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Eric's Sunday Sermon; Let Us Disagree

Updated on September 24, 2017
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Holding degrees in philosophy and Law. Formal studies or certificates or degrees in business, theology, insurance and security. Ex-preacher.

Brooks Is An Amazing Artist

Captured sadness when matters are resolved by force.
Captured sadness when matters are resolved by force. | Source

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.

Live Together

He Wanted To Wear His Grandpa's Hat

A Blending of Cultures
A Blending of Cultures | Source

Respectful Thinking

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

Please do not stop talking because you disagree. Discuss and learn not teach.
Please do not stop talking because you disagree. Discuss and learn not teach. | Source

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.

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    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dianna you are so right. And while that saying is good just for us by free will it also is a good test of the other's ability to reason.

      I cannot say for sure good or bad if someone cannot agree to disagree. Maybe it is one of those "it just is" things.

      Catherine is one I often disagree with. But we find way more in common than that which we disagree on.

      And I think that is mutual respect.

      Thank you so much for your comment. Sometimes I think great readers like you contribute more than my article :-)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 weeks ago

      The saying "we must agree to disagree" works in situations where people are open minded. I tend to believe we can all achieve that mindset. Great inspiration for the times we live in.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great to hear from you Shaloo. Your comment is special as it shows a suggestion coming from compassion. I could not disagree with you.

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      Shaloo Walia 2 weeks ago

      People have become so rigid in their views nowadays especially when it comes to politics or religion. Wish they could learn and implement the valuable advice of this sermon!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Catherine. They are designed for how my mind works. Over forty years of studying religions and having deep faith, I go humanism which is developed through that study. Religious folks get the references or can relate through their faith. But I find that all love and compassion are universal.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 3 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Your sermons are always very interesting. They seem to often have a humanistic outlook. I do agree that it is important to disagree with respect.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you for this contribution to the discussion. Dennis I think there is a change in 50 years or so. The Vietnam issue still lingers in ways. The ugliness that resembles today is the "spitting" on return veterans. Just a disgusting display. Anger expressed in misguided directions.

      And yet we were treated to greats like MLK and RFK. They could disagree with dignity and honor.

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      Dennis L. Page 3 weeks ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      I'm a baby boomer born in 1951 and in my 66 years have witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly. During the 1950s and 1960s, I witnessed the ugliness of racial discrimination, race riots, and social unrest. I remember like it was yesterday when the National Guard killed four unarmed students at Kent State. I can still see the Vietnam War protestors taking over the Washington Mall. However, it wasn't until the advent of the internet and 24/7 news coverage, filled with paid pundits that the vitriol and vile division between people became prevalent. As a child, I never recall my parents or their friends discussing politics. Oh, I'm sure they all did, but they did so privately and their feelings were clearly displayed at the voting booths, long before gerrymandering occured.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Denise that is a rough story. Sometimes seemingly strange behavior can be a good way to avoid negative behavior. Like the "idle minds are...."

      This makes me think of my daily reflection that I am not worthy to receive all of the love I get. Even from other people it is by sure grace.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Dora. That little guy is now kneeling up on a surfboard at seven and a half. That actually is his big sister. The boy is a miracle boy that I was not supposed to be able to help create - what do doctors know ;-)

      I like how you used "conflict". It reminds that sometimes it is good.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 3 weeks ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I have a brother who used to argue with his wife over who had done the most for the other. He would say that his wife did the most for him, and his wife would say that he did the most for her. It was a strange sort of "competition" they had going. When she passed away from breast cancer, he was devastated. It took many years before he could put his head up, and only then because he found another woman who was much like his first wife, and the competition continues!

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Amen to your conclusion. You asked many questions in this article, which if we took the time to answer could help us understand that sometimes we even have conflict (disagreement) within ourselves. It would be fun to hear interpretations of the look on your son's face in the picture where he stands with the adult in the water.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John you just reminded me of the internet. I suppose a little over a decade ago my eldest 3 children and I were on a road trip of 8 or so hours. They would disagree with me and out came the fact checks on google. Disagreeing led to a lot of fun.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Demas you are so right. And it is good to remember that although this sermon goes to the act of disagreeing we spend far more time agreeing in life.

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      John Hansen 3 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      We certainly need a degree of disagreement for the world to go around, Eric. It would be a terribly boring place if everyone lived in a state of uniformity. Diversity and commonality need to be embraced. Cheers.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 3 weeks ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Ah, but what a joy it is to realize that you and a person you love and admire agree on the most important things in life.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill thank you. I am glad you took the time. And I for sure appreciate it when friends do take of their time to be with me. As my big brother likes to say "Now go getter done boy the world is waitin on ya" Let us light em up this week!

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      William Kovacic 3 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      You made some excellent points here, Eric. Honestly, some things I never thought about, I've been very busy lately with church, family, and the list goes on, but I was able to catch this one.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Tim I think your comment is wonderful. We work hard on disagreeing down our way. Life would be so boring without it. And yet like salt too much ruins the taste of life.

      If I can take a child and teach them critical analysis then I can give them a life that is rich. Though it stretches patience the finest word in our vocabulary might just be "why?"

      I figure we all have just so much time. Rather than avoiding disagreement we should spend more time working out the why.

      I am blessed to have friends like you.

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      Tim Mitchell 3 weeks ago from Escondido, CA

      Great teaching article Eric. I like "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." I looked up uniformity and commonality noticing the action word for uniformity is being and commonality is sharing. Thank your for your insight giving meaning through your 'sharing' with us.

      I thought a lot about disagreeing, anger, and hate while reading. This is what I saw; disagree → anger → hate. And, conflict → emotion → resolution. Are we seeing people in less control of their emotions, thus tainting resolve?

      Contemplating I peeked at Plutchiks wheel of emotions. It seems the emotion acceptance may be a solution. It is my belief we can accept and remain in disagreement. If only for arguments sake seeking resolve. Or, as you pointed out agree to disagree. I will contemplate more later. Thank you Eric for bringing me another journey of learning.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      A marvelous contribution Larry, thank you. I am sad to say that my wife and I disagree when I am bullheaded. On the other hand I am a get your hands dirty kind of guy. A dirty son is a healthy son. We love dirt, bugs and creatures. Mom not so much. Aren't those great things to disagree on!

      She teaches the boy Vietnamese and I teach him Spanglish.

      We do not do the Italian throw the pans thing but we do the Asian yell and hand tossing thing. We love to be passionate about little things but big things we just kind of work out over time. Maybe we should get some counseling to affirm our love ;-)

      When you have a chance thank your son for an old JAG defense boy. Us here in Fighter Town USA love our Marines. Go Camp Pendleton!

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      Larry W Fish 3 weeks ago from Raleigh

      This sermon really got me thinking about disagreeing. My wife and I will be married 47 years this December. I can honestly say that in all that time we have had a few disagreements that were major, but very few for being married all that time. We had little disagreements with our children. We have always felt that they should make their own decision, unless it got to the point where it crossed the line. A few disagreements occured there but our children turned our well. Our son went to college for one semester, it just wasn't for him. He spent 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps with three tours of duty in Iraq. Our daughter went to college to study art. She is an artist/graphic designer. I naturally have had disagreements with coworkers but most were settled peacefully. I find now at my age the biggest disagreements I see are concerning politics. I consider myself a moderate, but the extremists on the far right and the far left are impossible to have a decent conversation with. A great read, I loved it.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda, beg me not. My oldest boy is an artist from Santa Cruz UCSC and My youngest daughter is UC Berekely grad. We embrace thought of any notion. And we kick some butt on arguments at an evening bonfire and crackling embers.

      We toss around ideas like population optimization and man as part of nature.

      My seven year old asks questions and his sister in the swamp of DC answers them and we debate. We have taken the vows of never accepting. We have drank the koolaid of Antitdissasastablishmantarianism. Our bonfires rock of Kant and Descartes.

      Weird isn't it? But that is how Dierkers rock.

      Blessed be to others.

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      Linda Lum 3 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, what a timely article. It hurts my heart that there is so much discord in our Nation. And I think you've really nailed the problem--it's not that we disagree. (That has always happened), but now the disagreement is personal.

      It's not that we have different points of view; it's that I am RIGHT and so you are WRONG and I HATE YOU!

      There seems to be no middle ground, and no more "can we agree to disagree".

      I think about our Legislature. Years ago I know for a fact that the R's and the D's would 'go at it' in chambers, but then they'd go out for dinner and be friends. Differing opinions did not pit people against each other.

      It seems we can't do that anymore. We've become so "touchy-feely" that on a college campus if someone hears a word or seems an image that is "offensive" that's enough to bring out the PC police and have that offending image or word banned.

      Thank you so much for this article. I hope you have a wonderful (peaceful) week my friend.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Marlene, much against common thought we watch Tom and Jerry and Woody and the Roadrunner. Few words and yet we dialogue them all. My boy and I argue what they said and laugh our butts off. We are so blessed to disagree in fun. I reckon it is nothing about me but rather a blessing bestowed.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ann, you are a premiere wordsmith. Your high opinion touches my heart. My young son is not granted permission to expect me to talk down to him. If the proper discussion is tough then we work through it to the point of a dictionary. We will inquire and not judge. He will ask me my point of view and I his. But perhaps I only make time and room for that out of love. I and maybe we think it important.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill as we are a bit older I think we failed along the way. Somewhere we empowered the young to think they had a right to condemn others. I hope my children get it right.

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      Marlene Bertrand 3 weeks ago from Northern California, USA

      People are extremely touchy about their beliefs and if someone doesn't agree with them, a battle begins where no one wins. It is sad to watch people fight over individual beliefs as if their thoughts are the only thoughts that matter. This is an excellent, well-presented lesson on a subject that needs to be preached more.

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      Ann Carr 3 weeks ago from SW England

      What an excellent point to make, Eric. There is so much aggression caused by those who think they are right and everyone else is wrong. As you say, not possible! But it is dangerous to behave in such a way.

      You have a talent at presenting thoughts and asking the right questions. You have a talent with the nuances of words (which I believe is SO important).

      Great sermon, Eric.

      May you have a discussion-full but peaceful week!

      Ann

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      Bill Holland 3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      This is a phenomena I'm seeing more and more of on social media...the absolute certainty that people have which says they are right and everyone else is wrong. How is that possible? To a logical human being it isn't possible and yet there are hundreds of thousands of people who believe their opinion is absolute truth. My goodness, how can we expect to ever find common ground and agreement?

      Peace out, Bro!