procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

active listening

i was challenged yesterday by my (non-Christian) flatmate about Christians' inability to discuss.
he said that whenever Christians talk to him, there's never the sense of equal footing, that there is give and take, that they may be willing to concede their shortcomings in understanding and reasoning.

this really stumped me.

how do you discuss with someone you are convinced is wrong in a way that is open, without compromising yourself?

we want to say, "yeah, we listen, we're good listeners," but my flatmate just says, "no you're not, you're crap. you don't listen, you just want to convince me the whole time. and that's no discussion."

and at a certain point i have agree. there are things i won't compromise on. there are things that are so central to who i am as a person, that to compromise would negate who i am as a person; if i'm going to give ground on those things, there must be a pretty sound argument to do so.

but this still doesn't make for the 'open dialogue' my flatmate believes he will never get from a Christian.


Blogger Elsie said...

Does he just want Christians to realise or admit they don't know everything? Or they might be wrong about the whole Jesus thing?

3:27 pm  
Blogger psychodougie said...

that's probably part of it, he is very panentheist.

but in some ways it's a catch 22 thing, in that to enter into a legit discussion there needs to be compromise on things Christians don't feel able to compromise on.

how do you get around that? how are you real with someone yet true to what you truly believe?

have you come up against this before?

3:43 pm  
Blogger Elsie said...

Hmm...I'm not sure. It could be that no-one's been that honest with me in the past when I was more of a steamroller.

I have admitted to non-Christians that I don't know everything and I could be wrong about this whole Christianity thing...

Part of the "problem" is that our minds are made up about certain issues and we won't change on you've said before...

4:05 pm  
Blogger Apple said...

hmm.. I suppose that in knowing Christ we do become closed off because when you find a truth you hold on to it.

For me, when I wasn't yet a Christian it was easier for me to actively engage in a discussion about religion with other people who were non-religious because the information and dialogue that we have is fluid because we have not chosen where we would like to sit. Or even if we had chosen, eg. I believed in Science and was an Atheist, that didn't have much to do with the core of my character, my life, my person, my understanding of the meaning of life. Being Christian we cannot dissect our life from our belief when it has so much to do with each other. So I wouldn't lose too much sleep on this, and just trust God.

When you do not have an answer for something, it is easy to say this.. or to say that.. and nut out this idea or that concept as there is an infinite amount of plausible possibilities. But when you know the answer the search for it is no longer needed.

I would say that it is tough to listen to those who do not understand us because we no longer understand them. but we should try our hardest to love them and accept them no matter what they believe, because it is only through God's great mercy that any of us aknow Christ in the first place.

1:53 pm  

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