What We Can Gain By Agreeing to Disagree
Most blog conversations, like most real-life conversations, represent like-minded individuals giving each other feedback. I love it when a friend of mine posts a comment along the lines of “What you said was awesome!” I can’t get enough of that. In fact, the blogosphere might have even more affirmation than real life. Maybe that’s why we love to be plugged in so much.
But what I really can’t get enough of: respectful disagreement expressed with clarity. No matter what your religio-political-philosophical worldview, I hope you can agree: we can learn a lot from each other, especially when we disagree.
I want your atheism to help me be a better Christian, showing me the ways in which my faith and practice are lacking. I want to see Buddhist Katy helping Mary Kay to be more Jewish. I want Michael Moore to help W. to be a better Republican. Why? Because if we’re ultimately concerned with pursuing what is true and good, we help each other in that pursuit, even if our conceptions of truth and good differ as much as our ideas for how to live in light of them.
This is probably easier to show than to tell. In the coming days I will be co-posting the first in a series of “Dialogs with an Atheist,” courtesy of Skeptigator. I guess he and I got bored with limiting ourselves to in-depth discussion with those who are like-minded.
Every disagreement is a challenge. Every challenge is an opportunity. The bottom line: I don’t want to agree with you; I want to understand you. If I can do that, I will have truly learned something and, I hope, gained a friend.