Disagreeing to Agree

At BCC we pride ourselves upon the quality of our unanimity and general agreement on topics. While the authors on other sites may bicker and argue with each other, here we…

[Christian posts about President Nelson]
Ah. Yes, I definitely had a bunch of problems with that one, especially the original version of it.

But the point is that we seek consensus and harmony among us, and are strengthened by a unified vision…

[Michael Austin posts about loving Trump supporters]
OK well that one I thought was problematic, because it implied that our political choices have no spiritual consequences.

Anyways, we discuss hard topics and we think carefully about difficult and complex issues, and in doing so we come to mutual understanding…

[Kevin posts some dating advice and is immediately and repeatedly skewered]
Yeesh. All right, I give up.

Some of the posts in the last couple of weeks have made me think about the dynamic of disagreeing with friends and loved ones. What does that dynamic look like? What are the spiritual implications of that disagreement? Do people disagree in heaven? You, dear reader, now have the benefit of reading my befuddled thoughts on the matter.

I don’t know whether there are arguments in heaven. Certainly there were arguments before the world was made — massive arguments, at that. But in the ideal state of Zion, aren’t we all of one heart and one mind? My guess is that we need to look at spiritual unity and harmony as perhaps distinct from being literally unanimous on everything. Unless we have some sort of consciousness transference ability which enables us to actually understand each other fully [1] (and perhaps even then), our differences of perception and experience would necessarily bring us to different conclusions, or at least different rationales. The unity of heaven in Mormonism is not the dissolution of identity, it is the unification of a multiplicity. Every earthly institution to date has had disagreements, even if final outcomes are decided via unanimity. Even the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has disagreements, though they by all reports act with great charity towards each other and make their decisions unanimously. Now, I’m definitely willing to hold out for a miraculous transformation of human interaction in the afterlife. Who knows what it will be like! But if Joseph Smith is right and “that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy,” then maybe things won’t be as different in heaven as we might think.

More to the point: we will always have disagreements among us. Some of these are minor, some major. Jesus Christ went so far as to directly intervene in a few doctrinal arguments, including one of the first things he did while among the Nephites (3 Ne. 11:22-30). The apostles in the time of Christ, and the latter day apostles each argued amongst themselves. Jesus is right that contending with each other is of the devil, but there is a pretty fundamental difference between disagreeing and contending/disputing with each other: the Spirit leaves us when we contend. However, the Holy Ghost does not abandon people when they simply disagree; I believe the Spirit is present as we use disagreement and discussion to get to the truth of things. In fact, I believe that argument (i.e. logic, structured discussion, back-and-forth, etc.) is a key spiritual tool. When we lose the ability to argue and resort to anger, our judgment is clouded and I believe that’s when we stray.

So then, how are Saints supposed to argue? What’s the pattern we should employ? There are some obvious guiding principles here, but I don’t think there’s necessarily one particular method. The overarching principle, guided by the two great commandments, is to have charity for your interlocutor and to genuinely seek to understand the other person. Christ commands us to seek this empathy even with those who hate us and would destroy us, so at a minimum it seems like something we can practice with each other on a fairly insular Mormon blog site. But at the same time, that’s not a particularly granular commandment. What does loving each other look like when you disagree with someone? A few ideas:

  • It can be painful. I think of family members who voted for Donald Trump, or the guy in my ward who said things that hurt my family. There is real pain when the love and affection we have for each other contrasts with points of view we find unacceptable. Abandoning our affection for each other might diminish that pain, but to what end?
  • It can take longer. True argument takes a long time. Genuinely seeking understanding and walking through points of disagreement takes patience if it is to be done correctly.
    Dismissing each other or glibly mocking each other is really quick. But argument, logic and actual conversation is hard in part because of how the emotional response must be delayed or denied while resolution awaits.
  • It can change you. Thesis and antithesis lead to synthesis, right? Or, perhaps more likely, empathy and understanding lead to mutual respect and adjustment of positions. Also,
    further knowledge leads, hopefully, to changed perspectives. If we listen to each other, we learn and are changed. This happened to me in some ways after reading Christian’s post, for which I am grateful.
  • It might not solve everything. Man, I like to argue. But there are times when questions are unresolved, where positions cannot be readily reconciled and we remain separated from each other. I bet that happens about as often as we end up seeing eye-to-eye. That’s ok. The old marital advice of “never go to bed angry” is terrible advice. I don’t expect every disagreement to be resolved, certainly not immediately. We should expect that some disagreements will likely be intergenerational in nature, beyond our ability to resolve at all. What then? We go back to the overarching principle of loving each other as ourselves, and work to show that love by word and deed. Maybe God can work miracles. What else can we do, if we truly try to care about each other and want to make the community better?

I’m not some master of harmony or anything. My own internet behavior is frequently the opposite, where I’ve moderated comments or mocked people for saying stupid stuff. So I won’t pretend to have the moral high ground, or to say that I am beyond reproach. Initially, I began this post thinking of an apologia of sorts for the other recent posts I’ve read that were controversial or (to me) presented untenable arguments or difficult claims. BCC is not a monolith, you guys! But I don’t think that’s really charitable to pretend that there is no conflict. What I can say is that I love each of those people and am seeking to understand them. Maybe that’s the point of all of this.

 


[1] Maybe that’s exactly what the Holy Ghost does.

Comments

  1. Forgot to summarize and rephrase: “don’t be a jerk.”

  2. I frequently disagree and argue with myself. Maybe it’s possible that we can be of one mind, and also that that one mind contains multitudes.

  3. JKC, I really like that, and it meshes well with how I experience conflict and resolution. There really isn’t a binary, black and white solution to much of anything, if being unique children of God is accepted as a truism.

  4. Gives me a new way to think about the Holy Ghost bits from the Lectures on Faith.

  5. Tyler Lewis says:

    Great post! I agree! One thing that’s really helped me was reading Patrick Mason’s interpretation of doubt. His concept of a faith-promoting form of doubt has helped me immensely, particularly when conversing with my wife about doctrine or historical Church stuff I don’t quite understand. It gets tricky when I’m disagreeing or vocalizing my lack of understanding with someone else and they’re not exactly on the same page as me in terms of motive, but that’s not in my control so I don’t worry too much about it. I guess that’s where that whole disagreeing with charity thing you mentioned should come into play. I imagine if everyone’s doubt was faith-promoting and everyone’s disagreements were charitable then we’d be a lot closer to establishing Zion. Huh. That’s something to think about. Thanks Steve!

  6. I love you, Steve.

  7. Tyler Lewis says:

    I guess I should add that more often than not I’m still the one with the uncharitable / cynical motive – didn’t mean to sound arrogant – I’m definitely still far from mastering this Shiz (RIP), but I feel like I’ve made strides!

  8. “I have no need of a friend who changes places when I do and nods in agreement when I do; my shadow is better at that. I need a friend who helps me by telling the truth and having discrimination.”—Plutarch, Moralia

    In classical through Late-Medieval times, one of the standard instructional essays that teachers assigned was, “How do you distinguish between a flatterer and a friend.” Plutarch’s essay was sort of the gold standard for responses. The answer: flatterers agree with everything you say because the relationship they create is too shallow to withstand disagreement. Friends agree with you when they agree with you and disagree with you when they disagree with you because meaningful friendship has to involve enough trust to withstand disagreements, even about important things. We forget that sometimes.

  9. At the risk of invoking Pop Psychology, some years ago I read M. Scott Peck’s books (The Road Less Traveled and particularly The Different Drum). He became something of a community-building workshop guru, so let’s not get into the merits of that, but his three stages of community development have stuck with me, because they seem so applicable to what happens in our wards. (This is from memory, so apologies to Peck if I mis-characterize anything.)

    (1) Pseudocommunity. When you throw people together (like in a geographically determined ward) and tell them they are supposed to be a community, the first thing they do is try to be nice to each other. By avoiding or ignoring conflict, they give the appearance of a community but with no genuine unity. Most wards I’ve been in are permanently stuck in this stage.

    (2) Chaos. If kept together long enough, the veneer of niceness wears thin and people start to argue. The pseudocommunity falls apart and people say more of what they really think, but it’s not productive.

    (3) Community. With hard work, a group can get through the chaos and become a true community in which they can be vulnerable, differ, and disagree–even vigorously–with respect and love, and without offense or bad feelings. These wards are rare, but wonderful.

    An online “community” is much tougher, because we’re not a defined group, we’re not physically together, and we usually know little or nothing about each other beyond what might be one post or many. Pseudocommunity happens sometimes, chaos happens a lot. I’ve only been connected with one online group that could be called a real community. Worse, the anonymity and the lack of face-to-face social cues often leads us to (intentionally or not) sow chaos or hit-and-run on some idea that pushes our buttons.

    Here’s where the Brilliant Solution paragraph goes, right? Sorry, I have no wisdom to provide. I think this particular group does a good job of disagreeing respectfully, and that disagreement sometimes changes minds (probably more often than the examples that get posted). But building it truly into the community that “master of harmony” Steve suggests is not trivial!

  10. Mike, then I am _definitely_ your friend.

  11. Listening, I am finding, is such an important and not commonly used skill. We already know our position on a topic, and are quick to point out why we are right, rather than listening to the concerns of others. We may still think we are right, but at least we know more about why someone else may feel differently. We are too quick to spend our listening time thinking of retorts and counterarguments rather than in trying to understand and have empathy with others.

    Also, and I say this cautiously, the hierarchical nature of the LDS Church with its emphasis on recognizing authority, can lead us to not listen as well as we could in church situations. I’ve sat in ward council meetings where the discussion tended towards a lecture on the part of the bishop on what needed to be done, and not much on listening for feedback and disagreement. I know I have been an instigator of that myself in church leadership positions. I also know that in some of those leadership positions, I was far from the most informed person in the room, and learned a lot by listening. But perhaps not enough.

  12. James Stone says:

    It’s interesting to note how the Quorum of the 12 run meetings and settle disagreements. Lessons to be learned when we disagree with family and friends? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8tccvnKEy0

  13. that’s a great comment, Abbey. I’m in a ward like that and it’s pretty great. And there’s a layer of BCC (and online Mormonism generally) that certainly fits that description too.

  14. I’m of the opinion that there is only so much difference in views that people can tolerate. I don’t mind when someone disagrees on relatively minor details. For instance, I support NAFTA, but if someone came to me giving reasons why not to support NAFTA, I could listen and value them as a person, and also value their viewpoints. But let’s suppose a friend revealed to me that they knew, just knew, that Obama was not born in the US. I would find that view so upsetting that it would make it so I could no longer be friends with that person. I suppose I could try to correct their view and tell them that this was a baseless conspiracy theory, but their revealing that to me would seriously devalue them in my eyes. I could never see them the same. I have a brother who believes in a large number of conspiracy theories. I’ll be honest. I look down on him with contempt. If he ever goes off on conspiracy theories, I smile, nod, and try to change the subject. It is embarrassing. I see him as living in an alternate reality. I maintain a relationship with him only because he is my brother. But I would completely extricate himself from my life. The impulse to express extreme ridicule, contempt, and even anger towards not just his views, but him for actually believing such nonsense, is overwhelming somethings. Yet I have always resisted and attempted to treat him kindly.

    Unfortunately, he is not the only one who has a firm belief in conspiracy theories. A large number of people in the US, and worldwide, believe them and many, too many, simply cannot be told otherwise. They get extremely offended upon the slightest hint that they are delusional and make claims for which they have no evidence.

    Some people hold political and religious views which I simply cannot stomach and cause me to look down on them with contempt. Am I wrong in feeling this way? I don’t know. For I sense that the conspiracy theorists also look at me as naive for not agreeing with them.

  15. I’m of the opinion that there is only so much difference in views that people can tolerate. I don’t mind when someone disagrees on relatively minor details. For instance, I support NAFTA, but if someone came to me giving reasons why not to support NAFTA, I could listen and value them as a person, and also value their viewpoints. But let’s suppose a friend revealed to me that they knew, just knew, that Obama was not born in the US. I would find that view so upsetting that it would make it so I could no longer be friends with that person. I suppose I could try to correct their view and tell them that this was a baseless conspiracy theory, but their revealing that to me would seriously devalue them in my eyes. I could never see them the same. I have a brother who believes in a large number of conspiracy theories. I’ll be honest. I look down on him with contempt. If he ever goes off on conspiracy theories, I smile, nod, and try to change the subject. It is embarrassing. I see him as living in an alternate reality. I maintain a relationship with him only because he is my brother. But I would completely extricate himself from my life. The impulse to express extreme ridicule, contempt, and even anger towards not just his views, but him for actually believing such nonsense, is overwhelming somethings. Yet I have always resisted and attempted to treat him kindly.

    Unfortunately, he is not the only one who has a firm belief in conspiracy theories. A large number of people in the US, and worldwide, believe them and many, too many, simply cannot be told otherwise. They get extremely offended upon the slightest hint that they are delusional and make claims for which they have no evidence.

    Some people hold political and religious views which I simply cannot stomach and cause me to look down on them with contempt. Am I wrong in feeling this way? I don’t know. For I sense that the conspiracy theorists also look at me as naive for not agreeing with them.

  16. I can honestly say that arguing with people online has changed me for the better. Shocking, right?

  17. I disagree. :P

    In particular, if a disagreement is painful enough, I’m not sure we are required to just keep suffering from it. At some point it may be better to rip the bandaid off and part ways because knowing the person isn’t healthy. Worse, I would recommend (on the very rare occasion) writing someone off entirely. For instance, I once knew someone who did something unspeakable. I wasn’t the target of their casual cruelty, but I just could not cope with it. There is only so much that listening and talking can do. And the worst part is, I’m not sure I can love them, and I’m not sure I should. If I were to accept that unspeakable cruelty as part of what it is to be human, I don’t think I’d be long for this world. Rather reject the notion, keep them safe behind bars, keep the idea of their humanity barred up. It goes against everything I would normally agree with, but there are extreme situations, and desperate times call for desperate measures. If that kind of behavior and thought is part of what it is to be human, count me out. The horror, the horror, the horror. You can sit and judge me from afar. It just means it has not happened to you. To your children. I would have agreed with you almost all my life, and sagely shook my head and looked down on those who disagreed, and pitied them, and felt superior, but only in the last few years would I say: perhaps humans have this quirk to abandon each other too easily because there are some situations in which it confers a real survival benefit.

  18. Great post. I find that the more polarized we become politically, the more weary I’ve become of listening. I know I should work on it, but it feels like a chore right now, like going to the gym if I knew that the gym was going to be full of Trump supporters.

  19. 1. Having been around these parts for awhile, I think BCC is top-of-heap (which may mean the bar is low, admittedly) in handling conflict and difficult polarizing subjects. Maybe that’s *because* of these soul-searching kinds of posts, but don’t beat yourself too hard.
    2. One characteristic of online “communities” is that it’s very easy to walk away. I’ve taken advantage of that fact more than once. Here and elsewhere. A measure of friendship therefore (in addition to Michael Austin/Plutarch’s) is willingness to stay engaged. Or for myself, willingness to return.
    3. I think you had it right the first time. The conclusion is not “don’t be a jerk.” The conclusion is “I love each of those people and am seeking to understand them.” May I say, me too.

  20. Christian, I like your view. “Don’t be a jerk” is pragmatic shorthand.

  21. I’m an avid BCC reader, but for many good reasons (like not being as knowledgeable, well read, or as articulate as you regulars) only post the occasional comment. But here goes:
    Abbey: “I think this particular group does a good job of disagreeing respectfully… but building it truly into the community that “master of harmony” Steve suggests is not trivial.”
    I appreciate the thoughts you shared on Community, especially that achieving true community per the definition you shared is a significant understaking. Maybe one thing that keeps us from that feeling of Community (in any community, not just BCC) are the remarks we make that distance others. There is a certain sensitivity at BCC for people of other faiths, sexual orientation, etc., but I have to say “other-izing” people for differences of political opinion often seems to go unchallenged.

    Mark C: “but let’s suppose a friend revealed to me that they knew, just knew, that Obama was not born in the US. I would find that view so upsetting that it would make it so I could no longer be friends with that person…”

    Maybe by “being a friend” you mean something much more committed than I do, but it seems to me that “being a friend” is of great value in even casual ways – needing a ride in a pinch, expressing sympathy for hard times, friendly nods and chit chat in passing – being a good neighbor kind of stuff. And the scriptures are pretty clear about who we should define as a neighbor. FYI, I have no doubt Obama was born in America. But why toss aside Christian brotherhood when the error (as you or I see it) doesn’t really make much difference?

    Again Mark C.: “Some people hold political and religious views which I simply cannot stomach and cause me to look down on them with contempt. Am I wrong in feeling this way?”

    Yes, you are wrong.

    Angela C: “I know I should work on it, but it feels like a chore right now, like going to the gym if I knew that the gym was going to be full of Trump supporters.”

    It’s not unusual for BCC posts to mention “Trump supporters” as examples of the most extreme kind of “other.” I, and many others who voted for Trump, are well aware of his many flaws, don’t agree with everything he says/does, and wish there had been better choices on both sides of that election. However, being cast as a homogenous group of bumpkins that don’t have a clue, or members of some sort of Trump groupie-cult certainly makes me feel like an outsider in the BCC world. Sure, you might think we deserve it. But if you substituted “a gym full of gays” in the previous post, no one would have stood for it. And rightfully so.

    Maybe if everyone could avoid taking cheap shots (in any direction) it would do a lot to further the sense of community at BCC that everyone seems to desire. There are numerous great examples of BCC writers expressing sincere support, appreciation, and empathy for those that are going through things outside their realm of personal experience and understanding. But please be aware that remarks like those above can be very off-putting for those like me who would very much like to be a part of the community, but don’t feel very confident about our ability to do so. Thanks for listening.

  22. Great post.

  23. John Mansfield says:

    “Maybe if everyone could avoid taking cheap shots (in any direction) it would do a lot to further the sense of community at BCC that everyone seems to desire.”

    Or maybe it wouldn’t. BCC has always defined itself as some kind of refuge from mainstream Mormonism. The “Go team!” cheap shots further the community’s identity, helping people find it and feel they are where they want to be.

  24. John, thank you for your own effort to further our community’s identity.

  25. FWIW, I don’t think as BCC as a refuge from mainstream Mormonism, but as an effort to build a space squarely within the mainstream that welcomes those that might feel they aren’t welcome there. I don’t think that’s just a semantic difference, and I think it goes to the point of Steve’s post.

  26. Eileen369, thanks for your comment. I don’t believe anyone wants to be perceived as a monolith, and cheap shots are always cheap. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

    And yes to what JKC said above. We’re really trying to function within our faith as best we can, and make sure there is room on the bench next to us. We rise and fall in our attempts to do so, but we continue to do so because we believe, and we believe it’s worth it.

  27. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Steve, yours is not an easy job. Yet, you generally navigate the headaches with the appropriate level of compassion, authenticity, and snark. I’m grateful for the opportunity BCC affords me to extend my thinking, to appreciate the complexity of my faith, and to hear from others who see a testimony as a work in progress, rather than a settled argument. I don’t comment much (which is also consistent with IRL interactions), but always feel welcome to do so. Even the well-intentioned, but ill-conceived posts are productive. They’re opportunities to engage with an argument that forces me to reexamine the limitations of my own thoughts, and the inconsistencies of my beliefs. Disagreement need not be painful, unless one is so attached to their assumptions that they can’t bear to let them go. This community of authors and commenters allows me to continue to have discussions beyond the 3-hour block, which is important for someone who rarely interacts with other LDS folks during the week. Keep up the good work.

  28. Steve, thank you. JKC, I think you’re right on the money. IMO, if you can’t tell family or friends that they’re idiots but you love them anyway, who can you say it to?

  29. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, Steve. As a person who’s far more prone to glib fast answers that caricature people I disagree with, I particularly appreciate your bulleted points near the end. I need to keep things like that in mind more often.

  30. Eileen369: FWIW, I distinguish between Trump voters and those who still support him unreservedly. I’ve posted about that distinction here before. To me, that’s a different group of people.

  31. Eileen 369,

    What if you found out that your friend had extreme racist ideas like that lynching black people was justified. You wouldn’t look down on them in contempt? There could be no view that anyone could espouse that wouldn’t cause you to look down on them in contempt?

  32. I’ve been an frequent reader of BCC for the last year. My dad has been a reader for most of the blog’s life; he’s the one who introduced me to the bloggernacle. To be honest, I was afraid of the bloggernacle for a long time because I thought I might find “troubling” information about the church. What I found was a pretty amazing community of scholars, historians and individuals articulating their beliefs and viewpoints in a way that was new and exciting to me.

    “To be learned is good”, but at what expense? I often find myself asking this question a lot as I read articles critical of church practices and leaders. Not that I find the information damning or harmful to my faith personally, but the consumption of such information on a frequent basis can take its toll over time.

    I really like what Paul says in 1 Corinthian 9: 22-25 in regards to his mission to preach the gospel.

    And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

    When I focus too much on those problematic issues, I feel like I’m running a race for a corruptible crown. I can’t ignore them, but I also can’t ignore family, friends, my job and other responsibilities. So Paul’s admonition to be “temperate in all things” as I “striveth for the mastery” is especially helpful in this light.

    That works for me and going forward, I will make a conscience choice not to dwell on articles that have an overly negative tone. That may change in the future, but for now, I don’t find much utility actively confronting negativity in a scenario where I can chose whether not to engage it. Some might accuse me of putting blinders on, and that’s fair, but from a practical standpoint, it’s not sustainable and not necessary for my faith.

    I appreciate all who contribute to this blog, especially those who expose some very vulnerable aspects of their beliefs and themselves. Keep the posts coming, but be aware that I may not be your audience every day.

  33. I’ve been an frequent reader of BCC for the last year. My dad has been a reader for most of the blog’s life; he’s the one who introduced me to the bloggernacle. To be honest, I was afraid of the bloggernacle for a long time because I thought I might find “troubling” information about the church. What I found was a pretty amazing community of scholars, historians and individuals articulating their beliefs and viewpoints in a way that was new and exciting to me.

    “To be learned is good”, but at what expense? I often find myself asking this question as I read articles critical of church practices and leaders. Not that I find the information damning or harmful to my faith personally, but the consumption of such information on a frequent basis can take its toll .
    I really like what Paul says in 1 Corinthian 9: 22-25 in regards to his mission to preach the gospel.

    “And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”

    When I focus too much on those problematic issues, I feel like I’m running a race for a corruptible crown. I can’t ignore them, but I also can’t ignore family, friends, my job and other responsibilities. So Paul’s admonition to be “temperate in all things” as I “striveth for the mastery” is especially helpful in this light.

    That works for me and going forward, I will make a conscience choice not to dwell on articles that have an overly negative tone. That may change in the future, but for now, I don’t find much utility actively confronting negativity in a scenario where I can chose whether not to engage it. Some might accuse me of putting blinders on, and that’s fair, but from a practical standpoint, it’s not sustainable and not necessary for my faith.

    I appreciate all who contribute to this blog, especially those who expose some very vulnerable aspects of their beliefs and themselves. Keep the posts coming, but be aware that I may not be your audience every day.

  34. Thanks Luke.

  35. I’m curious, Angela C. How do you distinguish between someone who voted for Trump because of his political views and someone who still supports him unreservedly? I’m not attempting to be snide. I sincerely want to know. I’ve often felt as eileen369: like an outsider.

  36. Aussie Mormon says:

    Tina, I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not AngelaC (obviously), and being Australian (also somewhat obviously) I didn’t (and couldn’t) vote for anyone in the 2016 US Federal Election, and doubt I would have voted for either major candidate if I could. So this is just the opinion of a single, straight, white, Australian male.

    The fact that a majority of white women voted for Trump, AFTER he made the the “grab their pussy” comment, shows that there is much more to peoples voting mindset than their personal beliefs.
    There would likely be many Trump voters who were actually “anyone except Clinton” voters, rather than “Trump is a fake tanned bastion of family values that will save the country” voters.

    Exit polls showed that 41% of women and 52% of men voted for trump overall.
    He now has a 32% approval rating for women and around 46% for men. Clearly there are voters who supported him at the time, but don’t support him now.
    I would also expect there are large numbers that support his policies on religious freedoms, but not his policies on immigration.

    I expect that these are part of the distinction that Angela makes.

  37. “What if you found out that your friend had extreme racist ideas like that lynching black people was justified. You wouldn’t look down on them in contempt? There could be no view that anyone could espouse that wouldn’t cause you to look down on them in contempt?”

    MarkC –I certainly do feel that certain ideas and philosophies are contemptible. However, when I’ve felt contempt toward an individual it’s always been from a distance. Maybe that’s because I’ve never personally known a truly contemptible person. Or maybe it’s because being up close you can see the good as well as the bad. In any case, I don’t embrace nor feed contempt toward people. I see it as something for which I should repent, since Christ bids all to come unto Him and He reserves judgment to Himself.

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