Long ago, before my opinion of religion had tempered into more of a "Hakuna Matata" kind of thing than a "Taka from Moana" type of thing, I wrote lengthy diatribes about silence. Whenever an anti-abortion Christian leader would be caught trying to make their spouse get one, or people who talked about "family values" let their children get abused, I would talk about Christian silence.

"Why are Christians Silent about this?" I would demand. "They have a lot to say about atheists, but then they're quiet about this?!"

Here's the thing: I was very wrong.

They were talking about it; I just wasn't listening.

The argument of silence

This argument comes up whenever someone perceives that people are likely to give Groups they like preferential treatment. A Fox News host will ask why blacks are silent about a gang shooting in Chicago, or why Black Lives Matter has failed to issue a statement. Muslims are routinely asked why they are "silent" about the violence supposedly emanating from "their" communities.

While it's fairly easy to know whether or not individuals of note have said anything about a recent matter, it's not reasonable to assert that entire groups haven't. And most of the time, it's untrue.

Before you insist that a community is silent on a specific issue, you should ask yourself, "How do people communicate?" The answer is going to be things like Facebook, Twitter, and the like, but also open mic nights, cafes, books, and sermons.

How much of that have you absorbed from the people you're criticizing? How many Muslim people have you talked to about this latest terror attack? How many do you know in real life, anyway?

Check before you speak

In order to deal more fairly with others, we're going to have to stop calling people out for things they're not doing.

While it definitely is possible to know if Joel Osteen has said something an issue, it is not so easy to quickly sum up the opinions of over 30,000 different types of Christianity.

So when I asked why Christians were silent on a particular matter, I was only half-right...because a lot of them weren't.

For example, plenty of Christians are fine people that abhor child molestation as represented by US Senate Candidate Roy Moore, and they say so loudly. Not as many as I'd like, but there are many.

The argument of silence doesn't work, especially if you're not listening to the many diverse and often conflicting voices of a given community. People use the argument of silence to bolster their point about the depravity of one group or another, but don't usually take the time to see if they are actually responding to a situation.We can make better arguments than that.