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.
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:
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.
More comments below.