It seems almost impossible these days to sit down and have a reasoned conversation with a person with whom you disagree. It happens whether the topic is politics, illegal immigration, abortion, school choice, "systemic racism" – and, of course, mandated vaccinations: people in today's culture seem to have lost the ability to reason … to think things over and adjust their points of view with new, incoming data.
In a word, subtlety has disappeared from public discourse: you either worship Donald Trump or he's a Nazi; you're either all-in for the vaccine or you want to kill children; or you're told – or your children are taught – that all white people are racist.
Dr. Alex McFarland of Truth for a New Generation says everyone is guilty of "going there" at times – but he argues that, more often than not, it's coming from one side of the political spectrum.
"I've got to say it's the progressive Left that is so guilty of not even being willing to hear opposing viewpoints, but just shouting down with brute force power, silencing any viewpoints with which they disagree," the Christian apologist describes.
McFarland contends that such angry outbursts come at a cost: relationships suffer, immaturity is exposed, kindness and empathy – along with intelligent conversation -
"What's lost in all this? Not just truth, but our ability to use language, to make arguments, to make and rationally defend points of view," he offers.
Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist-Dallas points out the Bible has some instruction in these things. "In James 1:19, James said, 'Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger,'" he quotes. "I think the Bible is telling us, there's a reason God gave us two ears and one mouth."
And some things are more important than being right, says the Southern Baptist pastor. "The goal is not to win the argument," he shares. "It's to win the other person to faith in Christ."