Doubt

I’ve been enjoying Krista Tippett’s Civil Conversations Projects where she fosters conversation, not debate, on a hot-button topic. We’re talking abortion, gay marriage – the big political, moral and religious issues that folks stay away from at dinner parties because of the emotion and strong feelings they bring out. Onbeing.org explains:

The Civil Conversations Project is a series of four public events and media experiences of politically counter-cultural relationship at work… Most of us — wherever we are along the spectrum of liberal or conservative — feel alienated and unrepresented by the hyper-partisan deadlock that distorts and strangles our common deliberation of the truly pressing issues before us.

 

These conversations are a way of “building political bridges” and you can watch or listen to them at www.onbeing.org on through itunes.

In the 10/10/12 discussion on Marriage, I was really struck by something David Blankenhorn, the founder and president of the Institute for American Values, said about doubt:

Mr. Blankenhorn: …I think that doubt and civility are friends. They go together kind of like, you know, coffee and cream. They’re partners. Um, by civility, I mean treating the other person the way you would want them to treat you. And by doubt, I mean believing that you may not be right even when your position is passionately held.

Ms.Tippett: You wrote this: “What I need as a doubting person is the wisdom of the other.”

Mr. Blankenhorn: See, because if I don’t have any doubt, I don’t need you. I should be nice to you out of manners, but I don’t need a relationship with you. I may want you to be available to be lectured by me so that you can come to the correct view and I may want to treat you politely for that reason, but I don’t really need you. As I grow older, I grow in doubt and that’s good. And I feel like that that’s a healthier way to be. And if I am not sure that I have the full truth of the matter, I need you.

Civility allows me to have a relationship with you. It feeds me what I need.

Doubt opens the door for widsom, learning, relationships and friendship because we need “the other.” Doubt creates space for change and innovation because we’re not “set in our ways” or 100% positive.  Relationships change people and knowing that I don’t have all the answers encourages me to foster relationships, even those who are different.

As I grow older, I grow in doubt and that’s good.

says Mr. Blankenhorn. And I agree, I’m growing in doubt and I’m seeing the benefits.

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