Are Internet Debates Worth It?
by Patrick Collins
Are internet debates worth it? The time, stress, emotional investment, and loss of sleep. Can we really say that "correcting" random people on the Internet is worth it?
Some are, and some aren't.
How do you know which is which?
I've been involved in dozens of internet debates. By this I mean I've had discussions with people I do and don't know online. I'm not talking about an agreed-upon format and timed debate, but instead impromptu debates over a range of topics.
In my years of doing this, I've become more intentional. I'm more selective in who and what I engage with. There are pros and cons. Sometimes it strengthens friendships. Other times, I've been "de-friended" even though I was polite and made valid points. Regardless, my heart for contending for the truth and exposing lies (and there are many attacks on Christianity today) and reaching people with the Gospel compels me to minister through debating.
So here are some thoughts on debating that I think others will find helpful.
First, know that most people won't change their mind. People like proving they are right and typically in the medium of Facebook or comments on a news article on a news site, they get on the defensive.
Based on that, realize that unless you are dealing with someone that you or a friend knows (not a complete stranger), then the comments are more for your sake than theirs. Maybe you feel compelled to give them the truth, or help them to understand your viewpoint because it's been misrepresented. Regardless, if there is no relationship at all, you're effectiveness is for your benefit of learning how to articulate your views in a coherent way…
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