Red letter day

Today makes it a year since the discussion thread on Kirk Talley began. I’ve said it before: I think this thread is the longest one I’ve ever seen anywhere about anything, which all the more remarkable since very little I’ve read on there rises about the level of unpersuasive boilerplate from entrenched and intransigent partisans. One recent poster put it this way:

LORD! I can’t believe you people have nothing better to talk about over the past year. There is so much hatred on this web log that I just can’t stand it… and to think you call yourselves Christians.

In point of fact, not everyone there claims to be a Christian. But no matter … Most discussants, Christian and not, post comments with the idea of hectoring the opposition into some kind of cowed submission. But of course that never happens, and back roars the other side with more vitriol. There have a been a few moments of lucidity - times when someone pleaded movingly for leveler heads and wider perspectives or posts in which someone told a pretty moving personal story, put a real life to all the abstractions. The thread, though, has degenerated so far that even these bright spots get swallowed up by the darkness all around them, either because a preponderance of the regulars are embittered and suspect everyone and anything that doesn’t agree with them, or because the intervals of sanity are just too short to have any real effect. All of which is really too bad. Of course I support the notion of spaces (on or off line) in which people of differing worldviews can have a discussion that carries with it the potential to make real and lasting effects on people’s way of thinking and living. But the inthefaith thread seems too far gone to be of much good. Perhaps the one function it continues to serve is that it keeps at least some of the haters and bloviators and gasbags occupied so they can’t scorch the earth of another, more meaningful discussion somewhere else.

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