I have read over 40 books so far this year and over 20 were “theological” in nature. I read theology. It’s what I do. Through the years of reading these books I have picked up on theologian tricks.
One of the common tricks of theologians is to state a point, list a number of verses that back it up and then say one of the following
“It is obvious to the studious reader of the Bible. . .”
“It is abundantly clear to the intelligent reader. . .”
“Conscientious believers will know. . .”
“This overwhelming evidence is irrefutable to the serious-minded individual. . .”
Or some such thing. This always perks up my ears to go back and analyze what I just read. Anyone who has to compliment the one who agrees with them, or use extreme words to belittle you into agreement, must know their argument is weak.
C. S. Lewis once said about the use of adjectives:
“Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the things you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us the thing is “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers “Please, will you do my job for me.””
I think this point can be carried over to these phrases theologians make.
Anytime someone tells you they just came up with “irrefutable evidence” of some theological point, set about to refute it! By using such words they are banking on you not checking what they just said!
Anytime there is an appeal to a better person (intelligent, serious, studious, etc), immediately set about studiously refuting the blather you just heard. This is a win-win.
You may find yourself agreeing with them and -WIN- you can go about your day knowing you are a serious, studious, intelligent person who “gets it” and how cool is that?
Or, you may find that the theologian is wrong and -WIN- you can go about your day knowing you are even more studious than serious, studious, intelligent readers!
Watch out for these lazy tricks of logic oft employed to bolster a weak position. Beware any theologian who has to belittle the character of those who disagree with them and elevate the character of those who agree. Something is fishy if a guy has to use charm and flattery to get his point across.