Have you ever been in a conversation where you thought, "you're joking right?" You do a mental double-take and for a second you seriously wonder if what you are hearing (or reading) is actually satire. You wonder if you are the only one in the room that isn't getting the punch line. It is like you are sitting there and listening to someone trying to convince you that the moon landings never happened and they are doing so with complete sincerity.
In my vocation, I interact with a lot of different people from a variety of backgrounds, convictions and beliefs. Most everyone has an opinion on something they are passionate about and the conversation can get animated as people generally want others to see the value of that passion. I think we all do this. We all have values and convictions that have shaped us and drive us and we should have an avenue to share those things. How else could we learn from differing perspectives and be challenged by opposing views unless we give the opportunity to dialogue?
Respect & Reason
Differing perspectives isn't a bad thing, and honestly, we shouldn't be scared to get excited and animated on things we believe in and value. The issue is when a conversation leaves the grounds of respect and reason. Simply put: if a person becomes less then charitable in the manner in which they are dialoging or worse begins to defend something that leaves basic understandings of reality and reason at the door, then that conversation is no longer useful or constructive (for the hearer or the speaker).
"I want to teach you how to think, not Simply what to think" // Martin Trench
Just recently I had one of those conversations and it left much to be desired. This person made a very bold claim and more than implied that if you held anything different, your devotion to God was in question. I should have left the conversation alone, but I couldn't help myself and I decided to poke the bear and ask some questions. Was that a mistake! The moment he got a sniff that I might even hold a differing perspective on the topic, I was bombarded with a slew of criticisms questioning my faithfulness as a Pastor, my belief in the 'plain reading of scripture' and if my faith was truly authentic. He both left the realm of respect by attacking me as a person instead of defending his point and abandoned sound logic and reason by confusing the essentials and secondaries of truth.
Revealed Truth & Speculative Truth
As a Christian, there are definitely some essentials to our faith; we call them 'revealed truths'. These are the things that build the foundation to that faith. But there is also what is called 'speculative truths' that have many differing perspectives and are debated. It is when we confuse these two and elevate 'speculative truths' to the level of 'revealed truths' that we go terribly wrong.
We should have the liberty to share our deep-rooted convictions with others, but we must also be willing to listen.
This is exactly what was happening here. This 'gentleman' not only confused the topic at hand, which easily fell into the category of speculative truth, but was unable to separate the two. Everything in his view of reality was black and white.
The same principle can be implied to most anything in life and how we dialogue with others on a wide variety of topics. We should have the liberty to share our deep-rooted convictions with others, challenging diverse points of view, but we must also be willing to listen, not confusing the essentials with the debated and be careful not to become so closed-minded that there is no room to grow.
Questions of Condemnation vs.
CONNECT WITH US
SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL
Privacy: We hate spam as much as you, so we will never share your e-mail address with anyone.
SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOGS RSS FEED
AND GET ARTICLE UPDATES