We’ve all been there. We’ve all seen it. A nice and civil discussion is moving along and then it happens. Someone feels the need to shout a misguided, misquoted, and totally unnecessary religious reference. Supposed Christians throw out verses they haven’t heard since they were old enough to stop going to church and atheists lash out using verses they’ve never understood. Whether it’s the “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”, “You’ll go to hell if you have an abortion”, “Jesus never said being gay was bad”, or “Leviticus says so and so”, it always ends with a cringing silence and an avoidance of eye contact from everyone. It just kills the mood. I’m (as you can guess) very pro-civil discussion. Ethics, morality, legislation, it’s all fair game. I don’t totally blame the person with a loud mouth. It can be hard to know what the rules are if you never define the game that you’re playing in the first place. Don’t fret, beautiful people of Earth, because I believe I have constructed The 3 Great Concessions to guide and dictate any discussion. I believe that picking one of the three can easily clear the air and allow us to move forward with minimal hurt feelings and no casualties.
- Come One, Come All: So this is fairly simple. Anything is fair game as long as you can back it up. Atheists can feel free to point out what they believe to be a biblical contradiction, and if the other party can refute then it stands. It’s authoritative. However, if the other party fails to follow up with a concise response then that statement is nullified and another route must be chosen. If the atheist would like to bring up a point of science, then the other party is allowed to refute. If refutable, it is also nullified. This is fair. Secularists can’t have it both ways. They can’t use the Bible as a tool to poke holes in our arguments and also say that they would never consider a valid point if it were ever brought up anyway. God doesn’t hate people who have had an abortion solely based on that fact, and the Bible can prove that. So don’t be scared of faith, I believe it may make more sense than you like to think. Christians can’t refute every branch of science as some sort of evil against our faith. God made it all. Evolution is fake, and science can back that up. So don’t be scared of science, it will only ever prove the magnificence of God and His creations.
- An Eye For An Eye: This isn’t as violent or as painful as it sounds. This concession makes it’s money when both parties agree to just drop religion. Gasp! I know, just hear me out. I often find myself fending off punches thrown by people who oppose the Bible than I do actually answering real questions. It seems as if people just can’t get over the fact that I don’t think humans are the supreme rulers. So, to avoid wasting time trying to explain a book that you can’t possibly understand without the insight of the Holy Spirit, let’s just get to the nitty gritty. You see, while you might think I’m handcuffed because I can’t explicitly state verses from the Bible, I find that the Truth transcends excerpts and can be expressed in a multitude of ways. Opposition, however, might find it tricky to actually go toe-to-toe without having the “idiot Christian” card in their back pocket. This is similar to challenging Batman to a fight, but only allowing him to wear sweats. Sure, he doesn’t have his belt, but he still has a mastery of every form of martial arts. His is still fully capable of fending for himself.
- He Without Hypocrisy May Cast The First Stone: This is probably my favorite. It’s some pretty crafty rhetoric that can put an entire room in a choke hold. Almost inevitably, someone will call me out for being a Christian and proceed to note all of the hypocrisy they spot in either my life or the Word from which I derive my rules. I concede. You should too! Grant this concession with a huge smile and a twinkle in your eyes. You see, you aren’t deemed an idiot simply because you are a Christian, it’s because you are a hypocrite, therefore can’t be trusted. If one could find a Christian without a blemish of hypocrisy, then he or she is welcome to chime in. (Or maybe just kill him like the last one we had. It’s a lose-lose, really) Alas, that isn’t the case. Far from it, really. So admit that you are one. Revoke your right to opine based solely on your own ability to commit hypocrisy. Then, just point out the hypocrisy in everything else! Science, gone. Legislation, gone. Soon enough, the whole room is forced to sit in silence as every talking point has proven to be fallible at one point or another. It’s beautiful. Really.
Debating sucks because you are doing it wrong. It is way easier to have a civil discussion than you realize. Just pick a topic, pick a concession, then proceed! All of this senseless yelling just gets old after a while. I want to promote a culture where ideas are open to discussion. One where I can easily illustrate why abortion is evil, why rape doesn’t change the fact, or why gay marriage is just kinda queer. So opine, my good friends. The worst I can do is say, “I’ll take number 3”.