideas to hold a privileged position and continue to have pernicious affect when acted upon. That’s not kindness; that’s an abdication of responsibility to justify whether ideas are good or bad on merit.

    Ark’s arguments and criticisms have stand-alone merit. Trying to get around this merit by dubious, devious, and dishonest means by masquerading one’s motivation to be love and kindness is just an avoidance technique; claiming that the problem is the tone of the criticism is a standard PRATT (point refuted a thousand times) used to falsely vilify those who raise the standard of respecting what’s true. This is what you’re defending, pretending that raising and respecting legitimate criticisms on merit is what’s dishonest and mean spirited and intolerant and hateful and angry and yada, yada, yada. This is religious apologetics 101 (which is why it’s a PRATT): avoid the merit of the criticisms by claiming hurt feelings.

    Boo hoo.

    Want to avoid the hurt feelings? Get over yourself and get your feelings out of the way. Get back to dealing with the merit of the arguments honestly and with integrity and you will find people like Ark are almost always very respectful. Avoid responsibility for holding Bad Ideas by trying to use PRATT techniques and you rightfully earn disdain.


    • “What a wonderful way to protect bad ideas. That’s what you’re trying to argue here.”

      People matter. All people matter. Ideas change. Ideas come and go. People don’t.

      “Criticizing Bad Ides in (sic) not unkind; it’s necessary.”

      Application, Tildeb. Anyone can criticise. Anyone can destroy. Anyone can hurt in the name of science and truth. History is littered with damage. Religion is littered with damage. I thought you were better than that. I hoped Ark was.

      “That’s not kindness; that’s an abdication of responsibility to justify whether ideas are good or bad on merit.”

      And that is not scientific or evidence. That is style and preference based on your own personal Tildeb-based-beliefs.

      “Ark’s arguments and criticisms have stand-alone merit.”

      Anything has stand-alone merit. But living is not “stand alone”. The very fact we are having this conversation is proof of that.

      “This is religious apologetics 101 (which is why it’s a PRATT): avoid the merit of the criticisms by claiming hurt feelings.”

      Is it possible to write without an academic theological label being placed on the words? I can. I am beginning to wonder if you can.

      “Avoid responsibility for holding Bad Ideas by trying to use PRATT techniques and you rightfully earn disdain.”

      Tildeb, what I find weird is that you and Ark seem scared witless of relationship. Of connecting at anything more than an intellectual academic label ridden level. I see a lot of that in academically religious righteous folk. Why do you mimic that so religiously?

      “Boo hoo.”



      • Of course people matter. Why do you continue to raise this non sequitur unless you believe that I don’t? You make it seem like criticizing Bad Ideas has to be constrained by granting greater respect those who hold them than the harm caused by implementing and acting on them and frame this hierarchy as kindness.


        Being kind has to be predicated on first respecting what’s true. I work with the dying and their families. Don’t tell me about pretending what’s true matters less than the feelings of those who wish to ignore reality. Life doesn’t work this way. Dysfunctional living thrives on this misguided belief. Without that principle to respect reality more than the beliefs some people hold about it in place, you do no kindness to pretend some delusion is an equivalent reality. You’re just protecting delusion from arbitration in the name of love and kindness while supporting this bizarre idea that Bad Ideas must not be addressed if it hurts someone’s feelings. This approach wreaks emotional havoc in the lives of other people by doing so and I see this evidence every day.

        Pretending feelings matter more than respecting what’s true is not love and it certainly isn’t kind. It’s the worst kind of selfishness. And going along with is collaborating with lies and deceit and pretending this is somehow more loving and kind. It’s not. It’s a way to continue to harm people in the name of ‘love’.

        But loving and kindness are not what’s being criticized! Bad Ideas are the object.

        You go off the rails entirely by presuming the personalities involved in this discussion of why it’s more important to respect what’s true than the feelings of those who believe in Bad Ideas are what’s at issue. You assume what’s not true in this side venture and then use this presumption to help yourself feel better that the issues raised about merit over emotion come from a polluted source and can therefore be rejected on this basis.

        Sorry, Paulfg. This is a diversionary tactic.

        You have no clue about me, no clue about the relationships I have, my level of interpersonal kindness and the scope of my love for other people. None. You simply presume. You may want to know more but I have a history that has taught me to keep much of myself private not just for me but my family who have subject to violence and harassment and stalking. I speak of myself in generalities and intentionally keep private information private. What I offer here stands or falls on its own merit. You need to be aware that you are importing highly negative assumptions you make about me and are allowing these to affect your thinking. That’s a source of misunderstanding and it will lead you astray every time. Guaranteed.


        • Tildeb. An offer. If we are to really connect I am happy to do that off-blog and with complete confidentiality. I tried that with Ark ages ago. Relationship and vulnerability wasn’t his cup of tea anywhere.

          So why is it mine? I have met too many damaged by the church. I have met too many who are taught by life that they are not allowed to ask why. I am not a champion for anyone. But it is one of the things I hold as sacred. That we each deserve to be allowed to become the fullest “me” we each can. No matter what that is. So long as each is not intentionally damaging another. In this blogworld I have met a wide range of those in pain for different reasons. And each expresses words in their blogs that mask the pain (usually). Yet so many just want to be heard. Not judged. Not grilled. Not told how to debate.

          So I think you (and Ark) have great value in your stance. But I have to say this – Jesus is recorded only once overturning tables in the synagogue. Bad Ideas may be tables to be overturned. But do it every day to everyone? People let you get on with it and are unchanged.

          You arrived in this blog space when the tables were not overturned, it was at a point when I was “rearranging them”. But they will not stay in the same place having been rearranged. They keep getting moved. You come across as wanting the job done “and don’t move them again!” Sorry, but they are my tables. Respect them and me.

          And as for having no clue about you? That is your choice. I accept that. Which leaves “tables” and your expectation I talk your design and your timetable. And that is railroading. And that doesn’t let me be me. That forces me to run at your speed. And that is so similar to how church does stuff you just have to believe me on that. It’s freaky.

          I would like to reach a point of “connecting” where vulnerability and trust allow real sharing rather than “intellectual sharing” (which turns me off mostly). I can promise you anything – but you have to trust first. Over to you.


          • The No isn’t personal, Paulfg; I have personal exchanges with exactly one blogger out of hundreds and the reason is because sometimes things happen to bloggers – like death – and we as a blogging community have no means to find out until much, much later so by mutual agreement we keep the occasional tabs on one another.

            I do not think badly of you because I do not think you really grasp how you think. When you spend more time on recognizing thinking patterns, you will begin to better understand what you have been doing.


            • You lead a more exciting life than I then! Regards the thinking – that I would love to explore. Not because I am unhappy with how mine hang together, but because connecting and sharing seems to be what we were made to do. And it changes – if no one else – me. But that always seems to be enough – because that change changes the next encounter and the next.

              I do not seek to be combative. I have no gun to bring to a gunfight. But looking at the comments, here and on Ark’s open letter – it seems that is the way some prefer.

              Something personal from me: that hosting weekend. You brought an elegance to the conversation. Ark brings a battle-axe. You showed me that the battle-axe was a choice and not the only way. I saw some of my “god-bothers” invited to converse. And others brought elegance. That allows kindness and sincerity from all. It does not mean anyone needs to change.

              My “losing” Ark was in finding kindness is not always sincere. Sometimes it is snake-oil. You say I should separate all that. I don’t. I choose not to. That does not set me lower down the rung of intellectual evolution. It just means I see the world differently We all do if we are all honest.

              So there are no winners and losers here. And no gloating either – just a little sadness.



    • Ark, I have unblocked (just) this one. Because you are right that the description in the link is horrific. We agree. It is and always will be. But it doesn’t justify everything else either. Witches used to be burned alive. Homosexuality used to be a criminal offence in my country. Women never had the vote.

      Inhumanity and violence upon other is not exclusive to “god”. You have usefully exposed the sacred texts as fiction against evidence as should be expected today. So lets get rid of inhumanity in all it shapes and forms.

      Or else you have created another religion – just without god.


  3. I read your post, thought about it, and now I am back.

    First off, I really don’t know if I know what it says or not. I cant get a clear handle on it. So, if it seems my response is off base or in the stratosphere, keep in mind that the original post seems that way to me. I will not continually trouble you with my two bits….

    That said, though, it seeeeeeeems to me that you are dealing with that lurch we sometimes find ourselves in when “being right” finds tension with “loving others”. And of course, LOVING OTHERS is NEVER wrong. But it still does not erase the lurch – the jam, the bind, or whatever we might call it.

    Why cant we have both? They seem to almost never go together – or at least seldom enough to make it seem like they never do. I really cant get the planets to line up at my will; I know that.

    There are points in the Bible where it seems to go this way once and the other way next time. I don’t see the point ever coming to a firm head in any specific instance – not that I can think of anyway.

    I am inclined, as I see others do from time to time, to talk about TOUGH LOVE. And when I do, I always insist that we not short change the love in our toughness. That seems to be a real pitfall waiting for those who tread where angels fear.

    But when Amos calls rich people cows of Bashan, he is NOT BEING NICE. When the psalmist says, “Blessed is the one who dashes your babies on the rocks!” he speaks for God, but he is not being nice. When St Paul says, “You stupid Galatians…” he is not being nice. When Jesus throws tables in the temple or calls his opponents hypocrites and snakes (or even calls a lowly Syrophoenician woman a “dog”…) he is not being nice. But they are, of course, speaking for God – a loving God, and thus being right at the expense of being nice. I presume this means the love they show is tough.

    The one difference I think I see in all this is that at least in Paul and Jesus’s case, and likely that of Amos and maybe that of the psalmist (though the last one is pretty sketchy), each of these RIGHT truth speakers and tough lovers winds up bearing the burden on behalf of others – even those they criticize. And if the Judgment of God is worth anything, then he is righteous and trustworthy. He speaks the truth whether it hurts or not, speaks it in love, and (again if his judgment is worth anything) we had better listen and make necessary changes in our wayward ways to join him, because somehow in that mix, whether mysterious or all ironed out neatly to our satisfaction, we are wrong and unloving for not getting it together with him.


    • Hi Agent X – thank you.

      “But it still does not erase the lurch – the jam, the bind, or whatever we might call it.”

      As regards the bible there are plenty of “lurches”. If the bible is factual (as expected by today’s standards) then there are jams and binds everywhere! 🙂

      Thank you – as always – for the time you give to considering. It touches me deep inside each time. So a reminder of the context here: This post was a consequence of barring Ark from this blog and Tildeb then saying that decision was wrong – and why.

      The decision wasn’t tough, and it was of love. Love for all who come here and have a right to feel safe. Love for myself. And love for those who might walk bu here one day and spend time treading the long comments. To not bar Ark would have been at the expense of all those others and myself.

      So I wonder if tough love is not tough at all. Perhaps it is because we think of it as “withdrawing love” – both the recipient and giver. My own thought is that is if “redistributing love” is required, then it was unfairly being taken in the first place.

      As for the bible, I don’t see “fact”, nor a need to defend “fact” anymore. I was listening to Dire Straits and a song with a lyric that touches me: “I can only love you through the bars of a rhyme.” Taken literally I would have to assume many things all of which would be “wrong”. Taken as “fiction” and imagery, I can enjoy the beauty it connects with inside me. So too with the bible for me now. And the imagery that made sense to those who heard and read “back in the day”.

      All of which makes burden very light indeed. 🙂


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