I feel like I’ve been doing a fair bit of arguing lately. And I enjoy arguing. In person and online. Mostly I enjoy constructive arguing. And I like the process of road testing ideas in the form of an argument. I’m also fine with being a minority voice. I just don’t like being a solitary voice.
Today at college I was in such an argument at lunch time. Surrounded by some innocent bystanders who could well have been on my side. But they didn’t say anything. And a group of other intelligent people who clearly weren’t.
For a moment I truly understood Tony Abbott’s comment about only taken carefully thought out written statements as gospel, and being flexible on the rest. Because when you’re being badgered with four or five complex counterpoints to your one point and trying to address them all it’s pretty easy to be led down an argumentative garden path where you end up saying something inconsistent with your actual position that then can not be unsaid – and it essentially is impossible to recover that ground.
It’s hard to think, and speak, and address multiple questions at once. It’s easier when somebody else is on your team. I’m going to try harder to voice agreement with people when I agree, rather than just speaking when I disagree.
I’ve covered the issue at the heart of this particular debate before (basically I said that all our actions will be tainted by sin, which means even questions of being right and wrong are sinful, and even “righteous” acts carry some sin) – but I might develop the argument further in a subsequent post.