Posted by ESC on October 20, 2000
In Reply to: Preaching to the choir posted by E on October 20, 2000
: and Throwing the Baby out with the bathwater are missing. What do they mean? What are their origins?
PREACH TO THE CONVERTED (THE CHOIR) - Propound an argument to people who already support it. Thus in 1867 John Stuart Mill wrote in one of his many books: 'Dr. McCosh is preaching not only to a person already converted, but to an actual missionary of the same doctrine." From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).
It doesn't say that Mr. Mill was the first to use that expression.
An example of preaching to the choir -- giving a speech to the local humane society about being kind to animals. It may be very satisfying to talk before a group of like-minded people, but it really doesn't do much good. It would be more effective to give that same talk in front of people who have been charged with animal cruelty.