Thank you mickepe for the image – morguefile.com

A thanks to ricorocks for the image @ morguefile.com

“It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.”  –William G. McAdoo

What’s ignorance got to do with it?

It has to do with how we communicate and who we communicate with.  The problem with many political, religious, and (insert touchy subject) is that it descends into something that has no resemblance to intelligent discourse.

Reasons not to argue with the ignorant – defined here as those who think they know everything and are not interested in healthy debate (i.e. stupid?)

The Bible puts it this way:  “do not cast your pearls before swine.” (Matthew 7:6)

Phrases.com defines the meaning above as “Items of quality offered to those who aren’t cultured enough to appreciate them.” While that is one aspect, it also means not to argue with an idiot.  An ignorant person would be one who cannot defend his or her own position.  When one attempts to argue with them (the one’s who are not interested in learning) they do not appreciate your argument.  Instead, they try to argue you down by attacking your character, parentage, whatever they have to attack to win.

Of course, not all people are like this, but when you come across them, it is best to walk away, save your breath, and leave them to wallow in their ignorance.   This is not everyone who disagrees with you.  This is the person who cannot stand his own in a debate, so stoops to ‘distractors’ in order to win.

Even God has to put up with it!

In a recent study, I came across some good writing about questioning God.  It certainly helped this writer to a deeper understanding.  As we approach look at the Christmas story, we discover that Mary and Joseph both had many questions when they were visited by the angel of the Lord and told they were part of this wondrous miracle.  Mary certainly had fears, doubts and questions.  This is normal; we all have these things.  Joseph finds out his betrothed is pregnant and he knows it isn’t his.  Fear?  Questions? You bet!  Visited by an angel. Fear? Uh, yes!  I’m guessing being visited by an angel is not something that happens every day.

Mary and Joseph’s questions wondered about what God was doing and their part in it.  They did not jump straight into defaming God’s character.  God is a big God, and He can handle it when we have questions.  He made us.  He knows we have feet of clay; after all, He formed them.  He knows us intimately and understands our foibles.  However, when we attack His honor, His character, or His love, we have stepped over the line and become like the above described ignoramus.

Just because we don’t understand God and His plan for us does not mean we can argue with Him that

  • It’s all His fault.
  • He isn’t a good God or he wouldn’t allow all the pain in the world (caused by sin or our own bad choices by the way)
  • The world will come to an end if I don’t get things my way.
  • I’m right; God’s wrong.
  • Etcetera.

God allows things to come into your life (or not come into your life) for a reason and for your good in the long run.  Just as parents make children eat vegetables (good for them) and do not allow them to play in the street (not good for them), God sets boundaries for you and gives you what will make you:

  • See your need for Him.
  • Mature and develop character.
  • Fit for what He has called you to do.
  • Able to help others who go through similar pain.
  • Etcetera.

Back to the topic at hand

I am NOT saying that everyone who disagrees with you is an ignoramus. I am saying we need to discern between those who disagree with us but are willing to engage in honest debate and those who set out to win the argument, right or wrong, using whatever tactics work.  To engage in discussion with this person is truly to ‘cast your pearls before swine.’  Kindness goes a long way in a debate toward helping us ‘agree to disagree’ and yet remain in good accord.  Choose wisely those who are worthy of your pearls and those who are not.  A good clue:  if they are wallowing in the “mud”, you can bet they are not good candidates for pearls.  We all know or know of these people — many of them are politicians!

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”  –Aristotle

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