When thinking about controversial topics, I think a lot of us are afraid of confrontation. However, I’ve noticed something fascinating about that tendency at least in myself. I’m not afraid of confrontation when I know what I’m talking about. I’m not afraid of talking about controversial topics I know something about because I have reasons for why I believe what I believe, and I know them well enough that I’m able to talk about them.
Therefore, as we are thinking about how to discuss controversial topics this week and how to communicate them in a society that isn’t always friendly to the Christian worldview, let’s consider what I said above from another person’s perspective.
Therefore, I know that the rule of battle is often times to attack the enemy at their weakest point, but the conversation is not a battle. The conversation is rather the pursuit of knowledge as each side advances propositions that are tested and, ultimately, the best idea should win the day.
Therefore, I think if we want to discuss controversial ideas with other people, we need to let the other people choose the topic. They are going to talk if they feel comfortable, and we can have that conversation that we want to have.
Here’s the thing though. Whoever I’m talking to might be really comfortable talking about the death penalty for example, and I might not know very much about the death penalty. Because of our human tendency to want to talk about what we know, we will be uncomfortable going to someone else’s strong area, and we might feel like we are setting ourselves up to be picked apart by someone who is much more knowledgeable than we are.
The thing is, however, that ignorance is a choice. I don’t need to be ignorant about the death penalty, but I might not put in the effort to learn very much about the death penalty. That’s on me, and that is not the fault of the person I’m talking to. If they want to talk about something controversial, it is most likely going to begin at a point where that person feels comfortable.
I believe that the Christian worldview provides answers, and I don’t think we need to be afraid of any conversation. I might not know everything, and you might not know everything, but I do believe that the answers are out there, and we can do our homework and find them.
I have written about this on this website before, but if my target is to become the type of person who is able to have discussions about controversial topics with other people, I can’t always be the quarterback. I cannot orchestrate every conversation to only be about topics I am comfortable with. Rather, I need to be willing to talk about what people want to talk about.
If I am willing to listen to other people and play on the field of their choosing, that will begin building a relationship and a level of respect that is necessary for us to again break down the walls that people throw up so quickly. Then, eventually, they might be willing to talk about things that I want to talk about as well, and there will be no limits or boundaries to the conversation which is ideally where we want to be.