The Value of Religion, Choosing Ignorance, and Identifying Arguments: An Interview with Greg Horton

Recently Villanova hosted an event titled, The End of Religion. Greg Horton believes the end of Religion reporting by newspapers like The Dallas Morning News and the Orlando Sentinel, represent a step backwards in getting a handle on important news, local and global.

An Idealist = Preacher, Teacher, and Curmudgeon

Who is Greg Horton? He is a friend. When I first met Greg he was involved in a fledgling emerging church meeting at First Baptist Church, OKC. Over time he moved from there to work with another group at First Nazarene, OKC until he finally left the building. That was in 2006-7.

Leaving the building is euphemism for leaving the faith, the Christian Faith. Despite our different trajectories, I just began my 22nd year as pastor of the same local congregation in Oklahoma, we continue to remain good friends. And, here is an interesting tidbit: Greg is as interested in Religion today as he was when he pastored. Though, obviously, his vantage point has changed.

Recently I asked Greg to join me for a podcast on Religion Reporting. For many years Greg has been a freelance writer covering stories with a religion angle. We have discussed a number of stories over the years. Here is a recent story Greg wrote.

Today Greg describes himself to his students as an Idealist. This, he says, makes him sometimes sound like a preacher, sometimes a teacher, and sometimes a curmudgeon.

Curiously, Greg believes Religion may make the world a better place. Emphasis on the may.

Choosing Ignorance

Facebook feeds, unless they are maintained with a harsh rigor, reveal many among us choose ignorance. We share stories that are often not well researched, contain terrible arguments, and do little more than confirm our own biases. Who among you have NOT received a forwarded email or linked post only to discover barely one sentence of truth? My friend Marty’s interview for the podcast took time to discuss how click baiting works.

And, it does work. It simply is not interested in the truth.

The current election cycle inspired this podcast, or my interest in hosting Greg. Religion has already played a role in reporting and even in questions asked at the first GOP debate. Understanding how Religion works in public discourse, knowing the differences between Religions, and learning the nuances between expressions within a given Religion, could help us all avoid ignorance.

Any choice to continue to believe what is odiously in error is to choose ignorance.

Help with Arguments

“We are going to have an argument.” The question is what kind of argument. Here we are not talking about arguments over which NBA team to support. Of course you pull for the Thunder!

Support for the Thunder in that last sentence is absent an argument as to why one should do so. Maybe you noticed it. Or, maybe you believe me enough an authority to see an embedded argument. Horton believes we would be helped by not just learning to make a good argument but also spotting the fallacies that expose a bad argument.

Greg makes this an important feature for reporting on stories with a Religion angle. Though he may have left the building, he works hard to make a good argument for the way Religion may play a role in helping make the world a better place.

I have asked Greg if he would write a short series on Logical Fallacies for the blog so that we might be helped in identifying good arguments and avoiding the bad ones. We all know this election cycle will require our own due diligence. It will be helped for the better if we can spot the errors in the way the stories are told.

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About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.