How to win debates as a Christian?
Here are seven pieces of advice to come out well in a debate, without hiding your Christian conviction, or loosing your head in the heat of the discussion.
We are living in a world where everybody has their own convictions that they do not want to give up while in discussion with other people. We can feel misunderstood or even try to force other people to accept our opinion. We may hurt each other, ignore each other or even shout at each other. But what can a Christian person do in these situations? How can we express our opinion without forgetting the greatest commandment of God: “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:31)?
Here you are seven pieces of advice that might help you to behave as a good Christian in the most heated discussions.
Do not despise anyone
While reading the documents of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, we might be surprised to find that it firmly denounces racism or discrimination. We should do likewise by not condemning anyone at first sight.
Win souls, not arguments
Remember that Saint Paul said: “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ.”
He would have done anything to bring his audience closer to Christ. He was open to hear everyone and to bring the people around to his point of view. This was not because he wanted to appear smarter than others; rather, he wanted them to find God.
Get out of your bubble
It is very sad that in these modern days we are closing ourselves in with the media that represent our own opinion and convictions; we do not want to understand the other side.
A wise politician in the United States said; “read your allies with critical eyes, read your opponents open-minded”.
When you do so, you will realise that your “enemies” are not really against you, and there are weak points also in your own convictions.
Admit when you are wrong
Ironically, you cannot win a debate without admitting that you were wrong. No one will believe you if they see that you are afraid of being wrong.
We have to learn to accept and admit if we are wrong, even if we are in a leadership position. Teachers have to learn to apologise to students, and parents also have to admit it, if their children are right.
Let your partner maintain their reputation
However, our opponents also have difficulty admitting that they were wrong. We have to be polite and give the opportunity to our partner to apologise. Despite humiliating him, after he admitted that we were right, let us help him to find the truth and understand our point of view.
Construct a positive dialogue
Do not talk about what you are against, but try to explain what you defend. It is essential to use our faith as an instrument to find the way to God, and not as a symbol of moral superiority.
Love your opponent
Love has a unique force to build confidence and demolish obstacles. The more you love your opponent, the more you have a chance to convince him. But do not pretend to love.
You always have the choice if you want to see the best or the worst characteristics of the other. The second choice leads to disparities and hate; meanwhile, the first brings unity and solution. Choose the first possibility. Choose the communication of love.
Source: Aleteia Portugal