I think one of the most futile things in the world is an argument. In the instant world we live in, people seem to make arguments out of anything these days. People seem to go online with a want to argue with people or the want to try and start an argument.
If you seriously care about educating someone or changing someone’s opinion I think having an argument is one of the least effective ways of making a difference. If someone thinks they are right and you try and argue with them, all that it is more than likely to do, is get their back up even more and for that person to dig their heels in further. The problem with the internet these days is that you can literally find something to back up any argument and then you wait and watch, when you argue with someone online, for them to come running back with some links they have found.
Arguing only leads to break downs in relationships and makes it even harder for you to get your point across to the person you are arguing with, as they are less likely to listen to you. Remember what you say only matters, if the person you want to listen is listening.
Nobody wants to look stupid or be embarrassed. No one likes to get things wrong or be ganged up upon. This is why so many of us are afraid to lose arguments. Taking that step of admitting defeat or being wrong is a step too far for many people, because instead of treating it as learning or being better informed they can’t get past the not wanting to be seen to be wrong.
When trying to challenge someone’s views or change their opinions I would always advise of doing this out of the public sphere. You are more likely to be effective in person, talking to someone one-on-one and someone is more likely to listen to you, as they don’t have the worry of other people watching or getting involved, like you have online.
When you are arguing with someone, even if they keep coming back at you, the person might be being affected by what you are saying but they will never admit it and you will never know, these are more reasons why I think arguing is futile. The dangerous thing with arguments is that sometimes the smallest disagreement can lead to the biggest argument and the argument then grows so big that you lose perspective, on how it started and what you are arguing for.
This is why I dislike it when I see people out and about whilst on a high street on a busy shopping day who are from churches and ministries (or more often one man mission) who are handing out leaflets and telling people they are going to hell or that they need to repent. The reason I hate it is, more often that not all that approach starts is an argument. If arguing with people worked, every church would be doing it and everyone would be a Christian.
Instead of rushing to an argument when someone says something you disagree with, why not take a moment and ask yourself why you think that person thinks the way they do. Try and understand the person’s past, because normally there are clues there and then try and work out what is the best way to engage with them. Timing is also key, as when someone is feeling emotional about a topic its probably not the best time to bring it up with them.
I’m not saying avoid the hard topics and the hard conversations as I think these are the most important ones to have. There are so many views in this world that need to be challenged, but challenged doesn’t mean argued. To me the more you have to argue the less strong your point is, as it is normally the views that don’t need an argument to back them up that are the best.
An important thing to do is not to take everything on your shoulders; it is not your job in life to change everyone’s viewpoints. You have to be wise and know when someone else might have a better chance than you of changing someone’s mind and leave it to them.
Just remember if you show someone you love them they will be more likely listen to you.