- Published on Wednesday, 15 July 2009 21:09
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 2348
Often when having a discussion, someone says "Well that's my opinion" and implies that therefore you should end the discussion because there are two possible answers, yours and his. The further implication is that both are acceptable. But in fact, one is right and therefore the other is wrong. In a few cases, there might be two correct ways of viewing the same thing (e.g. half-full = half-empty) but not often. This applies equally to religion as to any other disagreement.
Of course the big question is, does it matter if people are wrong? When supporting one sports team or other, No, it doesn't matter. But when talking about the nature of the world - it matters for some issues but not others. If you believe God created you and listens to your thoughts etc,. that doesn't matter unless you apply it to practical problems. For example if you are building a bridge and don't know what steel to use and pray for an answer - that matters. Better that you ask a qualified engineer. And if it makes you think all non-believers should be killed, that matters. Like many important questions in life, the answer is not simple.
So when someone says to you "Well that's my opinion", what should be your response? I suggest, you lay it out in the open - you say, "but either you or I are wrong, how can this be decided?" If it's a matter of fact (like which sports team won more games), you can Google it. If it's "Does god exist?", it's a bit harder. Any time I've had this particular argument (disagreement, discussion, debate or whatever), after much back and forth, the other person ends up saying "I believe because I have faith". But at least you've won the point in a rational way and forced the other to concede his/her irrationality. Maybe they'll go away and ask themselves, "is it good to be irrational?"
But if you can't resolve it and you end up agreeing to have different opinions such as is common in arguments about politics, both people are going away with the thought that "I'm right, the other person is wrong" yet only one can be right. Again, it's probably good to say "You know, one of us is wrong" - except don't say anything if the other is prone to violence! Many won't concede an argument to your face but will later come around to your point of view if it is rational.