Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Discuss vs Argue - Part 1

Over the last number of years, I have been introduced to a variety of people who have challenged my personal views on Christianity.  I admit, I have learned a great deal from them and about myself in the process.  On the other hand, I have seen a number of people cling fast to their beliefs because of what they have been taught.

The point I want to cover today, is the concept of truly discussing something rather than arguing about it. I remember a number of years ago listening to some college students say "define your terms, when you want to discuss." Two of his friends were in an arguing and getting a little heated.  He stopped them and had them define their terms and come to find out they were arguing the same point just using different words.

We all know the English language is not the greatest language in the world. In fact, sometimes it is downright confusing.  The point is, unless we define our terms and really strive to fully understand what the other person is saying we can often be trying to argue a point that doesn't need to be argued.  Sometimes it is a matter of cultural context.  Sometimes it's a matter of perception.  Sometimes it's a matter of using different words to say the same thing, but words carrying different meanings to different people.

I think it is important to try to fully understand what the other person is saying prior to arguing with them.  I have found this true in my marriage and it's amazing how looking back a lot of issues could have been resolved so much easier.  If that is true when it comes to someone who is so close to you, why then wouldn't it be true when trying to discuss something with someone who you don't know as well.  Without really knowing them, you have no clue what value or meanings your words might hold for them.

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