Some things I’ve noticed in the world of theology/philosophy discussion:
– There is a trend to distance oneself from serious critical engagement when a claim is made or a topic raised – this is often done by couching the claim in terms of ‘opinion’ or ‘feeling’ which allow the claimant to hold criticism at arms length – how can the validity of feelings or right to opinion be called into question?
– Instead of arguments or other forms of evidence, the claim is buttressed by anecdotal evidence – stories, memories from personal experience – which again serve not so much to substantiate the claim made but to shield the claim from the rather cold gaze of arguments and critical inquiry. It often goes unnoticed how such anecdotes, stories, are more often than not ‘self-serving rationales’ (http://alastairadversaria.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/talking-about-my-generation-millennials-and-the-church/ has more on that note).
– A willingness to see all forms of critical inquiry as hostile – this is probably the thing that troubles me the most, because it serves to show that the claim made isn’t made with the intent to put forward a thesis to be examined, refined and hopefully built upon but with the intent to form a position from which one is safe from any attack. This has the effect also of ensuring that the person who puts forward the thesis holds a kind of moral high ground. By virtue of holding said position, one is guaranteed to be right.