I’ve been debating with a couple people recently and i’m learning that i need to not think of it as trying to change the other person’s mind (because people don’t want to change their positions) but to make the other person understand my position (or whatever position i’m arguing really, since Lord knows i devil’s advocate). Humans will always be disagreeing, but if we can actually understand where each other is coming from? i think we would be a lot better off.
"I admire the fact that you make well-balanced and respectful arguments. Thank you for that. *smiles wryly* It is not an arena to which I am accustomed."
-theatre_pixie to me, after we'd been debating at length
The other debate has been through e-mail with a a nice Christian fellow with the unfortunate name of Mike Moore. *cough* One of my first thoughts upon reading my first e-mail from him was "Well it's that time of year i suppose."
He read my LJ profile and wrote me in response to this paragraph:
I self-identify as queer. I was raised Protestant and am struggling with what exactly i believe. (One thing i know for sure is that Christianity and non-heterosexuality do not have to clash, but that's its own story.) Without any change in my personal stance, i appear as varying degrees of liberal or conservative depending on the issue and the people surrounding me. Labels are both useful and problematic. Sometimes i think i should come with a primer, but that would necessitate my being able to articulate my stance/beliefs on everything, and that is still very much a work in progress.Do i sound like i’m conflicted about being queer and Christian? ‘Cause what i meant was that i was struggling with Christianity but that i knew one could be queer and Christian. Mike interpreted it differently. He keeps talking about the law being written on our hearts, and how people’s conflictedness over being both queer and Christian is proof that they know being bi/homosexual is wrong. I, of course, think he is wrong on this point and others. We’ve maintained civil discussion, though, and also gotten on to other issues, and i’ve been reminded (as i was with theatre_pixie) of things i really should research more.
I appreciate things like the end of his most recent e-mail:
I look forward to your reply, not in expectation of "I'm so sorry, you are right, blah blah you da man", but out of honest concern for your journey, and rather brave journey in search of truth. Your efforts to explore for truth is greatly commendable, instead of just hoping truth just stops by someday! :)))I was thinking recently about principles that drive our lives, since serious discussions with people usually end with recognitions that we have certain fundamental differences in what we value or how we value things or whatever (though good discussion also usually reveals many points of agreement, of course). The basic Wiccan tenet is “And ye harm none,” and i was thinking that that actually works as a single tenet explaining my approach to everything. Clearly this is largely due to my father’s influence since he’s a big fan of fewer laws. I like the idea of keeping people from hurting others, but that you actually have to make a solid case that whatever you want to stop people from doing really would hurt others if you didn’t stop it, and allowing people to harm themselves if they so desire (though of course i’m a big fan of education). Of course i’m also end justifies the means girl. Sometimes you have to go for maximum benefit (i’d rather look at problems that way than in terms of minimal harm).