We have been talking about controversial topics all week and how to address them. If you are friends with me on Facebook, you might notice a rule I try to live by. I very rarely comment on someone else’s controversial post. If somebody posts an article that says that socialism is the only way to save our economy, I won't agree with that, but I will probably not comment on that article. You might of course wonder why I do that.
You will also notice if you are friends with me on Facebook that I post a lot of articles that either I have written or I found interesting. I have a nice collection of GK Chesterton quotes I have posted as well. If you ever post on any of my content, I tend to respond to you probably for a frustratingly long time. Again, you might wonder why I do this. What makes one situation different than the other?
I would rather promote something good than tear down something bad. I think that by promoting something good, the bad naturally appears to be inferior. Think about it this way. If you have two pieces of fruit, you can talk about how bad one of them is, but the best way to demonstrate that one is bad is by showing people something better. They are always going to choose the good apple over the bad apple because it simply is better. Common sense would dictate that things that are superior are more appealing than those that are inferior.
When I share articles that I find to be good, I am sharing them because they are better than other articles that are not so good. I will defend their goodness because it is possible for people to misinterpret that which is good and somehow twist it into something that is bad.
I do have faith that some people will see the light. I have faith that people will understand when they are in the presence of something better than they already have.
Some people are never going to change their minds, but I am similarly not going to change their mind by arguing with them all day and tearing down what they believe. If all I do is tear down and do not provide a better option to replace it, all I have done is abandoned that person in some kind of limbo. That certainly is not ideal because they still have no idea what is true, and maybe they don’t believe in a bad idea, but they are believing in nothing which is not really any better.
I think this is a good perspective to talk about controversial ideas then. We defend and promote that which is good, and maybe if we spend more time doing that rather than just tearing down that which is bad, people are naturally going to realize that there is a better way. During that process, they may ask why a certain perspective is bad, and at that point, they are ready to have a conversation. We can talk about controversial things at that point because they are open and willing. I think about these the best approach to take with controversial topics.