1 – Wrapping your head around this one is worth it, but difficult. If the theology editor, however, of Christianity Today can do it, I think most of us can too.
2 – It is obvious which side is clear and which obfuscating. See, for example, how quickly the pastors and historians who understand 381 can reply.
3 – Not surprisingly the tone-police are out. That is irritating but inevitable. Note: anybody alarmed at departure from the faith should not fail to dress properly for the occasion, should not raise his voice, or issue more than a genial and general statement.
4 – Cries of tone-policing do show the two sides in greater clarity. One has a clear target because it has a clear issue. The other has a strong concern for appearances and exhibits confusion in various and curious ways.
From the Gorgias, by Plato
How is this, Socrates? Is that really your opinion of rhetoric, as you now express it? Or, think you, because Gorgias was ashamed not to admit your point that the rhetorician knows what is just and noble and good, and will himself teach these to anyone who comes to him without knowing them; and then from this admission I daresay there followed some inconsistency in the statements made—the result that you are so fond of—when it was yourself who led him into that set of questions! For who do you think will deny that he has a knowledge of what is just and can also teach it to others? I call it very bad taste to lead the discussion in such a direction.
Ah, sweet Polus, of course it is for this very purpose we possess ourselves of companions and sons, that when the advance of years begins to make us stumble, you younger ones may be at hand to set our lives upright again in words as well as deeds. So now if Gorgias and I are stumbling in our words, you are to stand by and set us up again—it is only your duty; and for my part I am willing to revoke at your pleasure anything that you think has been wrongly admitted, if you will kindly observe one condition.
What do you mean by that?
That you keep a check on that lengthy way of speaking, Polus, which you tried to employ at first.
Why, shall I not be at liberty to say as much as I like?
It would indeed be a hard fate for you, my excellent friend, if having come to Athens, where there is more freedom of speech than anywhere in Greece, you should be the one person there who could not enjoy it. But as a set-off to that, I ask you if it would not be just as hard on me, while you spoke at length and refused to answer my questions, not to be free to go away and avoid listening to you. No, if you have any concern for the argument that we have carried on, and care to set it on its feet again, revoke whatever you please, as I suggested just now; take your turn in questioning and being questioned, like me and Gorgias; and thus either refute or be refuted.