Tag: rhetoric

Bible, Christianity

Christian Conflict Resolution

Like all people, Christians have conflict over ideas, practices, preferred traditions, and how to spend money. Conflict is good. It helps solve problems. But we frequently handle this conflict in ways that contradict the purpose of the church and the content of the gospel message! When we value a minor thing as though it were …

Uncategorized

Tips for Rhetoric from Hypnosis

When I was in highschool, I found a little red book on hypnosis in my school library. I flipped through the pages, saw a section on inducing sleep states, and read it. When I was a kid I always struggled to sleep. The method in the book, though it was meant for trained psychiatrists to …

Uncategorized

Jesus, Rhetoric, and Dialectic

In the past I’ve written pretty extensively about the difference between rhetoric and dialectic. The distinction between the two, I think, can be quite important for understanding Scripture. Here’s a short review: Dialectic is the art of using logic and facts in order to find what is true. In reference to discourse (written or spoken) it …

Uncategorized

Roles of Imagery in Our Worldview

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how rhetoric, advertising, and imagery in general can influence our view of the world. This got me to thinking about the nature of suggestibility and achievement as well as the relationship of false expectations to achievement. The research on these subjects is pretty vast, so you’ll just have to look it …

Uncategorized

What are people like? What I learned from Copywriting

Since I teach rhetoric, I’m always looking for ways to give my students an edge and this leads me down all sorts of great rabbit trails: books on hypnotism, psychology, watching speeches by famous politicians, ancient rhetorical manuals, books on family systems communication, and even books on marketing. Today I started Victor Schwab’s classic, How …

Uncategorized

Hell or Why I am a Christian: Pathos 1

My first emotional reason for being a Christian is the one that is often treated as the least worthy reason to care about Jesus. It’s the doctrine of hell. The doctrine of hell, some experience of post-mortem divine punishment for misdeeds in the present life is rejected by many intellectually and by even more practically. …

Uncategorized

Why I am a Christian

A few months ago I reevaluated this question from the angle of rhetorical appeal. I did this because as I’ve grown older I’ve had two somewhat opposite experiences: I’ve studied logic much more carefully. I’ve learned that, in general, while people are rational (their behavior has rationale), they are not reasonable. We do not operate solely …

Uncategorized

On Rhetorical Aims and Defense Against the Dark Arts

There are two modes of public discourse that deal with syllogisms: Rhetoric – the art of persuasion Dialectic – the art of discovering/explaining what must or may be true or false based upon facts and reasoning. The thing about these that is important to remember is that dialectic is not always effective when used as …

Uncategorized

On Rhetorical Risk

Two of the most powerful rhetorical tools are exclusion and shaming. These tools are related, but distinct: Shame- “People like this are terrible, just terrible. Nobody should be like this.” Stated as a fact, this may or may not be true. But stated as rhetoric, the idea is to get those who agree to distance …

Uncategorized

Overcome Writer’s Block: The Common Topics

Writer’s Block You’ve had it, I’ve had it. It’s not pleasant. As far as I can tell, there four reasons for writer’s block: Trying to sound profound (This is part of the game in fiction and poetry.) Poor research An inability to make an argument Nothing to actually say Bonus Reason Five: You’re just procrastinating. …