Saturday, August 29, 2020

A friend asked: When I agree with your formulation that the Bible is not a law book (and the other formulations you write in Don’t mix up “Word of God” and “Bible”), do you expect me to also agree that homosexual couples should be allowed to marry (as you write in About homosexuality)?

My answer: not at all. Our personal opinions about a given concrete question can differ substantially depending on our personal history. For example one of my best friends (I have been living together with him and my sister from 1998 to 2001) told me later (in 2018) that he actually had been longing to be a woman all his life and now decided to stop living with this secrete and to start a sexual conversion. Which caused us quite some hours of emotional discussions. And though I still worry that he might regret his decision one day, I am proud to remain a friend of her. This is a part of my personal history. Other people have other experiences with the topic of transgender.

It is important to have friends with different opinions about political, economical or societal questions, and to talk with them about these topics in order to protect you from being caught in a cultural filter bubble.

Our opinions can eventually become controversial when your opinion disturbs my peace (or mine yours). In that case we need to find a compromise, i.e. a modus vivendi that is acceptable for both sides. When you discuss about politics with a friend in a pub, then a compromise is not needed, but finding compromises is an important art when discussing with your spouse about how to use your financial resources.

Independently of whether you need to find a compromise or not, when discussing about a controversial question, the most important emotional skill is neighbourly love. Meeting people whose opinions differ fundamentally from yours is a good exercise in neighbourly love. Neighbourly love means to love our neighbour (the one who has another opinion) as much as ourselves, i.e. that we assign the same priority to their arguments as to our arguments. It means that we see the other opinion as an enrichment and not as an obstacle.