Monday, August 30, 2010

Winning Arguments

The instinctive reaction to conflict is a combination of self-defense and attack. One ferrets out the errors in an opposing position in a seek-and-destroy mission that supposedly leaves one more secure. The person genuinely committed to truth does better to seek out the kernel of truth that is part of any point of view. Truth is so precious it must be prized wherever it is found. No system of thought, almost no single influential idea, is totally devoid of truth. By ignoring or distorting that truth for the sake of winning arguments, we diminish our own cause.
Daniel Taylor, The Myth of Certainty, (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 128.
One of my horrible habits in life is the incessant need to be right in any & all arguments. I hate losing arguments. I hate being wrong. I am a stubborn ass which leads me to digging in my heals to prevent losing any ground in different types of conflicts. As a result I tend to view my opponent in an argument not as another person with a different opinion, but as someone who needs to be proven wrong & often humiliated in that process. The worst part of this is that I often will take low blow shots during arguments designed to not only fluster my "opponent" but deeply wound them in the process. Why? Because my experience has been that a deeply wounded person generally cannot argue as well.

As a result of this poor mindset - I often fail to glean the truth & importance of what the person I am arguing with has to say. I fail to look at things from their perspective. I fail to see why they would argue what they argue. I fail to see the truth their viewpoint contains. Mostly I fail to become a better person as a result of the disagreement. Its a sad & shallow existence at that point. The goal needs to be to learn. In every & all situations we MUST be focused on learning. Seeking & finding truth has to be our goal as people. Whether that comes from people who think, talk, and act in accordance to our wishes or from those who don't. Every person, every situation, every idea, and every argument must be valued as a way of improving upon myself. Its less important to be right then it is to gain perspective. I desire growth as a person. Now its time to foster that growth.