Oh, I see! You are not a left-wing liberal like me. That means you must be a right-wing fundamentalist. You believe there is only one God and trace your beliefs back to Moses. I guess that means you are a Mohammedan or at least a semi-Mohammedan. What? You say that you do not believe what Mohammed taught? But there are obvious similarities. Both Christians and Muslims believe in the supernatural, creation, and a single deity. Both trace back to common teachers, like Jesus and Moses. Both traditions have opposed the same things throughout the years, things like Greek Mythology, Secularism, Jews and even Russia. How could two groups be so similar and claim to be different?
Ok, I will stop before I get myself shot………. You know how those fundamentalists are…….. Ok, I am done now, but I hope you get my point. People do not fit into nice, neat little packages, and you certainly cannot split humanity into two opposing groups. The sooner we learn that lesson the better. Each person is unique in genetics and also in beliefs. We group ourselves based on common ancestors and on common beliefs, but that does not guarantee that apparent similarities are actually real.
One common tactic of debate is to build a straw-man? The straw-man looks similar to your opponent but is rather easily beat to pieces. By describing another person’s view for them and getting it almost right, it is easy to include some small inaccuracies (half-truths = whole lies), and then attack those areas. The problem is that, to anyone familiar with formal debate, straw-men are fairly obvious. Using them, makes you appear quite foolish. It is almost cliché now but few people realize the importance of seeking first to understand before trying to be understood.
Using a straw-man attack is very tempting. Straw-men do not move and cannot hit back. But, I doubt that many people even realize they are doing this. I wonder how many times someone has said, “talking to you is like talking to a brick wall” without realizing that they were not speaking to the person at all. If you do not understand the person you are talking at, they will recognize it and ignore you. You then are only talking about, and to, a straw-man that has beliefs and feeling that you think are similar to the person you really want to communicate with.
Even if your only goal is to wax eloquent, and not really have a real conversation, I encourage you to beware straw-men, stereotypes, and over generalizations. They make you look quite silly.