Thursday, June 01, 2006

Truth or lack thereof

I sat in a room at the top of the building with a woman yesterday.

Well, actually it was three women - well, two women, one girl - and a man.

The room was one of the Disputes Tribunal rooms at Auckland District Court. The man was a referee, or arbiter, or I don't actually know his title.

One woman was my mum, witness to the event that brought us there.

The other woman was Brenda, driver of "the other car". The girl was her daughter, witness to her side of the story.

It was an interesting experience.

I said Brenda's car hit mine. She said my car hit hers.

It made me think ... how do I deal with people of different belief systems from my own?

My family members, my wife, my friends at church, my work colleagues... all believe some things at odds with what I believe.

Most times, those beliefs are not that important.

But in this case, the belief had consequences. My belief meant I shouldn't pay for the damage (her car was undamaged). Her belief meant I should.

I wanted to get along with her, be on the same page, etc. But I could not accept her truth.

How about the many people I come across every day whose opinions differ from mine on key issues, like:
  • whether God exists
  • whether Jesus is the messiah
  • whether Jesus is God
  • whether Jesus rose from the dead
  • whether there is an objective Truth or just many truths
  • a whole host of other stuff coming out of that...

I'm learning the difference between communicating in an understanding way... and agreeing with, celebrating or championing the beliefs of the other.

Understanding is a whole lot different from agreement.

Many of my fellow Christians need to learn the understanding side; too often I've heard people who appear good arguers but that's only because they don't really hear what the other side is saying. They pick holes and technicalities and win the war of words, but not of hearts.

I'm kind of coming from the other end of the spectrum.

I'm learning to be steadfast in my own beliefs, still seeking to understand, but not violating my beliefs by leaving assumptions unchallenged.