Which Proverb fits best when encountering Ideologues.

by peacefulpete 10 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • peacefulpete

    Proverbs 26:4

    Do not answer a fool according to his folly,

    Or you will also be like him.


    Proverbs 26:5

    Answer a fool as his folly deserves,

    That he not be wise in his own eyes

    Doesn't one of these ancient proverbs encourage engaging in debates with those unwilling to be persuaded and at the same time the other say doing so will only drag you down with them?

    Please, use self control, no divisive topics be posted, Only discuss the value of, or lack of value of discussions with someone unable to see another position.

  • Anna Marina
    Anna Marina

    Jesus did not answer the Pharisee according to the Pharisee's attitude. Instead he answered the Pharisee as the Pharisee deserved, so as to give the Pharisee a chance to get the right idea about God's values.

    (Luke 7:39-47) . . .At the sight the Pharisee that invited him said within himself: “This man, if he were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman it is that is touching him, that she is a sinner.” 40 But in reply Jesus said to him: “Simon, I have something to say to you.” He said: “Teacher, say it!” 41 “Two men were debtors to a certain lender; the one was in debt for five hundred denarii, but the other for fifty. 42 When they did not have anything with which to pay back, he freely forgave them both. Therefore, which of them will love him the more?” 43 In answer Simon said: “I suppose it is the one to whom he freely forgave the more.” He said to him: “You judged correctly.” 44 With that he turned to the woman and said to Simon: “Do you behold this woman? I entered into your house; you gave me no water for my feet. But this woman wet my feet with her tears and wiped them off with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss; but this woman, from the hour that I came in, did not leave off tenderly kissing my feet. 46 You did not grease my head with oil; but this woman greased my feet with perfumed oil. 47 By virtue of this, I tell you, her sins, many though they are, are forgiven, because she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little. . .

  • peacefulpete

    First it must be noted that Simon does not engage in spiteful and foolish talk, he has a bit of a self righteous moment in his heart. So not really a good example of what what we are discussing.

    But ultimately your comment was, that its good to respond to "fools" if we don't have the same attitude? Is that likely to work? We don't have the benefit of having readers ponder the wisdom of the witty response. Or is that the motivation. We engage fools in debate hoping third parties are moved by our arguments.

  • Simon

    So let me get this straight, you don't want to debate any particular topic, you want to debate about debating itself?

    Sounds like a waste of time to me and both of your proverbs make a huge assumption - that the other person is always the fool, and never you.

    Maybe focus on specific topics, using facts and logic, and less of the mumbo-jumbo bible philosophy that tries to be profound but if you think about it is just self-contradictory gibberish.

  • peacefulpete

    The proverbs are not "my" proverbs they are a set of contradicting proverbs posted here to stimulate constructive discussion. And yes you are right many times the person convinced his opponent is being the fool is in fact not only mistaken but being belligerent about it.

    Anna Marina, made a logical comment that she felt addressed the topic. You are free to think it is a waste of time.

  • Simon
    The proverbs are not "my" proverbs

    So you didn't write the bible then? Well duh ...

    Whatever point you think you're making, it boils down to the bible being a badly written book full of contradictions.

    You want us to look for value in those contradictions or debate whether they exist or not? It seems pretty clear to me that they do.

    Jumping to a completely different bible verse is neither logical nor addresses the topic, but it is a frequent tactic of the bible-thumpers who again think that liberally sprinkling bible quotes and references somehow says something about anything.

    You can make any book say anything you want by doing that.

  • Anna Marina
    Anna Marina

    Employ enough double negatives and trigger words you can make people think you are saying anything they think you are saying which in fact you may not be saying at all.

    But I guess that's not what we are discussing here. Or is it? Well, if it is, here is an example. It is taken from page 317 of a book called the Blind Watch Maker, written by Richard Dawkins:

    Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. The essence of life is statistical improbability on a colossal scale. Whatever is the explanation for the existence for life, therefore, it cannot be chance. The true explanation for the existence of life must embody the very antithesis of chance. The antithesis of chance is nonrandom survival, properly understood. Nonrandom survival, improperly understood, is not the antithesis of chance, it is chance itself. There is a continuum connecting these two extremes, and it is the continuum from single-step selection to cumulative selection. Single-step selection is just another way of saying pure chance. This is what I meant by nonrandom survival improperly understood. Cumulative selection, by slow and gradual degrees, is the explanation, the only workable explanation that has ever been proposed, for the existence of life’s complex design.
  • Konagirl

    Funny that you should bring this up, since I just read these two scriptures again recently, and at first glance thought they contradicted each other. But they don’t.

    "Doesn't one of these ancient proverbs encourage engaging in debates with those unwilling to be persuaded and at the same time the other say doing so will only drag you down with them?"

    In the first Proverb, the fool must be expecting some sort of answer; so, its basically saying, don’t answer a fool like a fool. (Matt 5:41) The second one seems to be saying, bring out the fool’s folly when you answer. So, in both cases, someone who is spiritually wise, would answer a fool with wisdom. If one is using spiritual wisdom and they choose to “debate”, I don’t see how in either case, the person would be dragged down. Sheesh, myself and many continually bring out the foolishness of the GB, and I know they read it, when I personally write it elsewhere. They just don’t want to have a face to face “debate”! They are wise enough to protect their own foolishness. (Prov 17:28)

    These are interesting renditions of Prov 26:5 –

    “Answer [and correct the erroneous concepts of] a fool according to his folly, Otherwise he will be wise in his own eyes [if he thinks you agree with him].” AMP

    “Answer fools when they speak foolishly, or they will ·think they are really wise [L be wise in their own eyes; C a wise person must read the situation to know whether to answer or not].” EXB

    The apostle Paul: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor 10:5

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Mentioning Proverbs 26:4 and then mentioning Proverbs 26:5 is certainly not an example of "Jumping to a completely different bible verse", since Proverbs 26:5 is the verse which immediately follows the verse of Proverbs 26:4. But, yes it is good to not jump around in quotes of Bible verses (at least when not taking into account the context of their immediately surrounding verses).

    peacefulpete, your question about those two verses is indeed a good one. I thought those two verses contradicted each other, until I read Konagirl's post which quoted from the Amplified Bible (AMP). The quoted Bible verses seem to be using a technique often used in by eastern philosophy (such as in Asia and in regards to Buddhism), which is done to get people to think deeply about a topic. For example see https://aeon.co/essays/the-logic-of-buddhist-philosophy-goes-beyond-simple-truth . That source says "When Western philosophers look East, they find things they do not understand – not least the fact that the Asian traditions seem to accept, and even endorse, contradictions."

    Regarding Proverbs 26:5 (as worded by the AMP) it seems to be saying that if a person does not say anything in response to a foolish statement, the one who uttered the foolish statement will think that the other person agrees with him/her, and that as a result the wise one should correct the foolish one. I've thought about that principle a number of times when I read debate posts (and when I heard people speak something) in which people made a comment (whether as a statement or as a question) to me. Sometimes I thought I had to respond, but other times I thought it would probably be a waste of my time in responding since the person would be unconvinced by me and then make another statement I disagree with, or ask another question and that no consensus would result between us..

    The study notes in The New Oxford Annotated Bible: Augmented Third Edition - New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books - College Edition, An Ecumenical Study Bible (in 2007) edited by Michael D. Coogan, on pages [935 Hebrew Bible] - [936 Hebrew Bible] says the following.

    '4-5: Juxtaposing the two sayings provokes reflection on their competing claims. Depending on the circumstances, one might interpret according to their folly to mean "in fools' terms" (v. 4) or "as fools deserve' (v. 5).'

    The annotation in The New American Bible - Saint Joseph Edition: Illustrated (in 1991), a Catholic Bible, says the following. "26, 4f: There is no contradiction between these two proverbs. In any answer the wise man gives he must protect his own interest against the fool."

    The New Bible Commentary: Revised (in 1970) edited by Guthrie and Motyer, on page 567 gives the following interpretation of the apparent contradiction of Proverbs 26:4-5. "It is more likely however that the difference is simply between profitless arguing with a fool at his own level and occasionally, lest he think he cannot be answered, meeting his prating with wisdom."

    The International Bible Commentary with the New International Version (in 1986) edited by F. F. Bruce, on pages 683- 684 says the following regarding the two verses.

    "Talking to him is a frustrating but unavoidable affair (4, 5). ... Verses 4, 5 are not naïvely contradictory, but amount to 'It needs insight to talk to a fool; sometimes humour him, sometimes rebuke him'."

    A Commentary on The Holy Bible By Various Writers - Complete In One Volume (copyright in 1909 and reprinted in 1935) edited by Dummelow, on page 388 says "Answer or not, according to circumstances (Mt12:30 Mk 9:39)."

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Regarding contradiction and paradox https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/oso/9780197526187.001.0001/oso-9780197526187 says something very interesting, something which even might have a bearing regarding interpretation of quantum physics (and even if time travel to the past is possible) and not just regarding interpretation of Hebrew Scriptures. It says the following (I have added boldface for emphasis.)

    "What Can't be Said: Paradox and Contradiction in East Asian Thought

    Yasuo Deguchi, Jay L. Garfield, Graham Priest, and Robert H. Sharf


    Paradox drives a good deal of philosophy in every tradition. In the Indian and Western traditions, there is a tendency among many (but not all) philosophers to run from contradiction and paradox. If and when a contradiction appears in a theory, it is regarded as a sure sign that something has gone amiss. This aversion to paradox commits them, knowingly or not, to the view that reality must be consistent. In East Asia, however, philosophers have reacted to paradox differently. Many East Asian philosophers—both in the Daoist and the Buddhist traditions—have openly embraced paradox. They have taken compelling arguments for contradictory positions to suggest that the world is—at least in some respects, and often in very deep respects—inconsistent, and that our best theories of the world will therefore be inconsistent. This book is an initial survey of the writings of some influential East Asian thinkers who were committed to paradox, and for good reason. Their acceptance of contradiction allowed them to develop important insights that evaded those who consider paradox out of bounds."

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