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Narrative, the Fear of Seeming Impolite, and Dropping Moral Beliefs

ISIS have busied themselves with new and creative ways to get Christians to reject their moral and religious beliefs. […] Here we understand that, while the fear of pain and death is powerful stuff, the greatest fear of men today is seeming impolite. To change a man’s moral convictions, one need not attack them. One need not even argue. Simply make his convictions off-color, offensive, and unfit for the neighborhood barbeque, and voila, he’ll drop them of his own accord.


Narrative doesn’t debate, it simply uses our fear of being rude to silence us for a moment. Having been cowed into silence, we will do one of two things: rank the value of righteousness over the value of politeness and dare to use our trembling voice, or justify our silence by dropping our now-rude belief.

Of course, the greatest rudeness is to deem the rest of humanity incapable of moral discourse. It’s a perverse pride that whimpers at the sight of some bourgeois narrative, and politely resigns itself to let our family and friends continue in apparent falsehood without interruption.

—from the blog post The Difference Between a Narrative and an Argument Part 2 by Marc Barnes who blogs at Bad Catholic


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