Should Christians Never Argue?
by Lenny Esposito
As Christians we seek to spread the truth of the Gospel to a lost and dying world. However, as our culture continues to lose its Christian underpinnings, many people are finding that communicating that Gospel isn’t quite as easy as it used to be. Previously, most people on the west would have more or less a shared set of beliefs about how the world works, a common worldview based on Judeo-Christian principles. Today, though, that isn’t necessarily true. Moral relativism and materialistic views have replaced much of the previous beliefs that grounds one’s understanding of who we are and how we should behave.
So, Christians need to understand that now part of sharing the gospel entails changing beliefs. As I’ve written before, there are two basic ways I can think of to change a person’s beliefs: either provide new information to that person or show how the beliefs one currently holds are contradictory. It requires input of some kind so that people will begin to think a little bit differently, to reassess or reevaluate what they actually hold to be true.
Engaging Others to Change Beliefs
There are at least four ways all people have engaged one another, but not all of them are effective in helping a person change their beliefs. The first one is pretty easy, it’s simply discussion. Discussions by themselves can be about anything, what the weather is like, what you did over the weekend, or even what your favorite food is. Discussions are usually non-confrontational and they allow you to connect with the other person. They are friendly and casual. However, they don’t necessarily push towards any kind of conclusion.
Sometimes, simple conversations can reveal conflicts or strong opinions on a belief, and people can find themselves in a disagreement. Sometimes we disagree with one other, but just having a disagreement doesn’t necessarily provide knowledge. “He thinks tapioca pudding is the greatest dessert on earth and I think it’s fish eggs and glue. We have a disagreement.” Simply disagreeing with someone shows that your beliefs on some matter diverge, but disagreements themselves don’t seek to come to a conclusion. No one gains in knowledge simply because they recognize that they disagree with one another.
Many times disagreements devolve into fights. Unfortunately, this is the way many disagreements end up when someone seeks to change another’s beliefs. People take offense that their beliefs are challenged and they strike back at the other person. Fights usually generate much more heat than light. People attack one another personally, and emotions rule over reason. Little if any real knowledge is exchanged, and what has is usually tainted by the person’s hurt feelings and desire to protect him or herself…
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