Political Debates and Christianity [Please


Political Debates and Christianity

[Please be advised this is not directed at anyone in the blogworld, these are simply random thoughts on an issue that disturbs me, and which I often find myself caught up in.]

I picked up a book by Ann Coulter at the Library this afternoon called Slander. The subtitle is Liberal Lies about the American Right. I find this, as with much of politics, unhelpful to clarity. The title seems a kind of whining (now, it's the kind of title that sells books, and I will say nothing of the content as I have not read the book and it may belie its title). Another point that really bothers me is the ready attribution of ill-will or malfeasance to the persons on the opposite side of the debate. In the heat of battle everyone is prone to make stupid, insensitive remarks. Such remarks reflect momentary exasperation, not the fullness of the worldview of the person in the debate. Liberals are not generally stupid people, nor are conservatives. So too very few people wish actually ill on others. Sometimes we may be unaware of the implications of some of the views we hold. And sometimes you can hold a very bad opinion for a very good reason. One might believe that the right to choose helps to alleviate some of the suffering in the world. I would counter that it adds to that suffering, but I must understand that the focus of the person I am in debate with is quite different from my own as they make their statements, and I need to shift my focus to be where they are. I am focusing on the life within, the voice for the voiceless. The person making the statement is focusing on the suffering readily visible to him or her. I need to bring my focus back out and point out that we all suffer to a greater or lesser extent. Better then to suffer momentarily the pangs of whatever burden then to suffer continually the pangs of the guilt you will bear if you were to terminate a pregnancy. Here I see both parties taking their views from a need to support and encourage others. The person in favor of abortion has bought a societal lie that it is consequence-free and conscience-free.

When we debate, on the web or in person, the first step we should take is to recall that the opponent, no matter how incorrect his or her views are from our perspective, holds those views with an intensity and a sincerity with which we hold our own. Rather than allow the debate to degenerate into a long list of epithets and a series of ad hominem expostulations, consider the words said carefully and respond to the words and the argument, not to the tone, not to the meaning that WE attribute to the words, but which may never have been intended. As Christians, we need to be "as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves." Our words need to be words of light and love. Rather than engaging in forthright battle, enter by the straight gate and the narrow way. Such an approach to a position is far more likely to bring light than heat and our duty is to be the light of the world--not its fireplace.

Bookmark and Share



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 9, 2002 3:17 PM.

A Marvelous View Direct linking was the previous entry in this blog.

Today the Best is Silence is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll