We live in an age in which it seems increasingly difficult for people to agree. From topics like politics and morality, to food and movies, there seems to be constant debating over what is good and right in this world.
So how do we address this growing polarization? How do we respond in everyday interactions with people who have various viewpoints? Those of us in the Christian Legal Society (CLS) at BC Law have been grappling with these questions, and wondering how we can be better classmates, colleagues, and neighbors in the midst of our country’s chaos. We want to learn how to embody a Christianity that is genuine and true to scripture, and distinct from the one that is so often portrayed in the media. We also wanted to invite others on the BC Law campus to explore these questions with us.
So, to learn more and dig deeper, CLS decided to host a discussion entitled “How to Disagree Well in an Age of Ideological Chaos,” which took place on March 27. We invited Kasey Leander and Matthew Mittelberg, two Fellows from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries to come and share their insights. Having studied at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, the primary focus of Kasey and Matthew’s work is to engage in conversations about faith and help others understand God in light of today’s moral, philosophical, and cultural issues.
Kasey began his presentation by discussing the prevalence of individualism in American society. While honoring each person’s individuality and uniqueness is important, he suggested that an overemphasis on individualism and clinging on to one’s own version of the truth actually leads to polarization.
Next, Kasey highlighted the importance of dialogue, and the problem of increasing censorship in today’s world. Perhaps because of an overemphasis on individualism, we often elect political leaders who will pass a specific agenda, rather than leaders who work well with others and are willing to listen and dialogue.
Finally, Kasey suggested ways that we can disagree well. First, he suggested the importance of recognizing that the truth is actually external to us, and that there is a standard we are all striving toward. Second, he advocated for the right of people to speak freely.
Third, he argued that we need a real reason to love our opponents. Bringing in a biblical perspective, Kasey explained that Jesus constantly engaged with those who disagreed with him—not to condemn, but out of love and a desire for people to know the truth. He taught his disciples to love their enemies—not to hate them, not to ignore them, not even to simply tolerate them—but to love them, because he loves them. For Christians, this is what compels us to listen and dialogue well with those with whom we disagree—it’s because, first and foremost, we are called to love.
Although not everyone agrees with the Christian perspective on these issues, having Kasey and Matthew at BC Law was an opportunity to gain insight into one approach we can take when we engage with those around us. Through discussions like these, hopefully we as a community at BC Law can continue our school’s tradition of building students to live lives of compassion, justice, and love.
Venus Chui is a 3L at BC Law and President of the Christian Legal Society. Feel free to contact her with questions about law school or her experiences! Comment here or send her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org