Category Archives: civility

Civil Discourse

My chat with “Juan Percent” reminds me that I view all debate as an opportunity to share points of view to blow off the cloud of confusion. Here are some of my thoughts on this and some evidence:

All of us have a pretty wide latitude to say what we think. Even the Prince of Peace, in an era long before the First Amendment, could say alarming things like this: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26 But that does not prevent me from biting my tongue when I find someone else’s ideas infuriating, stupid, or worse.

My preferred reply to such a statement would be something to make them reconsider their statement. There are at least three overlapping reasons why I would want to reply thoughtfully.

1st. A smartass reply by me would only close their mind to any counterarguments of mine and thus confirm their opinions.
2nd. I suspect most people who offer a smart ass comment know full well its not a satisfactory argument.
3rd. I always liked Will Roger’s maxim “I never me a man I didn’t like.” Just because someone says something I object to doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be prepared to like him despite it.

None of this means that I will curb a sharp tongue when I think something needs to be addressed plainly. Jesus didn’t hesitate to use the cult-like ridicule of family loyalty to make his point either. Continue reading