Recently, I’ve found myself in an unusually high number of discussions/arguments on the internet. It’s not that I actively want to get involved in big debates (especially when it’s a subject which people are quite angry about), in fact I don’t like discussing things with strangers in that way very much, but just coincidentally it’s happened a lot lately.
Anyway, the reason that I’m mentioning this is that I’ve come to a conclusion about the whole thing. If you are going to engage people in a discussion about beliefs, I think it’s very important that you go into it with an open mind. Think to yourself that maybe the other person is going to be able to change your mind, don’t just automatically assume they’re wrong because they represent a different point of view.
I say this because, recently, somebody posted something which was very strongly against something which I thought was actually a very good idea. I posted a reply, telling the person that I thought it wasn’t such a bad thing, and asking a few questions about why it was so bad. The other person didn’t really respond to any of my questions and several people commented in agreement with me. Still, all the other person would say was essentially ‘you don’t understand’ without addressing any of the counter-arguments. The other person got very upset and eventually said they wouldn’t be commenting any more.
What I can’t help but wonder is this: did they think that they were right and even though they couldn’t respond to the counter-arguments, there were adequate responses? While I hate to judge their actions in that way (perhaps they just really struggled to articulate their point of view) it seems that this was the case, based on the evidence. If you enter a public forum to discuss your point of view, without even accepting that you could be wrong (I certainly kept wondering if I might have overlooked something) you’re liable to just end up upsetting yourself and others.
(Don’t miss today’s Finger Puppet Show!)