Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Out of Context

While reading hot topics in The Facebook followed by comments from people who have their fixed opinions, I’ve noticed, in particular, those who proudly consider themselves the highest of intelligent thinkers seem to be the most practiced at making specious arguments - drawing conclusions based on comparing apples to oranges. 

The Facebook is a stirred pot for sure. Gather folks together and there will be disagreement. I can’t help but recognize and count the various classic debate techniques almost as though they are following a printed guideline. 

The most common tactic for attempting to shut down one who takes a different view is the adroit combining of a concept presented as ‘fact’ as though it is foregone conclusion with a snarky final jab implying that anyone with half a brain ought to understand. This usually signals the downward spiral into ugly name calling. I give this sort of interaction wide berth because, frankly, I don’t care to debate anything with anyone anyway. 

Live and let live, right? Thus far we still reside in a country that supports the right of all to have opposing views, though I see disturbing signs that this is a dying construct. It seems the loudest voices are those who tout freedom of speech even as they condemn other views being expressed. But that’s another topic for another day.

I will admit to secretly admiring those who have the gift of effective argument though. I am talking about those who have truly done their homework, know the irrefutable facts and are gifted with the art of clear communication. I also freely admit I am not one of those. I think this is because I must have been elsewhere when the power of persuasion was being issued. Thus any tactic of rebuttal will effectively shut me down but not in the way an opponent is likely to assume. 

I don’t give up because I am bested, I bail when it is clear nothing I can say or do will coax someone else, if not to my side, at least to agree to disagree. 

I console myself with the Scriptures about not casting pearls among swine and when you find you are not welcome, turn and leave, shaking the dust off your sandals as you depart. Stoic that I am.

We live our lives, form our opinions, and dig our heels into our fixed perceptions based on what we want to be true, not necessarily what is true. And this perception is woven from a million little threads of individual experience, good and bad that we collect along the way. Sentient beings that we are, we still are mostly shaped from personal sensory experience and thus our take-away is often myopically out of context. From all the things thrown at us we pull only those familiar threads that we recognize and then artfully reweave these into our own tapestry of assumption. 

Perhaps this is the rationale for Christ admonishing us not to judge others, lest we wish to be judged ourselves. God knows us from the beginning to the end. He knows that we see that which we want to see when it better fits our perception of how things ought to be, as well as how we prefer to justify our POV rather than ask a few pointed questions the answers of which might threaten to unravel our context.

Since I know for sure that it is not possible for me to know everything and furthermore it’s not even close to possible for me to be right all the time, I refuse to be frustrated at being silenced by those who think they are. I respond with a smile and let them think they won. 

Proof is in the pudding, everything comes out in the wash, time will tell - as the old-timers used to say. 

For Him,

Prove all things: hold fast that which is good.  (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

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