How To Disagree

Strong Opinions and Social Media

Just this week, I read two very different tweets from two Christian leaders. The first intimated that the Bible justified actions the President was considering taking with regard to foreign policy. The other stated that the Bible supported his cry that the President should be impeached. It must be confusing to watch us Christians do what we do. We seem to be all over the map. That part doesn’t bother me so much. I actually like the diversity of thought, and think that differing opinions and insights make us stronger. What is troubling to see, however, is the lack of grace and mercy that is often exhibited by both sides. I don’t believe that strong opinions are the problem. Having no opinion is not the solution. Even worse, morphing our opinions to blend with the prevailing culture would send a misleading message concerning the core truths of Christianity. So, how can we have strong opinions and still reflect the heart that Jesus is calling us to have toward the world?


Debate ideas but embrace people

There’s a big difference between challenging the ideas of others and attacking the person holding those ideas. When we attack ideas, we challenge the strength of their logic, the supporting evidence they have, and their coherence. Words like bigot, coward, fool, etc… belittles the person rather than their argument. If you can’t disagree without personally attacking someone with your words, it’s best to not engage them at all. Also, when you attack people (ad hominem arguments) you are basically admitting that you no longer know how to support your own argument.


Stand for something

Social media has popularized the “stand against”. For every 1 tweet that encourages or stands for something, there are 50 that stand against something. We aren’t sure what the right answer is, we just know that you are wrong. It’s easy to let our anger lead us to oppose the viewpoints of others, it takes more time and effort to process through what we believe, and how to best communicate it. It’s worth the time and effort.


Stay humble

You could be wrong. You have been in the past. I have been hundreds of times (this week). That’s why it’s so important to stay humble. If you have stumbled upon truth, it isn’t because you are better than everyone else, it’s because God has allowed you to find something of himself. So, why in the world would you seek to rub your “rightness” in someone else’s face?  How do you like to be treated when you find that you have been wrong about something? Remember that the next time you are right about something.