Choir Preaching

Just for lols

Just for lols

There’s an English idiom that has been floating through my mind for the past few days. “Preaching to the choir.” If someone is accused of doing this, there usually bears a negative connotation to it. The meaning loosely translating to making one’s case to one’s supporters, or to those who agree already. In the churches I attended as a Christian, I would understand this phrase as pertaining to sermons on things like gay marriage, but it would also be similar to preaching against murder. It’s preaching something to a group of people that wouldn’t really take anything away from the message, because it’s already something ingrained in them to do (or not do) at a core level.

I have been encountering this at varying degrees. Although I understand that we all do it, in our own ways sometimes, we like to call it “ranting” when we do so. Certainly, many do this with their blogs or Facebook posts, and there isn’t too much wrong with it.

However, there’s a slight deviation from this concept that has been bothering me the most.

This is when people posit arguments in such a way, and with such phraseology, that it can only be understood by “the choir”. I’ll try to clarify:

Specifically, I see the above constantly in my local newspaper’s “opinion” section. The town has a solid Christian population, sure, but also has LGBTQ organizations as well as a growing Atheist community. However, articles are submitted to the newspaper as LTEs and Opinion articles that rant about Christian topics such as abortion and gay marriage with phraseology that can not be taken seriously without putting oneself in the shoes of one of “the choir.”

My issue with these such “rants,” when made in public domains with a wide audience, is thus: What is the point of your argument? Who are you speaking to? Did you want to just get all that off of your chest, or did you want your choir of “amen”s? Usually, these articles are written as if they are arguments towards those who disagree, but the words used are simply too harsh and filled with presumptuous statements and nonsense religious statements that one could hardly know where to start.

It is one of the basic tenants of writing anything, from essays to fiction, asking the necessary question: Who is your intended audience? If you wish to make an argument against abortion, and gear that towards those who disagree than it would make sense to speak their language. If you wish to make an argument against abortion, and gear it towards those who agree…. then what was the point?

There are many more thoughts and extrapolations one can explore with this concept and key question… But I want to open it up to the reader.

What do you think? Were can we draw the line between a healthy and needed “rant” and an argument? With the advent of social media, certainly, maybe this is far too complicated?

Is it something we should start considering when we speak/type?

Penny for your thoughts?


5 thoughts on “Choir Preaching

  1. Where ever did you get the idea that the dogmatic necessarily need to be logical or well spoken? Even the decidedly uneducated can rant. I’d probably rephrase this post in terms that ask ‘why is it that when ignorant people rant it is always about or with a religion in mind?’

    • If I did that, I’d be just preaching to my own non-established choir. 😉

      But, I suppose, that is the unspoken connotation in my post, isn’t it? I naively still hold out for the uneducated and willfully ignorant to be capable of deep thought and reflection. After all, I was one of them once. If I can change, surely….?

      Once can hope.

      • In the vast landscape of human thought, the bell curve holds its largest volume on the low end of intellectual integrity. In no small way is it that the move from theist to atheist is about honesty with the self. The rules of the simulation running in our brains are all to happy to allow magic to explain what takes too much thought otherwise. As it turns out, the religious are not so much willfully ignorant as they are willfully lazy.

        The god theory allows them to stop thinking about how things came to be and allows them excuse for accepting the yoke of enslavement by any number of ne’er-do-wells. If you know the phrase ‘jobsworth’ then it will make sense when I say that is what religious belief is.

        For the lazy thinker it is much more palatable to go with the answer that appears to be an answer than to go with the answer that says we do not know. Their logic is sound but troublingly they are not thinking about truth. Instead they are thinking about the answer that is easiest to accept in a state of ignorance (a state that requires the least amount of energy expended on thinking).

      • Once again, “some” not all. It is the some I hold out for. The somewhat enlightened who have not yet found what they search for.

        There are many lazy. Many pathetic and useless in the span of what we could even hope to proudly call “human.” There are also those on the flip side who think they have knowledge, they are the arrogant and the tyrant who apathetically trounce through life belittling those who appear to be “lazy.”

        I try, and I emphasize the try, to reach the seekers. They sleep amongst the Religious folk, hiding, doubting quietly. There’s far too many of them, I was one. Afraid and alone. Sure, there are many arrogant and many lazy and pathetic amongst the Theists, but Atheism is not above that human reality either.

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