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Eric's Sunday Sermon; Let Us Disagree
Brooks Is An Amazing Artist
Discussion or Argument
Many people disagree. Or should we say that all people disagree. Or perhaps it best to say some people disagree. But absolutely there is something that I disagree with you about. There just is no way with us having separate minds that we will agree on everything.
There are some that think married couples should agree on everything. Can you even imagine marrying yourself? (Yes there are some who have, although not legally) Which brings us to that strange notion that is true; you can disagree with yourself.
So the question becomes so clear. If everyone disagrees with something why do people get so angry when someone disagrees with them? Is there really something in the human mind that makes us believe we are right and they are wrong? Please notice that we are not yet speaking of agreeing with an Idea or a premise, at this point we are talking about disagreeing with someone.
And isn’t that interesting. Most “arguments” by people who do not recognize that they are arguing with a person rather than their idea are angry. Yes an argument can be angry in and of itself. If the argument includes the notion of “I hate….” This is a good thing to think about. Am I angry and/or is my argument angry? If we start out by hating someone or thing and then form an argument that justifies that hate well then our argument is hateful. (hate full or hate filled) And this is regardless of our heart. It can just be mental.
So the poor poor parent with an adolescent. It seems so right to tell the child that they are wrong and sadly enough to do it with a hint of anger or more. We note this causes problems with the kid because of the lack of respect and rebellion. But my friends it goes far deeper and darker. It is in these formative years that the damage is done. Probably in the relationship but for our purpose here it is in the teaching.
Yes indeed when a parent insists the child is wrong and does it with anger, the child learns to insist she is right and opposition to that thought should be joined with anger. We just plain teach it by example. Great parenting requires pointing out disagreement with reason and not anger. Maybe we fail because we are too busy. Then again maybe most parents are control freaks when it comes to their children.
You are not mad at me because we disagree is a safe place and more loving.
He Wanted To Wear His Grandpa's Hat
Now do not let your eyes roll back in your and become instantly glazed over with this next notion. Socratic dialogue. Socrates was a champion. He was a giant among men in the intellectual arena. It would also seem he loved people but we do not think of him this way. Now I say he was loving because he took the time to argue without rancor for the most part. And he argued using a question technique. Far better to help another question their righteousness than for you to do it.
Now check this out. I read it in my Oxford Guide to Philosophy. “Socratic method is a …. method that pursues truth through analytical discussion.” And so we say to ourselves “hmm should a disagreement create an argument or a discussion to get at the truth?” This author is guilty of using this wonderful tool of dialogue asking questions rather than stating truths. Just for interest the method is called dialectical. This reminds us that opinions are akin to anuses, everyone has one. My truths are generally just my opinion. And I respect yours and assume I can learn something by hearing you out in a Socratic dialogue.
The loving yet divorced Parent. Normally around these parts a divorce couple share custody of the children with one being the custodial parent. And normally the children live with the mom and get to visit the father. In healthy situations the mom must actually raise the children and the father gets to spend time with the children. And normally the dad must act all pissed off because he does not “get” the children. Yes I know this is all sick role playing, but so be it.
Now just what parent gets to take the time to teach without frazzled anger? Which one would have the time to engage in real discussions? Isn’t that a strange concept?
The idea of ideas rather than people. Have you ever competed against another person? Are you a competitive person? Check this concept out; “they were constantly competing to see who could be more loving”. Isn’t that funny? I think that would be a wonderful sitcom skit. “ha ha ha I win! I am more loving than you!” Well my friends that is an absurdity to make a point. In love we do not compete therefore arguing against another in order to win is not loving. Arguing to learn more and to chase after the truth can indeed be loving as true honesty is loving.
It Is OK That We Disagree
Love Is More Important Than Right or Wrong
Uniformity vs. Commonality
Here is a wonderful area of thought and belief. Are we interested in commonality or uniformity? I picked up on that a few years ago. It was my job to learn all I could about the communism that was Vietnam. So I followed up on Ho Chi Minh’s journey to Europe which led to studying under Karl Marxists. Or Stalinist Marxism. And then from there to learning Mao communism to being president and asking the US to help in ousting the French from a bizarre left over colonization. Ho wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of Vietnam very much in accord with the US ones.
The whole mishmash here is that Stalin and Mao insisted on uniformity whereas Ho insisted on commonality. Of course his death and the stupid involvement of the French and the US and the running of the country by generals screwed all that up. Power corrupts and total power corrupts totally.
So we move from politics to religion. A religion that is based on uniformity is quite literally evil. A religion that is based on commonality is blessed.
In uniformity we cannot disagree. In commonality we must disagree. In commonality we must be honest and learn from each other. In commonality we must share and demand equality and not who wins gets the riches. And we who live in a communal lovefest must engage each other to hash out differences and quite seriously from time to time “agree to disagree”.
It seems that most at least get the idea that we can hate the act without hating the person who did it. Likewise, and this is funny, we can love the idea but not the person who espouses it. And of course love the person and not their ideas.
You disagree with my spiritual path and beliefs. From my side I can dig it. I love you because you are you and not because you agree with me. I will do my best to respect you and your idea – both. And because I love you in honesty I will do my best to get you to ask the questions. I will lovingly listen to your side. I will consider it. I will, I promise, search with you for the truth and care not who wins.
I will try to walk beside you on our journey rather than direct you where to go. Let us celebrate our diversity and avoid uniformity.