Friday, June 12, 2009

We're all wrong at least some of the time...

I may be smiling in the photograph; but I'm really irritated!....

Today I'm irritated about people who misrepresent the truth or who misquote what other people have said in order to gain ground for their own point of view.

I'm irritated with people who cannot tolerate differing viewpoints, as if it's not possible for two or more people to disagree yet still work together toward what we have in common.

I'm irritated that people don't even listen to the other side of a conversation if they suspect the other person may not parrot their own exact views.

I'm especially irritated when these people assume they know what the other person is thinking, and make statements regarding those assumptions that the person they are misrepresenting is then not allowed to clarify! And so they are unable to even hear that person speak, consequently missing any opportunity to come together....

I've never understood this approach. Because, if you're wrong about something, wouldn't you want to amend your position and be glad to align yourself with the truth? And, if you honestly disagree with someone, wouldn't you want to understand the other position out of respect for the relationship, even if the disagreement remains?

I really don't understand what possible good is served when people come into conversations (about politics, or economics, or social policy, or church, or ideals, or plans for the future, or anything where differing points of view exist) with pre-drawn or pre-emptive conclusions - where the criteria for "correct" is "You agree with me..." and the definition of "wrong" is "You disagree with me...."

Then there is no discussion, there is simply bombast. Facts are ignored if they reveal truth that is inconvenient.

When being right is more important than making progress, it's next to impossible to accomplish anything at all.

I express pointed opinion in the newspaper all the time (I am, after all, an "opinion" columnist). People often disagree with me. But I'm not always right. I even disagree with myself sometimes! Even if the disagreement is not resolved in terms of one of us changing our minds, I welcome the discussion. It's not a problem that we have differing points of view - there's always something to learn.

That's what irritates me so much when I run into people who need to be right so desperately that they will make up stuff to support their position, misrepresent other people's positions to make them sound weaker, and refuse to listen to anything that might fail to support the conclusions they have already made.

Grrrr! How frustrating. I'm irritated!!!


1 comment:

Ronda's Rants said...

I agree :0
We, Christians also have a tendency to question each other's faith in a disagreement...such a shame.
I don't know what's happened...but I am sorry it happened and I hope God's spirit will intervene.