Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Yes, I Could Be Wrong, I'm Fine With That

I had a fun conversation with a Christian on twitter a few days ago. I think it was a pretty normal sparring match for the most part over a pretty standard battleground for these types of things. But there was one point that he kept returning to, "you could be wrong".

The first time (and every subsequent time) he brought up this point I said yes, I could be wrong. The thing is, everyone could be wrong, if we are being honest with ourselves we have to admit this is a possibility. We are all missing some information and we can't think of everything. There are certainly logical arguments that I haven't thought of on any given topic, and it's possible that my mind could be changed. Furthermore, if I'm wrong about something, there is almost certainly evidence out there that I have either never seen or mistakenly dismissed showing that I am wrong.

The thing is, I am not alone here, we all could be wrong about any given topic. This is especially true if we disagree about something, one of us is right and the other is wrong (or potentially both are wrong). So how do we go about determining which of us is wrong? He was attacking the fact that I want to use logic and reason, "how can you be so sure of your logic?" He's right, my logic might be flawed, but as far as I can tell, the only way to combat bad logic is good logic. This is always a possibility, demonstrate a flaw in my argument and provide an alternative. Of course Christians will often want to use faith as an alternative, but this is no good. I would ask what they would do if they come across someone with a different answer which was also arrived at through faith, there doesn't seem to be any way for them to determine who is right (if one of them is indeed right).

I think what really bugged me about this was that he seemed to be happy when I said I might be wrong. It was like he tricked me into admitting it or something. This doesn't mean he wins, it just means I'm accepting an essential truth which he is refusing to do. Furthermore, I would argue that since I am open to being wrong and changing my opinion, and since I accept that I might have made a mistake in the past and am willing to refine my positions, I have a much better chance of being correct than him. Admitting that you don't know something really is a path toward truth, asserting that you Know the Truth is not. I could be wrong and I'm fine with it. Actually, I'm proud to admit this fact. Being comfortable with "I don't know" and being willing to alter your positions is a virtue.


  1. Just tell them they can be wrong about Islam and that you're losing as much sleep over Christianity as they are about other religions.

    1. Yeah, I think that's really the key, instead of just saying "yes I could be wrong", always couple it with "but you could be wrong too" or "everyone could be wrong" or something


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