In philosophy and rhetoric, eristic (from Eris, the ancient Greek goddess of chaos, strife, and discord) refers to argument that aims to successfully dispute another's argument, rather than searching for truth. - Wikipedia
You know you're in an eristic or bad faith discussion with someone when he or she does the following ...



  • Your opponent refuses to engage the most important points you're making.
  • Your opponent focuses on issues that are minor or tangential to your main argument.
  • Your opponent demands evidence to support your tangential points, while providing only opinion and no evidence to support his own claims.
  • Your opponent directly or indirectly attacks your motivations, thus moving the discussion away from the issue to your character.
  • Invariably, if you're arguing with an eristic "Devout Catholic", you'll be told (in so many words) to go to confession for defending your position with any zeal, fortitude or persistence; or, in lieu of that, you'll be referred to a Scripture verse that implies that you are lacking in charity for standing up for the truth.
  • Your opponent will completely ignore tone, context and the obvious connection between ideas in anything you say.

It is futile to argue with such a person.  Your opponent is not interested in discovering the truth.  To engage such a person is not only frustrating and a waste of time, it is a sin.  It is casting "pearls before swine" (Mat. 7:6)