First off, the best way to start is to realize that this idiot probably isn’t really an idiot, just someone who has been misinformed or is afraid of hearing the truth.
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How many people have you met in your lifetime who, when you try to inform them of something, scream, “Shields Up, Scotty!!”?
People want to believe what they want to believe, and often that means they have selective hearing or selective memory. No matter what you say, or how you say it (which is a very important part of today’s discussion), they will only remember the bits and pieces they want to, which (most often) allows them to totally twist your meaning to what they want it to be.
What an idiot, right? Not right.
People who don’t agree with you are more than likely misinformed, but then again, there is always the chance we are misinformed and we all must always be open to that possibility.
The best way to argue is to not argue: don’t even try to make them understand your position, but instead, get them to explain to you their position.
That’s right- the best way to get someone to listen to you is to first listen to them.
Let them tell you why they believe what they believe, then ask questions that will force them to re-think their position.
Step 1– The person asking the questions is the person controlling the discussion.
For example, someone says they do not believe in God. Your response is not to explain why you do, but to say something along the lines of, “OK, why is that? ” and then let them tell you their reasons for not believing. After they speak, then you can take each of those reasons and ask deeper questions. Such as if they respond with, “I have never seen any evidence that God exists.” you can respond with, “I understand. If you saw absolute evidence that God existed, would that change your mind?” Of course, the only answer they can give you now is “Yes.”
Step 2– Always ask questions which you already know the answer to.
After they answer yes, then you can say there is plenty of evidence of God’s existence, but people only recognize it as science. Just because we can understand how something works in the natural world, doesn’t mean there isn’t a supernatural explanation for how it started. Even evolution (Ahh!! He used the “E” word!) had to start somewhere, and if we accept that the idea of intelligent design is a possible way of explaining things, then God certainly has demonstrated his existence.
This is just a single example, and when you gain experience at asking questions you know will elicit a specific response, and a response for which you have an answer, you will find it easier to make people doubt what they have always thought was the truth.
People will not believe what you say is true until they begin to doubt that what they say is true, and the only way they will doubt their own beliefs is when you force them to justify those beliefs. When they begin to hear themselves say things like, “Because that’s how it is” or “That’s what I was taught”, they will realize they really don’t have an answer.
Truism: People believe only 50% of what you say, but 100% of what they say.
And here is the final and probably most important step:
Step 3- Practice explaining your beliefs in a simple manner which anyone can understand.
And that is it. When you have a discussion with someone, no matter what the topic, you must take these steps in this order:
- Ask them questions so you know why they think that way;
- Using their reasons to believe what they do, ask questions which they can’t answer without causing them to doubt their beliefs;
- Only now can you tell them why you believe what you do, and they might be open to accepting what you say.
This takes us back to what I said earlier, how what you say is not as important as how you say it. I learned that lesson myself many years ago, when I couldn’t figure out why at meetings I attended someone else made the same suggestion I did, usually 10 or 15 minutes after I made it, but everyone thought it was the other person’s idea. I was always ahead of the curve, and because I was explaining it in the way I understood it, no one else was catching on, but someone would always figure it out later and rephrase it, and that person made the point better than I did.
You need to know your stuff before you go out there, and you need to discipline yourself to keep quiet when someone else is answering you. People only want to hear themselves talk, and when you find someone is waiting for you to take a breath so they can tell you what they want to, realize that they aren’t listening to what you say, they’re only waiting for a chance to jump in, and when that happens you have lost control.
And if you are trying to teach someone the truth about God, if you lose control you are not the one who loses, they are because you failed to help them come to God. They may win the argument, but they lose the battle that really matters, so please realize your responsibility when talking to people, whether they are non-Believers or Believers, and discipline yourself to do what needs to be done to save their soul. Do NOT allow pridefulness to cause you to forget these important rules of engagement.
Last thing to cover today: as much as I would like to think everyone can be taught, there are idiots out there, and when someone stops discussing and turns to personal attacks, the discussion is over. When that happens, despite how much you want to cut them a new one (as I often want to do), you need to be the “better person” and an example of godliness, and simply say something to the effect of:
“I have learned that when within a discussion, one side resorts to attacking the person instead of their beliefs, it is because they cannot deny the truth of the other person’s beliefs so resort to personal insults. Since that is the point we are at now, there’s no sense to continuing.”
Proverbs tells us not to argue with a fool in the same manner as the fool, and after years in the Sales profession, I have found these simple steps help people to be open to the information I wanted to give them. I never tell anyone what they must or even should believe because I believe God gave us all free will and the right to choose. What most people don’t realize is that whatever they believe, they choose to do so, and they WILL be held accountable for that choice. That is why I have this ministry: it is not to proselytize anyone or convince them to convert or even to get them to accept Yeshua, although it would be great if anything I did led them to that. My purpose is to teach what God says, so that whatever decision someone makes, it is an informed decision.
And if the information I present helps save only one soul during my lifetime, I will have accomplished much more than anything else I have ever done.
Thank you for being here and please share these messages, subscribe, check out my books, and I always welcome your comments.
Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!