“I believe everyone should be free to pursue their dreams.”
“What you do behind closed doors is your own business.”
“People can believe whatever they want so long as they keep it to themselves.”
These are the types of comments I often see when an argument between two views isn’t reaching any mutual agreement. They are useful phrases because they sound very magnanimous, very P.C., very gracious. But they are also very stupid.
Consider a couple of my very own controversial issues. Let’s start with abortion. I’ll skip all the arguments up to the final pseudo-resolution. Drum roll please. “The fact is we can’t know for certain when consciousness starts so let’s default on I will do what I want and you do what you want.” Well! That was easy. We went through a torturous three days of comment posting for that? So from now on this is going to be my starting point. Because the end is just the beginning. For instance, if there’s something that can’t be known for certain for all mankind (not much truly comes to mind in this category. Gravity? A few other natural laws?) then don’t we usually try to err on the conservative side? If we aren’t quite sure when life begins, but we know that once it does it has rights, shouldn’t we eliminate the risk of murder as best we can?
How about evolution? I’ve often found it amusing that the same people who believe in survival of the fittest and natural selection also believe in basic human rights. What place does any kind of rights or morality have in the evolutionists worldview? In the natural world we have predators and prey, sometimes that prey being an animal’s own offspring. I find it odd that human beings are not counted as a part of nature at all, but some antagonizing outside force.
Finally, Christianity. I can’t hold to the truths taught in God’s Word without sharing those truths. You say I can practice my religious beliefs so long as I don’t try to get others to practice them. But what if my “religion” happens to include the mandate to go into all the world, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of my God? Then keeping my religion to myself becomes nothing worth keeping because it’s wings have been clipped.
The list could go on. The point is, if you hold to a belief so strongly that you will argue it tooth and nail to the end of time, at least know where that belief will logically take you at the end of time. I implore you to start your arguments here. Don’t waste time with the talking points. Get to the logical conclusions. At the very least get the stupid out of the way and start with an honest version of the post modernist catch phrases. “Well, we all should have the individual freedom to think and do whatever we want … So long as it fits with my paradigm of what I think people should think and do.”
Belief is like a spark. If it’s ignited well it will spread. What we learn for ourselves is meant to be expressed to others … as sounding boards, as devil’s advocates, as knowledge seekers. Don’t be afraid to want others to know what you know. Don’t be a hermit with your beliefs. Know them to the core and then let them grow fruit for others.