Oh No! A Disagreement!

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!

Laugh. πŸ™‚

That comic is funny, but it is also very true.

How many times do we get bent out of shape, and spend precious moments of our time (and every moment is precious), trying to convince someone just because they are wrong?

Think about it: there are over six and a half billion people on this planet. That is a lot. But that number pales to insignificance when you consider the amount of knowledge available in the universe. Every detail of every action of all time; every fact of every attribute of every event and every object that ever occurred or existed; every thought of every human in response to every stimulus in history.

That still blows me away.

When you consider the vastness of total knowledge, the amount you think you know becomes a tiny spot, indistinguishable in a lake of ink that spreads as far as the horizon.

And then when you look at what you know, with an honest mind, how much do you really know? How many times have you held something with absolute conviction, yet only to renounce it as complete foolishness a few short years later? Hopefully many, many times. There is very little we can be sure of. I won’t say, like many, that there is nothing that we can be sure of, which is foolishness. But the vast majority of our knowledge is on very shaky ground.

So when you couple these two considerations together, you must realize the self-evident fact that the huge, vast majority of people in the world are just simply wrong about almost everything, including yourself. (By the way, no one is wrong about everything: each person has a certain measure of absolute truth in their keeping.)

This is a humbling, and a daunting prospect. Only God is absolutely right, with absolute knowledge. And it is insufferable arrogance to assume that we are anywhere close to Him in that regard.

So what do we do when we find out that someone * gasp * is wrong?

Well most of the time we can simply pass on. We have other things to do. At least, hopefully we do. There are only a very few, very rare situations in which it is appropriate and helpful to address someone’s perceived error.

And even then, first make sure that you are really in disagreement. The vast, vast majority of perceived disagreements are just that, perceived. It is extremely easy to mistake someone’s point of view. And it is even easier to assume that they believe things that they really don’t: you might be in agreement on everything they say except for one small point.

Then, don’t attack. Being mistaken is never a sin in itself,Β even in matters of doctrine, and it is rarely very bad either. It can be dangerous, though, which should motivate us to be as kind and unselfish as possible in helping the other person.

And above all…

Don’t lose sleep over it. πŸ˜‰

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127 Responses

  1. This comment isn’t particularly deep, but I just wanted to say that the word usage you employed here made my day.

    “When you consider the vastness of total knowledge, the amount you think you know becomes a tiny spot, indistinguishable in a lake of ink that spreads as far as the horizon.”

    πŸ˜€

  2. Excellent thoughts, Jay. When it comes to “correcting” others, especially on the internet, people just need to chill. πŸ˜›

  3. I totally disagree! Just kidding…sort of.

    I would agree that I can tend to be too argumentative. I love debates and that is not always a good thing, but I’m not sure if we should just walk away when we see someone wrong on a matter of doctrine. Now, how we go about approaching them is a different matter. I think a lot of the times correcting someone over comments is not the best approach (like I am doing now).

    Question: where do you draw your conclusion from biblically?

  4. You’re right. However I’m new in this blog world and I find very powerful to be able to share even with people that you know think in a different way. Actually my last post talk about this. “The power of blogging”. Come by if you can, it would be nice to know what you think!
    elenasc.wordpress.com
    Thanks!

    • I read your post, and I think it sums up nicely the reason I started blogging in the first place. There is a lot you can get out of blogging, and a lot you can give with blogging, but the ‘high’ of getting noticed is definitely a draw. πŸ™‚

  5. I keep hearing the word ‘arrogance’ lately to describe our (American’s) attitudes toward … whatever we believe to be true. It really makes you stop and question why you believe what you believe.

    • Yes, there is a strong tendency to assume that because something is culturally normal, it is true or right. Researching about other cultures really opens your eyes to how much diversity there is in the world, and what your basis really needs to be on. We need to trust in something that is absolute, not transient. Thanks for the comment!

    • You kinda hit the nail ! – About American’s attitudes toward……Most Americans would do well to read the old classic of Dale Carnegie of How to Win Friends & Influence People, and learn about other cultures too. Then again, people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have set the greatest examples of charity in the history of mankind, but the US still requires some great PR to set perceptions right across the world.

    • Ah yes, that is one of my favorite books. Zig Ziglar and John Maxwell are also very important. I wish more people would read those.

  6. Oh dear. That stick figure in the comic could have been me as recently as last year. Fortunately, I’m coming to my senses…

    Great post. If more people thought like this, the Internet would be a more pleasant place all around.

  7. very succinctly put across! cheers!

  8. Great post! It is indeed overwhelming to thing about how much knowledge there is out there and how little we, humans, and me and everyone else in particular, really knows!
    I especially like the reminder that even what we think we know, is likely wrong. If we had to check the facts on all we’ve learned a lot would go down…
    Only point I disagree: “Only God is absolutely right, with absolute knowledge.” I think this is on the part of ‘knowing things’ we haven’t quite gotten yet… πŸ™‚

    • There are those who ascribe to the view that absolutely nothing is absolute… which is self-evidently a falsity. To declare the absolute vacuity of absolute truth is to declare your own foolishness. Therefore we can be confident of one thing at least: there are absolutes and absolute truths.

      And the only thing that can be absolutely absolute is an absolute God. Therefore we can be absolutely sure that there is an infinite God.

      A simple paraphrasing of an interesting and profitable line of philosophical thought for your musing. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the intelligent comment!

  9. Love it. Most people make things up, act as though the things they make up are real, then get upset when they see the things other people make up. I’d say it’s all hilarious, except this is why people go to war and/or commit atrocities against others. It’s the basis of religious or any other kind of intolerance. And it prevents us from moving forward to something better.

    • Refusing to learn is indeed the barrier of wisdom.

      “Proverbs 1:5-7 A wise [man] will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
      6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
      7 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

  10. I’ve always been known as someone who fights very passionately for what I believe in. Having said that, as I’ve gotten older (and maybe just the tiniest bit wiser) I have learned better to pick and choose my battles. I always ask myself “Will engaging in this discussion add anything positive to my life, or will it just upset me with no resolution?” I’ve had to learn that sometimes people say things with no other purpose than to upset you- and those conversations I steer clear of. Also, mostly I steer clear of looking on the internet for people who disagree with me because there is just something masochistic in that. Great post! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    • Ah yes, my father has spent an exorbitant amount of energy drilling into my stupid little head that concept. He always says that there are billions and billions of things to do in this world that are good and profitable. We can’t even begin to do a small part of them. So we need to pick our battles and prioritize what we do. And we definitely don’t have time to spend on wasteful and hurtful things like attacking people because they disagree with you.

      Thank you for the insightful and encouraging comment!

  11. Great post! I wrote on a similar topic and called it “I’m Mad So I’m Gonna Yell at You! Lol!

    I think there would be a lot more understanding in the world if people would remember this before they typed up a reply to tweets, blogs, articles and such.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    • Thinking before you speak (or type or tweet or share or comment, as you said) is indeed a strong mark of maturity. As such, it takes a lot to really learn it. I have a long, long way to go on that score.

      I am very surprised and honored by it. Thank you for commenting!

  12. Oh the comic certainly made me giggle. It is rather mind-blowing when you consider the amount of knowledge that exists…existed…is going to exist over the course of this earth’s lifetime. Too bad so many of us waste that knowledge arguing on the internet. πŸ˜‰

  13. Very impressive, Sir Emeth. πŸ˜€

  14. Love this!
    Others point out I think I know it all, but I know I don’t know it all, and don’t really wish to know it all since the fun part is learning.
    I hate it when someone tells me “you think you know it all but you don’t” I answer them “does that mean YOU know it all?”
    I give out my opinion to easily, does that make me someone who thinks she knows it all?
    Haha, all of these I often think about, trust me, it gets even more confusing.
    Great post!

    • Those are really good questions. I have been wrongly accused of being arrogant and condescending merely because of my advanced vocabulary, and other times I have been rightly accused of the very same things due to my attitude towards others, using ‘regular’ verbiage.

      The thing is to be sure that you are right before God, by yielding to His Word and Holy Spirit. Then seek to show His presence to those around you. If they get offended and attack you because of your humility and righteousness, you can ignore it. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for the comment! Again, good questions. πŸ™‚

  15. My friend always told me – win the person, not the argument. I find that really helpful to think about if many situations.

  16. Love that pic. Just used it on the post I put up this past Monday myself.

  17. Really liked the point in this, but then how can you know that God is all knowing? Just, thought the article would have been better kept to the first point..

    • The attribute of omniscience is inseparable from God: it is part of the definition of God. That means that if He was not omniscient, He would not be God. Pretty simple.

      I included that point because it was crucial to giving a clear picture of what I believe on the issue. If I had left it out, it would have given a wrong impression of who I am and what I believe.

      Thank you for the comment! πŸ™‚

  18. “vast majority of people in the world are just simply wrong about almost everything, including yourself. ” — Brilliant point!

    Thanks for this train of thought. It was a good trip.

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  19. My hubby and I have a rule for our own disagreements/debates – stick to the issue/challenge, not the storyline that’s going on around it.

    This helps me a bunch in having my mother-in-law living with us.

    I also use this at work because I work in an environment where being “right” about ALL things seems to get in the way of effective interpersonal interactions. **big sigh**

    • Ah yes, that is a big one. So many times we read way too much into things, and start attacking people for imagined insults because we don’t think about what they actually said. Good rule! I wish I could enforce that with myself more successfully. Thanks for the comment! Very good. πŸ™‚

  20. I like your blog – what I’ve seen of it so far! I also like your name choice. I used to go by the handle, Logus – which has a Biblical application.

    I also used to post heavily on Christian message boards – and some non-Christian ones too – until I realized it was just completely unhealthy for my walk as a whole (though I did learn some things)… and the majority of people were quite set in their views.

    • Thank you kindly. I really do appreciate the encouragement. Feel free to subscribe and see when I post new articles!

      I run a few forums for Christians. I always strive to encourage and maintain an attitude of help and not competition among the people who frequent them. It is hard, but well worth it.

  21. Very interesting post. I know several people who “feel the need” to correct people when they are wrong– whether it be grammer, facts, pronunciation, etc. Personally, I feel that it’s ok to correct people (depending on the subject) and correcting them in a non-threatening way.

    • I agree. There are times when it is alright to point out someone’s error in a nice, helpful way. (Such as if I accidentally leave a typo in a post, I really don’t mind you all pointing it out to me. Haha!)

  22. I love the reflection about that comic. It’s true, but some people live to argue. Like me, even if I’m consciously wrong, I like to make the other feel like he’s wrong. Kind of like an advocate trying to prove a murderer innocent. Anyways, great blog.

    • Yes, I have that tendency as well. That is human nature: pride, trying to put ourselves higher than others. It only hurts us and others. May we all learn to avoid that behavior.

  23. We’re only human. Humans are not perfect.

  24. Fabulous!

    Ever since I got married, I have learnt to pick my battles. Letting thing slide doesn’t have to mean denying your own opinion, and certainly leads to a nicer life!

    Congrats on getting on to freshly pressed.
    http://www.meandmybiro.wordpress.com

  25. In a postmodern world where the pervading wisdom is “no absolute truth,” it’s amazing how many people are obstinate about being right. Isn’t the whole idea of relativity “each to his own?” I laugh at the absurdity of our culture and rejoice in a God that never changes!

  26. Great post! All too often when watching a video on Youtube or reading a blog or even just watching the newsfeed on Facebook, you see people engaging in this “pointed-wrong-fest”. I would point to a certain quote, but there are so many things I like in this that I just have to say once more…Great post!

    • Haha, thank you.

      So many people rely on angering others for their ego boost. It is sad. Youtube seems to be a hot spot for that kind of behavior, for some strange reason. * shrugs *

  27. Well written. I should probably cool it sometimes. I’m guilty of becoming frustrated with random web commenters. Not everyone’s the same and that’s why we’re great, yadda, yadda, yadda πŸ˜‰
    Also, love XKCD! Well played, sir.

  28. Whenever someone thinks I’m wrong, I punch my dog.

  29. How interesting! There are many people out there and we all make mistakes but when someone is wrong there wrong.

    Picking your battle is a good lesson to learn in every relationship.

  30. I have a co-worker who likes to argue about every minute little thing. I tend to take the attitude – “Never argue with an idiot, they’ll drag you down to their own level and beat you with experience”. That being said… sometimes a little bit of arguing can be a learning opportunity πŸ™‚

  31. Excellent!
    Thank you for expressing in words what I have thought for a long time… now if I can just remember it!

  32. “Every detail of every action of all time; every fact of every attribute of every event and every object that ever occurred or existed; every thought of every human in response to every stimulus in history.

    That still blows me away.”

    Another not particularly deep comment, because what can I say, your whole article is right! But this particular bit really caught my attention, the issue arises frequently but this is an instance of perfectly crafted phrase. Awesomework

  33. […] September 30, 2010 by criticaleye2 Laugh. That comic is funny, but it is also very true. How many times do we get bent out of shape, and spend precious moments of our time (and every moment is precious), trying to convince someone just because they are wrong? Think about it: there are over six and a half billion people on this planet. That is … Read More […]

  34. πŸ™‚ Well said. I’ve learned to “be the duck” and let it roll off in many instances in life. It does wonders for lowering blood pressure! Congrats on being FP’d!

  35. Wrong! — Only God is absolutely right, with absolute knowledge. And it is insufferable arrogance to assume that we are anywhere close to Him in that regard.

    Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.

    The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

    With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

    I can argue (copy and past quotes) with you all night long. The sole reason I am NOT an atheist is that I don’t know what do atheist say during orgasm?
    I think “oh my nothing” can be interpreted in the wrong way by my partner…

  36. Jay, excellent post. In our culture, being right is practically a virtue. Your reminder of how foolish many arguments are is both timely and time-saving. And I know that people have already told you this, but I can’t contain my enthusiasm: Congratulations on having your blog featured on Freshly Pressed! That is so exciting!

  37. So true but easier said than done for most people. I’ve found that being willing to be wrong (even if you don’t feel you are) just makes life easier. Like the great Steven Covey said, agree to disagree agreeably.

  38. I love that comic – XKCD is very possibly the best place on the entire web, at least for nerds like me…. I drop by there first thing in the morning on release days.

    This particular comic captures so much about why we blog – or at least why I blog. There are people out there who are just wrong and they need to be corrected! Silly motivation – but at least I can laugh at myself….

    (BTW – for anyone unfamiliar with XKCD – the source of the comic – you can find it at the link below. If you are anything like me you can sit pressing the “random” button for an hour or more)

    http://www.xkcd.com/

  39. ‘Twas your name “emeth” that caused me to examine your post.

    From whence did it come?

    You are completely right on. So all this blogging is just an exercise in typing.
    Right?

    • I explain it in fuller detail on my About page, but it basically means Truth in Hebrew, and Mimetes is Greek for Follower or Imitator.

      It could be that, but I do believe that blogging is also a way to give people an opportunity to learn without attacking.

  40. Hahah I like your post. It’s quiet insightful.
    True and comic at the same time. πŸ™‚

  41. Liked your conclusion especially – eat well and sleep well, and I may just manage to be in total agreement with the world and all its peoples. Thanks

  42. Interesting thoughts on the world with its technology advancement in this era. The wild wild web of the internet brings forth many things that we couldn’t see years ago.

  43. Your post reminded me of the lyric “Many times I wonder how much there is to know” from the Led Zeppelin song “Over the Hills and Far Away.” A very wise post, Sir.

  44. I am so glad that you decided to address this issue. I was just thinking today, “Wow! I have been completely wrong about so much. I have been exactly what I didn’t want to be.” Anyway, it is very interesting that you decided to speak about this. Very good post. And thank you for your contribution to the world! lol

    God Bless~
    Monique Bradford

  45. It not very much in the spirit of the post, but I think the internet would be a much better place if it were more argumentative. Often times the comment sections in various news outlets and youtube are filled with slander, profanity, cynicism, and plain nonsense.

    Just from what I’ve seen of the internet, an increase in solid argumentation, mixed with general open-mindness, would certainly be a beneficial thing.

    Chris
    http://dailyjobfinder.wordpress.com/

  46. Also, where did you find the comic?

    Chris
    http://dailyjobfinder.wordpress.com/

  47. Sir Emeth, I must respectfully disagree with everything you’ve proposed. There are often many answers to an equation which are only every found through taking a new approach to the same problem.

    Critical thought is born of conflict. The argumentative spirit basks in revelations that surface in the heat of debate. Perspectives are broadened, bent and broken. To shy away from discussion is to stifle personal…

    Oh, wait. I’m doing it again, aren’t I?…

    Sorry.

  48. Haha nice post, thanks for sharing!

  49. Fantastic post, brilliantly written and so very true. Congrats on being freshly pressed too!

  50. Great post. Our cultural norms pre dispose us to a particular way of thinking and particular expectations from those around us, regardless of where they come from. The fear of things we do not understand further closes our minds to new and sometimes better experiences. Its nice that you pointed out that these variances exist on the internet as well. Hilarious cartoon.

    • Yes, they do, perhaps in an even higher degree than in the real world. I say this because there is a smaller ‘bandwidth’ of context on the internet: we are generally limited to mere text to convey high level concepts. This forces us to rely on assumptions (which are cultural for the most part) more than normal. We also have a higher reach, interacting with more people who have different communication biases. Open minds are paramount in this kind of environment. πŸ™‚

  51. Hi, got here from freshly pressed.

    Sigh, how I wish it were easy to do… but I can’t help but agree. Ideally I’d like to walk on. But it gets tough controlling a defensive nature when someone
    mis-interprets, and in process, defames a friend!

    I can imagine myself typing furiously till my system steams up (like my head).

    Open mind. It’s something to work towards surely!

    Was quite a read, not to mention that strip!!! πŸ˜†

  52. When I decide to not pass by someone mistaken (in my opinion) or offensive, I usually ask them to consider some alternatives rather than going in all guns blazing.
    After all, the point is not to harass them, but to persuade them.

    And in terms of your efforts to ensure we keep all these disagreements in perspective, I commend to you the song Stars Shine On by the Irish band Watercress, which includes the lyrics:

    But when I walk alone at night,
    And think about it all,
    In relation to the stars and sky,
    My troubles seem so small.
    The nearest star’s so far away,
    And bigger than the sun, but I’m just one.

    When I compare me to the galaxy,
    My troubled soul begins to see
    I’m a grain of sand on the biggest beach,
    And there’s places my annoyances will never reach.

    They don’t affect the colour of the Milky Way,
    They’re only really relevant today.
    In a million years, they’ll have disappeared,
    My tears and fears won’t count in any way.

    But the stars shine on.
    The stars shine on.

    Anyway. That’s Watercress. They were a great live band. Sadly now defunct, but you can find them on iTunes or Youtube.
    http://www.blackwatertown.wordpress.com

  53. Good thought Jay, thanks. I’m afraid I’ve lost sleep (literally) way to many times arguing with people with no possible resolution or gain to come.

    Dominus Vobiscum Amicus
    jackson4Christ

  54. well,i am of the opinion of ‘passing on’ unless the person with wrong knowledge is really close to me…a person will always find out the truth with personal experience…and that is the best way to get ‘enlightented’…what say…

    • There are people that have a relationship with me that is such that we can both correct each other without either getting defensive, and we can both learn from it. That is a precious thing. πŸ™‚

  55. Very true.

    I used to have trouble with the strong feelings I got dealing with other people’s opinions that I didn’t agree with. But then I realized, it’s just on a computer. I don’t have to care. They should have their opinions, and actually it’s useful to know what they are. To them, I’m wrong. It’s not my job to convince them, I’m merely voicing an opinion. So, as a general policy, if I get too emotionally involved in a response, I just turn the computer off. It works like a charm!

    • Hahaha… that works. I try to take the opportunity (if I have time) to find out what they believe. It is a good learning experience, even if neither changes their mind. πŸ™‚

  56. Great post! To “agree to disagree” allows us to have our own perceptions and opinions yet respect others who may not share the exact same ones as our own. As difficult as it may be at times, it’s the best way to learn about and from others who often will have very different life experiences than our own. Congrats on Freshly Pressed! LB

    • Very true. We can have so much more friendship and mutual benefit if we don’t get hung up over differences that might be important, but which aren’t important enough to attack others about.

  57. Just for the record, this is my ‘brother’. πŸ˜€ Congratulations, and it really is a good post. πŸ˜‰

  58. Oh dear, Jay. You’ve convicted me! I was up last night arguing with someone about why Bible college is not a waste. (In my defense, though, I quit the argument while he was ahead and did attempt to go to bed, but ended up not sleeping and writing a paper until 2 a.m.) I think I might just steal that comic and print it out and put it in front of my computer.

  59. I see you already have 118 comments on this one, but one more couldn’t hurt, eh? This is smashing! Totally brilliant. I love it.

  60. I burst out laughing when I say this cartoon! I didn’t know you knew my daughter! LOL JK, but this is soooo much like her!!!
    AJ

  61. Nice Post! I agree, you somehow hit the bulls eye on one of the most common American attitudes in the web.

  62. […] have been some stellar choices the past couple of weeks.Β  Sir Emeth Mimetes’ post about Internet Disagreements was killer. Blackgirlinmaine’s post about the misuse and bastardization of the term […]

  63. My Mind = Blown… seriously i never thought of it like that lol

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