1. Standard memberblakbuzzrd
    Buzzardus Maximus
    Joined
    03 Oct '05
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    23729
    29 May '07 01:22
    In an attempt to help people argue their points more persuasively and effectively, I present the following notes on the use of quoted material in discussion postings:

    Let's posit a fictional participant in this forum: Joe Schmoe.

    Regardless of what Joe Schmoe posts (his words or those of some source), Joe is responsible for both its content and stylistic presentation.

    If Joe wants to refer his readers to a particular passage, there are ways to do that that both accept responsibility for the thrust of his argument and which make logical sense.

    Here's the chief principle Joe must bear in mind: quoted passages do not speak for themselves. Joe must introduce them effectively and in such a way that his reader understands why the passage is included.

    Quoted passages only augment argument to the extent that the writer takes the time and effort to fold them into that argument. Joe's pasting a bunch of scripture apposite a claim he makes is not, contrary to common practice in this forum, effectively arguing his point. In fact, it's the equivalent of putting logical speedbumps in his argument. Joe's reader says "okay, I see what Joe's saying, but how's he going to back it up? Whoa! Where'd these quotes come from? Did Joe just forget to tie them into his writing? This must be a rough draft or an outline."

    The effect is that Joe is making a claim he is unable to substantiate himself, and that he is too lazy or inept to draw the connections for his audience between his opinion and the quoted material he includes. It's as if he says "I think this, and I think it because I believe this verse. I'm not sure why, exactly, but I'll just throw it out there. He who has ears to hear will hear."

    That's irresponsible arguing, and sophomoric writing.

    Say Joe wants to express his opinion about God's love, and that he decides the most meaningful passage to illustrate this is John 3:16. How might he fold that passage into his posting? Consider the following examples:

    Bad
    God is all about love.
    "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life." -John 3:16

    Okay
    God is all about love. I think of that verse where the Bible says: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life." -John 3:16

    Quote-tastic!
    In my experience, God is all about love. The idea that he would give his only son for me so that I "should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16) continues to surprise and humble me. My own earthly dad wouldn't give up his smokes for my eternal life!

    See the difference? In the first example, Joe just throws the quoted material out there like a side of biblical beef. In the second, Joe acknowledges some responsibility for the use of scripture, but could do more to incorporate the passage into the context of his voice. In the third quote-tastic example, though, Joe situates the quoted material firmly in the context of his own experience and thoughts. In the first example Joes proves unable to manage the material, and may do more damage than good. In the last example, Joe has taken the time to prove himself diligent in accurately -- and dare I say it, smoovely -- handling scripture (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15).
  2. Joined
    27 Sep '06
    Moves
    9651
    29 May '07 01:351 edit
    Originally posted by blakbuzzrd
    In an attempt to help people argue their points more persuasively and effectively, I present the following notes on the use of quoted material in discussion postings:

    Let's posit a fictional participant in this forum: Joe Schmoe.

    Regardless of what Joe Schmoe posts (his words or those of some source), Joe is responsible for both its content and styl -- and dare I say it, smoovely -- handling scripture (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15).
    Thanks for the tip! I can use all the help I can get. 🙂 How about a game?
  3. Illinois
    Joined
    20 Mar '07
    Moves
    6266
    30 May '07 06:19
    Originally posted by blakbuzzrd
    In an attempt to help people argue their points more persuasively and effectively, I present the following notes on the use of quoted material in discussion postings:

    Let's posit a fictional participant in this forum: Joe Schmoe.

    Regardless of what Joe Schmoe posts (his words or those of some source), Joe is responsible for both its content and styl ...[text shortened]... -- and dare I say it, smoovely -- handling scripture (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15).
    You know what? It just occurred to me that you would be way better at witnessing than I could ever be. 🙂 I'm sorry you lost your faith. But the truth is, whether you believe it or not, God still loves you and Christ still died for you. Maybe someday you'll find your way back... We could use you.
  4. Joined
    02 Aug '06
    Moves
    12622
    31 May '07 13:361 edit
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    You know what? It just occurred to me that you would be way better at witnessing than I could ever be. 🙂 I'm sorry you lost your faith. But the truth is, whether you believe it or not, God still loves you and Christ still died for you. Maybe someday you'll find your way back... We could use you.
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