Merry Christmas – treat each other well

I’m going to take a week or so off from blogging, so I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas. During this season when you connect with loved ones, please treat them well. Family gatherings can be a time to discuss life’s biggest issues, and perhaps conversations like that have not all gone well in years past. Please implement lessons you may have learned from Arguing with Friends, and my blog, and be kind to each other. Stand up for your beliefs, of course, but do so with an open mind and a gentle spirit. I would love to hear stories from you about how your Christmas conversations went, whether they went well or poorly. We can learn from both. Please take mental notes about your conversations and drop me a line to let me know how they went.

Ironically, I am going to strongly suggest you do NOT follow Saint Nick’s lead with respect to how to disagree with others!

God bless, enjoy the holidays and check back in the New Year for more thoughts on how to keep your friends (and family) and your convictions.

Disagreements and controversies

I just had to share this from Greg West.

Disagreement is refreshing when two men lovingly desire to compare their views to find out truth. Controversy is wretched when it is only an attempt to prove another wrong. Religious controversy does only harm. It destroys humble inquiry after truth, and throws all the energies into an attempt to prove ourselves right – a spirit in which no man gets at truth.

– Frederick W. Robertson

Today may be the end of the world (wait for it, there’s still time…) but hopefully insights like this can help us avoid the end of either healthy relationships or an honest search for the truth.

Politics, shallow reasoning and intimidation

Roger Scruton offers some interesting perspectives on the push to legitimize homosexual relationships. I am not commenting on homosexuality, per se, in this little article, nor the trend toward homosexual marriage. Rather, I want to draw attention to Scruton’s observations about the tactics that are utilized by those seeking to bring about this transformation.

Very briefly, he claims intimidation is an all-too-common strategy, backed by shallow reasoning. Continue reading

Unbelievable radio interview – Mormonism (part 2)

I already blogged about part 1 of the interview between two Christians and a Mormon on the Unbelievable radio program. I had some thoughts about the second half of the interview. In my view part 2 went downhill from part 1. They continued to treat each other with great respect but Dayton (the Mormon) started sidestepping major issues, avoiding giving straight answers and so on. Even though everybody was still cordial and respectful Dayton started sounding for all the world like a politician avoiding an issue instead of somebody defining and defending their views with clarity and confidence.

But first some general observations. Continue reading

Comment settings changed

It was recently brought to my attention that the comment settings were not how I intended them to be. It forced the commenter to be logged into Twitter, Facebook or WordPress. I wanted to allow people to comment, even if they only leave their email address. Well, I changed it. Hopefully there were not too many people who were unable to comment due to this oversight of mine. My apologies if this describes you.

So, um, that’s it. This is a rather trivial post. Let me leave you with something fun so it wasn’t a complete waste of your time.

Continue reading

Time to talk or time to zip it?

“… a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” – Ecclesiastes 3:7

A major theme of Arguing with Friends is the observation that some people are drawn to the first “time” and others are drawn to the second. Some tend to remain silent more often than they ought to while others speak too frequently. Many of the tools that I outline in Arguing with Friends are intended to help those who are unsure about when to speak, and what to say, so that raising your voice is less intimidating and less likely to strain your relationships.

But what about the other side of the equation? When should we be silent? Continue reading

Proverbs 17:27 – personal restraint

Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

(Pro 17:27 ESV)

I’m glad my program to “read through the Bible in the year” (which is taking closer to three years, but I digress) has brought me to the book of Proverbs. There are some good reminders in there about how to dialogue with each other. This is another one. There will be times when we need to stop ourselves from saying what is on our minds, especially if we are getting hot tempered as opposed to cool spirited. Notice how our moral behavior (restraining words, being cool spirited) is associated with understanding and knowledge. There is a connection between “higher learning” and moral behavior, as I have pointed out previously.

Befriending Atheists

This is a brilliant one-minute piece of advice. My only beef is that it really has nothing to do with Atheists, it’s just good advice, all around. Strange thought; Atheists are just… like… you know… people. Work with that concept. Atheists are just people. Like you and me.

… just people …

He also shares an insight from Schaeffer that I included in Arguing with Friends. It’s the part about how long to ask questions and how long to give answers.