Monday, February 23, 2009

"Don't call me stupid ..."

... as the immortal line from Kevin Kline goes in "A fish called Wanda".

Last week the UCT rag magazine had an article which insulted and basically called christians 'stupid' which led to a torrent of responses from indignant and insulted christians. What a mess and all because people fail to distinguish respect of people from respect of beliefs and ideas and then within these two domains, the stupid from the clever.

By way of example, a person with an IQ of below 100 is commonly held to be, dare I say it, 'stupid' in the same way that a person that has an IQ over 140 is commonly held to be a 'genius'. But just because someone is below average in IQ does not mean that it is acceptable to insult or be derogatory of them as people.

Illustrating a 'stupid' belief; if I was of the opinion that if I dropped a ball it would remain suspended in mid-air, people could justifiably consider my opinion to be 'stupid' even though I myself may not be 'stupid'. Unlike calling a person 'stupid'; pointing out unsubstantiated ideas and beliefs as being 'stupid' does not hurt the feelings of the beliefs or ideas. If, however, people holding those beliefs or ideas choose to feel insulted that is an emotional problem where people can't distinguish between what they are and what they believe. Unfortunately, this is a reality that needs to be addressed which isn't so easy.

So while we should not shy away from pointing out ideas and beliefs that are 'stupid' it is not the same as pointing out people to be 'stupid' - that is just insulting behavior and shouldn't be tolerated. If you need to point out the opposing person as stupid rather than the argument they are presenting as stupid; you're the one with the problem or as Desmond Tutu so succinctly put it: "Don't raise your voice. Improve your argument.",,752-2460_2474006,00.html
or in english:,,1-2-147-151_21738,00.html

signed kkkkkkkk...Ken

No comments: