Dishonest dialogue

Everyone forms their own opinions but most are very poor at defending them.  They assert their opinions but if debate becomes too awkward for them, they simply walk away.  They do not want to change their opinions nor to have them exposed, even to themselves.

This is because they do not engage in honest dialogue.  People will inevitably make mistakes but the repetition of these mistakes demonstrates an unwillingness to change one’s mind and the desire to win the debate rather than arrive at the truth.

Many people adopt a position which they are prepared to assert but not prepared to discuss, lest its weakness should be exposed.  It is very common in discussions, and people get away with this non-engagement because it is always possible to walk away when the going gets tough.  They want to cherish their own beliefs.

Most people will not investigate the information given to them.  This leads to trading in half-truths, not only in public debate but in personal conversation where real debate should begin.

Christianity teaches independent thinking and investigation of the truth, but with the decline in Christian principles, debate in the UK trades in half-truths.

It is common to misquote one’s opposition in order to reframe the debate.  Public sector broadcasters such as the BBC can shamelessly use selected clippings and quotations, serving as an example for others to imitate.  Christians are taught otherwise.  The truth may be smothered by lies but it will eventually arise.  “Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again.”

every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment’ Mat 12:36.

Here are examples of how modern debate proceeds:

 

Update:

7 Aug 2018: Conversation rather than controversial debate.  The inability to have reasonable discussion and the likelihood of changing people’s mind is very slim.

A contributor on BBC Newsnight tonight made the interesting point that the increasing use of ‘phobia is medicalising political debate’.  Slowly our secular society is discovering the folly of inaccurate language in debate.

Some advice on moderating one’s language.

Freedom of speech in Britain.

More comments below.

2 thoughts on “Dishonest dialogue

  1. Surely everyone is allowed their own opinion. People do not have to agree with it. There should always be freedom for free speech in my opinion anyway for what it’s worth. People do not have to agree with it.

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    1. Donald

      I am sorry that I overlooked your comment until today, Alice.

      Freedom of speech and having one’s own opinion are not the same thing.

      I agree that everyone has their own opinion but many of these opinions are wrong.

      These wrong opinions are better kept to oneself instead of leading everyone else astray. Godly Asaph kept his doubts to himself lest he should offend the godly Ps 73:15. The Lord answered his doubts Ps 73:17 and then he was glad he had not articulated his ignorant opinion Ps 73:21-22.

      This reminds me of ‘the three sieves’. Before one speaks one should put one’s statements through three sieves. 1. is it true? 2. is it necessary? 3. is it kind? One should avoid saying what is untrue Ex 23:1, unnecessary Pro 11:13 and unkind Pro 18:8.

      I disagree that ‘everyone is allowed their own opinion’ because God does not allow it. Does God allow us to think that He does not exist, to blaspheme His name, etc? God sets choices before us, but He does not leave us to make the wrong choice. Such is His benevolent nature that He tells us what choice to make. God says: ‘I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live’ Deu 30:19. God does not leave us to our own opinion and to make the wrong choice. He does not let us have our own opinion if it is wrong. So the apostle Paul says that the Christian is ‘casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ’ 2Cor 10:5.

      God does not allow us to have our own opinion if it is wrong, far less to articulate it. I hope this is helpful and that you are happy for me to disagree with your opinion.

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