I have a friend who speaks with great authority on life. Not only is he a topnotch historian, but he’s lived a life rooted to reality, a life in which he’s demonstrated great generosity of spirit.
He wrote recently to me about what he considers to be the acid test of a person’s worth. As he put it:
“The older I get, the less I care about someone’s beliefs, faith, convictions, and conclusions. What MATTERS is how they treat me and mine!”
Yes. As I wrote back to him, “Show me how you act, and I’ll tell you what you believe.”
When I’m conversing with someone, I couldn’t care less if they’re conservative or liberal, libertarian or green, Catholic or atheist. Those are really just labels or categories that conceal as much as they reveal. What matters is how a person acts. Do they listen? If they disagree (and I enjoy a good verbal joust), do they do so with a certain sense of civility? Just a touch of humility, a sense that, though they may be almost certain that they’re right, they’re willing to reserve a chance, however small, that they’re wrong?
Put differently, go ahead and tell me why you’re right and I’m wrong, without all the self-righteousness, and without wronging me in the process.
In a small way, I hope that’s what we’re up to here at The Contrary Perspective. Establishing a dialogue with people who may not share our specific beliefs, faith, convictions, and conclusions, and doing it in a way that treats our readers in a respectful way. A way that doesn’t wrong anyone even as we joust about what is right.
After all, the world would be a painfully boring place if we all agreed. Or if no one ever challenged us to examine (and re-examine) our beliefs.