By Anjulie Van Sickle
As I watch and listen to the young lady holding her Bible, screaming at the top of her lungs about fire, brimstone and hell, I am rather ashamed. I’m ashamed because I, too, profess the same faith as she does. But unlike her, I am not as hot-tempered.
As she preached, more people came to observe. One person in particular did not like what she said or how she presented her views. They started arguing, getting in each other’s face.
There was no winner in this shouting match. If anything, both the speaker and the audience member were even more turned off by each other’s beliefs.
I am not in any way passive, but I still believe in having level-headed conversations with people.
When advocating a cause, it’s essential to listen to the other party’s viewpoints and not just simply talk. If the other person is expected to listen, you have to listen, too. It’s a two-way street.
Listening is even more important than speaking. When a person listens to you, you feel important. You feel as if they really are seeing you as a person who has a brain, who has ideas, and not just someone they believe is completely wrong because they don’t agree with you.
Also, if you want to have an intelligent conversation with someone, it will not be accomplished by shoving your beliefs down their throats.
The entire point of a debate is to exchange opinions. If this process is anything other than civil, then a negative light is going to be cast upon both parties’ claims.
Of course, that’s not saying you should back down from your own beliefs. Stay firmly grounded. However, there still needs to be a level of civility involved. Respect must be given in order for it to be received.
Take a second and listen to something other than the sound of your own voice.