If I don’t agree with you it doesn’t make me an idiot! It also doesn’t make me wrong, ignorant, uninformed, misinformed, lazy, lacking factual information or even lacking a brain.
Recent events have made me think of why I started this blog in the first place. It was to honour my father who passed away. He used to say, “Opinions are like assholes; everybody’s got one!” He liked to debate people, mainly about the Bible and how to interpret it, but he also understood that his was not the only opinion that existed in the world and so not everyone would agree with him. Of course that didn’t stop him from trying to sway the opinion of others who did disagree with him. I didn’t always like how he went about it. While I appreciated that he was well informed and fought for what he believed in, I felt that he had a very aggressive debate style. However, I don’t ever remember him name-calling when the person didn’t cave in and agree with him.
I like to hope that most people can understand that everyone of us is entitled to our own opinions and that we won’t always agree with one other and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Of course, that hasn’t been my experience over the course of my lifetime. At many different times in my life when I have disagreed with someone, I have been met with name calling and what I like to refer to as thought-bullying. I have been called an idiot, stupid, misinformed and ignorant after which the person will then yell what they deem as their evidence at me and then impatiently insist that I respond to ‘the facts’ they have presented. Inevitably when I do respond and it’s not an immediate acquiescence of my former belief or opinion, I am again met with vitriolic rebukes.
When I have pushed back against these types of rebukes I have often met with more name calling and the accusation that I’m the one with a closed mind, who has never met a fact in my life that I agreed with and that I must therefore be very uninformed and ignorant. When I am met with a person who disagrees with my opinion by yelling at me or saying that it’s people like me who are refusing to have an open mind or actual debate about reality and what reality really looks like then I have to wonder if true debate is really what they are seeking. In my experience, there is no true or real debate to be had with someone who yells ‘THE TRUTH’ at you like their opinion IS THE TRUTH. All that person has wanted in all the times I have met them is someone to tell them how right they really are.
I may not always like it when someone disagrees with me, but I do my best to accept it. I can assure you that if I do engage with you in a debate about a subject that I will indeed do my best to listen to everything you are saying to me, consider it thoughtfully and weigh it against my own experiences and the facts I know at the time. I may even sleep on it to ensure that I’ve not minimized my own opinion, your opinion or devalued what you or I have said. Sometimes, I check in with someone I trust to get their feedback on my own rationale and reasoning. After all that I may change my mind, but sometimes even after listening to everything that has been said, sleeping on it and thinking about it long and hard, I may still disagree with you. That does not make me a close-minded, misinformed idiot. Choosing to call me any or all of those names for disagreeing with you says more about who you are as a person or as someone insisting that you are seeking true debate than it ever will about me.