I am changing a perspective in my life. It is something I am consciously working on instead of having just woken up this morning with a brand new brain. With that in mind, its timing makes it look like a New Year’s resolution, but it’s not. I have a terrible habit of arguing with people, almost compulsively. And I want to stop. I’ve tried to get to the bottom of how I’ve ended up in this situation, and I think it’s because I have an antisocial habit of tell other people why they’re wrong, but not necessarily accounting for a substitute.
Anyone who has engaged me in a religious discussion may have noticed this. It’s instrumental to atheism, because an atheist is a person that doesn’t believe a certain claim. I can explain why an idea is faulty, but not have to substitute anything else in*. It’s one of the things theists attack about atheists; that they turn an idea down without having a substitute. Unfortunately for theists that do this, “I don’t know” is often the honest and rational substitute.
*but once you move outside of atheism and into secular philosophy and science there are far fewer “I don’t knows”.
The change I want to make now, not just in blogging, is that I want to stand up and account for myself. I don’t want to obsess about other people’s ideas and get to the bottom of how they might be wrong. I simply want to share my own ideas. Most of the arguments in my life have been born from the fact that I obsess, as if I have been personally offended, about people who are wrong or seem to be wrong.
That’s because I do feel personally offended when someone preaches blatantly wrong things to me. I feel they are trying to deceive me, lie to me or that they think I’m stupid. I know that’s not the case, I know they believe what they are saying, but I can’t shake that offence and I have let myself fall into the habit of responding. Now I’m working on not feeling that way.
When friends give me inconsistent stories, I am working on letting that go when it doesn’t matter. It normally doesn’t matter. I don’t have to argue that. I am not a detective, and I don’t need to probe and investigate everything. As long as I can account for what I do think and what I do believe, what should other people’s quirks or mistakes matter?