Can someone help explain to me the efficacy of group discussions? To me, unless there is an acknowledged group leader with a better grasp of the subject matter than the participants, group discussions are merely the blind leading the blind. I didn’t like them in college; I don’t like them now . . . and I’ve honestly never understood why they’re valued. I recently attended a Church event that entailed small group discussions, then short presentations by each group about their conclusions. At one point, we listened to a group present its conclusions about grace, which amounted to a rejection of prevenient grace. I looked around me and everyone was nodding, then they clapped after the group concluded its presentation. I figured something had to be done, so I jumped up and started yelling, “Pelagians! #*^&@!-$%*&ing Pelagians!” But everyone just kinda looked at me funny.
But seriously: Why group discussions? If it’s a peer group informed by a common worldview where you discuss life’s issues to get perspective, to test whether you are holding true to your worldview, that’s a good thing. I get it. But a group of guys sitting around, kicking around delicate philosophical concepts, with no guiding hand? I honestly don’t get it, and part of me thinks there’s something unintentionally insidious at play: an implied (soft) rejection of objective truth. I don’t know of any organization that asks uninformed laymen to get together and discuss their opinions about intricate mathematical formulas, physics, or chemistry. At least, I know nobody has asked me, and for good reason: my opinion on such things would be worthless. But when it comes to religious or philosophical truth, we think there’s value in a group discussion by people who know virtually nothing about the subject matter. Why? What kind of premise underlies such a view?
But maybe the premise doesn’t pertain to truth at all. Maybe the premise is, “People have an innate need to share their thoughts. You have your blog, which gives you an outlet for that innate need. Other people need the group discussion.” Could be. I’d rather that people get a blog that I can visit or not, but it’s not a bad explanation.
Speaking of Pelagians, this Catholic author claims Jordan Peterson is one. Interesting slant. Excerpt:
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I call it “Pelagian” because Peterson’s use of Biblical symbols consistently reinterprets those symbols as having purely psychological meanings, rather than also metaphysical and theological ones.
For Peterson, “take up your cross” demands no less – but no more – than a personal effort to “stand up straight.”