The ability to talk to each other, trying to understand where someone’s argument comes from, and actively looking for the best case the opposite view can throw at you, is my idea of fun and learning from constructive criticism. If I am wrong, or have left something out I would rather be corrected, or commented on. Perhaps I need to be clearer in my views, or even rethink them.
Free speech is that you never know what you may need to hear. Filters that others put in place for your own good are easily subverted to control the flow of information. We must be on our guard, and acknowledge that debating in the light of day disinfects what can grow in the darkness of the underground unchallenged.
When on ministry for the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a child I was on the door step with an Elder (who led the local bible study group I attended). The lady that answered the door wanted to discuss blood transfusions but all the elder wanted to do was give her a little pamphlet on the promise of a paradise earth. I felt moved to answer her question (which gives me shivers now).
My answer was that the bible mentions not to digest blood. That medical reasons suggest blood is not always the best option (even the pope got sick having one after being shot) and the bible asks us to have faith even if it means our death. We have confidence in the promise that saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when put into a burning furnace honouring only the true God, and the salvation through Jesus that should we die that will not be the end of us. She was moved and willingly took the magazine booklet about blood transfusions.
Whilst noting that booklet on my ministry report card, I was berated by the Elder. Did I not think he knew best, about planting a small seed that may bloom into salvation rather than my deluge of information that could flood away any hope of salvation? This tirade went on for five minutes, and only ended when I replied I was moved by the Holy Spirit to answer her question that she may see it was love for God that would make me willing to die and not the words of man.
I remember going home after ministry to my bed in tears. Looking back on it, I realise that he was right. Too much information may stop someone joining the faith, and answering questions should be about making someone want to join, not giving information as a witness for Jehovah. Yep, I guess the term Jehovah’s Witnesses led me astray. I thought the truth would set you free, rather than we must get membership numbers up.
Vowed to myself then and there that as much as I could, would give what I know and in the best ways I know how when circumstances are appropriate. Perhaps some may consider it showing off, that I am belittling their experience or knowledge. Misconstrue what my purpose is in doing so, even actively taking out of context what I am trying to say.
Which is that discourse, the sharing of information and knowledge is the best way of developing human thought and keeping our inquiry honest. This applies to those you count as with or against you.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog