Being a middle child, I will fight if provoked. Toby says that this written on my forehead. My mom says that I am her easiest-going child, but I will fight,if provoked. Having a brother who is just one year older than me taught me early on that I should weigh my fights carefully. We may have been much the same size, but he was definitely stronger than I. Often times, we would be having a fairly normal sibling argument with our voices escalating, when my brother would switch back to a normal tone and say, "You're resorting to raising your voice. You are so immature." To which I usually replied, "You think this is immature? Wait to you see me resort to physical violence." It never failed to provoke me. And the fight was on.
Now my little brother was a different matter. I could take him on and with just a few words cut him up and make him mad. He would then resort to name calling, "You're a...a...rabbit, horse, donkey...plbbbth (spitting with tongue stuck out)." It never failed to amuse me, which made my little brother all the crazier.
Such was life as a kid! I've mellowed much since then. I do pick my fights carefully. Laughing is much better for me. Sometimes, though, someone says something that I just can't let it slide. I have to point out alternative thoughts.
The other day, I entered into what I thought was an intellectual conversation on a blog comment. The other commenter had made a disparaging comment to the blogger and Christians. In doing so, he made a generalization about Christianity (as if as an agnostic he was an expert on all religion). So, I just wanted to point out that not all Christians believed/lived his idea. Truly, I was not trying to fight. I just wanted to explain that there were other thoughts out there. He resorted in ugliness. Really? Why? So, I told him that I was not arguing, but just giving info - setting the record straight. He got really ugly then. It amused me much like my little brother when we were kids. If you resort to name calling, obviously it is because you are losing the fight.
Now here is my thoughts: This guy does not know me. He does not know that I am a little old lady from Oklahoma. If we were face to face, in person, would he have said the same things. Would he call me names and say how stupid he thought I was? Does the internet give people a sense of power - that they can be rude and vulgar because they are hidden from real life/people? Or are people really so uncouth? Is the internet causing people to become unmannerly and boorish?
Anyway, I will not continue to converse with such a person. One funny thing was that at least three times the guy referred to John 14:6 (he did not quote the scripture, but only referred to it ambiguously). It reminded me of Princess Bride. I wanted to say, "Why do you keep saying that? I do not think you know what it means." But I refrained from quoting Princess Bride thinking it might send him over the edge. My sense of humor would have been lost on such a person. See, I have mellowed.