Here is another lyric for a new song, likely a series of them.
A long (sorry!) stream of thought re. disagreements and debates follows.
(c) 2014 Glenn Kaiser
Head lights are on
We hit the high beams
The margins crowd
Our American dream
You cannot trust
While atlas shrugged
They ate our trash
Your hold on me
Play our winning hand
Light the match
So burns the straw man
We are the kings
And queens of right
We back it up
With sovereign might
In corrupt earth
Our noses long
By royal birth
We came we saw
We conquered all
For God and man
Kings of the hill
We shall prevail
On blood soaked land
Banking spoils of war
So burns the straw man
How dare the peasants disagree
We were born to rule
They were born to poverty
Let justice roll
From our holy hand
Our might makes right
As we burn the straw man
In endless night
We keep command
Bright as our skin
We burn the straw man
(For one of many web articles defining the “straw man” concept: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/straw-man.html)
So I realized many years ago that winning a debate doesn’t win a brother much less friend.
I also realized that plenty of people will oppose one another on the basis of win-lose. Holding the power, being the one or one’s in charge and in the end, getting one’s way is nearly always core to heated argument. Our sense of pride, insecurity, fear and/or even sense of love and justice (personal though they may be… and not always with regard to God’s view, general biblical views on those two issues) rise up like volcanoes.
If you want a look into my soul, know that I have deep, deep convictions about God, The Bible, love, justice and truth, truth to the extent any of us can attain a fair sense of what that may be relating to anything or anyone.
Yet “now I (and we) know in part”, so partial knowledge means nobody is ever 100 percent correct.
Further, I find it easy as do most folks, to judge a person an unlearned, ignorant dolt if they don’t agree with me… brilliant and knowledgeable as I am!!:) But you, dear reader, have never judged folks that way… or have you? God forgive me, forgive us!
A little while ago in this blog I made positive statements about Mandela and so encountered push-back, and I expected it. Nothing new under the sun. If I were to do the same re. Obama or G. W. Bush, the same would happen.
What I don’t have time for (and few would read or care to consider in many cases) is a point-by-point debate-team sort of scenario with folks who strongly disagree with my position on things. Why?
I have no idea how much time, effort, study, historical, personal experience or even openness to consider an opposing view anyone has put into a given issue, regardless of that issue. Those who would think me an idiot often have little idea where I am in all of these areas, or what sort of serious consideration I put into the convictions I hold as well.
I’ve only rarely debated fully… I mean fully… point by point and found at the end of the day that the other person walks away a friend who fully agrees with me.
Then there’s the knee-jerk judgment: “This guy’s an ignorant -whatever-… and I’ve GOT him in my points, he has no answers and that’s why he avoids direct discussion so I KNOW he has no sound response. I WIN!!” I find little of Jesus in the flame-bait game. You didn’t win nor did I.
I walked away from a fight not because I couldn’t answer your issues but because I thought you worthy of grace and I don’t need to “win” to be at peace with my own position. Perhaps you did the same!
Further, some would love me to mutilate, cook and eat those who disagree with me on X, Y or Z, and that’s not my aim in the least.
Years ago I fasted, prayed, read all the Bible has to say about music, took time regarding the context, etc.. I further sought out anti-rock music speakers, pastors anyone who had written anything negative about that music style and in particular, what a biblical, Christian view of it should be and why.
In other words, it would be as if was a hard-core democrat truly researching Palin or a full-on republican studying Obama NOT to beat them, win, come up with a strategy to get what I wanted or go where I wanted to go, not to win or lose, but to try to graciously (graciously) understand why they believed and acted as they did on various issues relating to… in my case at the time… music and it’s use by a serious Christian. Putting aside all the rhetoric, truly mean and raging phrases and “I came here with loaded guns” as opposed to “kill them all and let God sort them out” mentality. But such spiritual maturity seems lacking in our day.
Those early rock music debates may seem juvenile and ignorant to many reading but in more than you might think cases, tribes and nations still continue such debates, often with rancour. I frankly didn’t find many on either side of the music issue who took a long, hard, thorough look at the matter. It was often only about winning, losing and control. It was about fear and of course, wanting to win a fight. Pleasing God meant frying the enemy… even if they were equally a part of the family.
I sat in plenty of church leader’s offices quoting verse upon verse and I suppose proving to them that I was serious, thoughtful and even willing to listen. Alas, all my life I’ve found extremists angry with me when I sometimes find middle or somewhat left or right ground the most sane ground on which to stand. Not always mind you, but often.
How easy to consider those who you disagree with as mindless, soul-less blockheads unworthy of your ear… or worse… heart.
Sometimes I AM THAT DOLT to people. Sometimes they seem to be in my view… BUT I try to be kind, gracious and not slam my winning shot in their belly. By the way, I’m a better shot than some… so what?!!
Impressing people, using straw man arguments or merely playing the winning hand (so to speak) in a debate solves nothing when it comes to love, compassion, really ANY of the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians chapter five.
Trust me, I often think myself loaded with what to me are simply solid, irrefutable arguments that again, in my mind, would at least help those opposing me to understand if not fully agree with me in the end… sound familiar?
Win-win is great. But in most conflicts someone if not both parties carry away loss. Let’s not pretend otherwise. You can’t put a sweet spin on sin… and we’ve all sinned and fallen short. I said ALL. God says it in His Word and I believe it to be true.
All have… even your fave person… all but the risen Christ.
Are all human beings deep thinkers, thorough in their research and study, really OPEN to other views or at least studying -why- and how others came to those views? Are we all humble enough to debate and admit loss and wrong thinking on ANY point regarding our hard-held positions?
I’m not saying there aren’t hills to die on, I’m saying there are a very few.
I’m also saying our aim should be love and honest discussion mixed with humility and empty of name-calling and extreme statements that run off the track of key points in the discussion.
Lastly, I hunt and shoot, but I rarely walk around with a loaded gun and I know where the safety is. This is for other’s as well as my own protection! Do I know how to aim and shoot straight? Indeed. Do I have plenty of ammo? Quite enough. It mostly stays locked up because it’s rarely appropriate for me to shoot.
The same principles apply to speaking, writing and arguing with folks who disagree with me.
Thanks for stopping by!