Civil dialogue seems to be a thing of the past. More and more, we divide ourselves into camps, turn every issue into Us vs. Them. Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice. Democrats and Republicans. Cubs vs. Cardinals. And increasingly in our culture, Christian vs. Atheist.
When we polarize our positions, we eliminate any real opportunity for dialog.
I understand why we end up polarized: the convictions we hold are strong and mean a lot to us. We deeply care about whatever position we’ve assumed. But in our passion, we often dehumanize the person who does not agree with us. An opponent becomes an enemy.
That’s why we need genuine, civil dialog. We need interactions that don’t forsake kindness and charity for truth. We must remember that engaging the Other violently, without respect to their personhood, experiences and positions is wrong no matter how right our positions may be.