Rhetorical Theory - Final Reflection

Morality as Truth - A Rogerian Argument
by Kenny Bellew

This is a Rogerian argument concerning Christian Fundamentalist's view on Creationism. It is the rework of an argument I was having with someone who believes that Adam and Eve were literally the first humans on the planet (about 6000 year ago).

Discuss this on my blog HERE.

For my Rhetorical Theory class final reflection, I have taken a writing I previously created as part of a debate and changed its approach using Rogerian argument.

Rogerian argument is best suited for debates that engender heated arguments and emotional appeals. Rogerian argument treads in territories where people often avoid, such as politics and religious discussion.  It is able to do this by setting the opponent at ease, and showing him or her that you care about the position, understand the position and have some common ground.

Rogerian argument opens by telling the opponent what you like about her or his views. From there, you find the points you share in common.  In doing so, you let the opponent know you understand the viewpoint.

The debate I chose involves the fundamentalist Christian’s view of the first book of the Bible, Genesis. The fundamentalist Christian believes that Moses wrote this book, including the account of the creation of humanity in seven days. The Christian fundamentalist feels very strongly that the writings of Moses must be taken literally, that Adam and Eve were the first humans some 6000 years ago, and the Theory of Evolution contradicts this belief.

My goal was to take this very emotionally charged topic, find something that I, as a secularist, have in common with the Christian fundamentalist, and use this common view as a starting point for the argument.  I concluded that our shared sense of morality was that common view.

I examined the early parts of the Bible to show that we cannot believe the stories to be literally true and maintain our common sense of morality.

I divided the argument is four major sections and an introduction. 

  1. General ethics
  2. Genocide
  3. Slavery
  4. The Treatment of Women

The fundamentalist Christian viewpoint is that the story of Creation is literally true because the author, who they believe to be Moses, heard it directly from God. I argue that the primitive morality of the author proves that he was not in communication with a holy supreme being, and the morality causes us to conclude that the writing should not be taken literally or as divinely imparted wisdom.

Rogerian argument remains the central approach by continuously appealing to our common ground of morality.

If you want to comment on the video, do this on my blog.


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