Thursday, December 9, 2010

Incoherence Kills Relationships


Ravi Zacharias (www.rzim.org) was once asked during a Q&A session where he had gotten the idea that truth is coherent. He answered by asking, “do you want a coherent or incoherent answer?”

Coherence is logical consistency by another name. I am afraid that I have learned that when a person lacks reason, they kill off the ability to communicate. As a result, one cannot build relationships with such a person beyond shallow platitudes.

Please understand that I am not defining a reasonable person to be someone who simply agrees with me.

I am also not under the na├»ve impression that logic is a truth detector. Logic does the best job of being a lie detector. I understand that one can be logical and be wrong. Euclidean vs non-euclidean geometry yields this truth. Both types of systems are logically consistent but yield contradicting results. If you’re not up to speed on the subject, this is Google material.

The above is so abstract, so let me illustrate with an example. For the sake of brevity, this example is oversimplified and hyperbolic, however it is still a legitimate illustration. Imagine someone states that they believe that the earth is flat. You show them a satellite imagery of the round earth and make arguments about the rotation of the earth affecting the day/night cycle. You point back to Magellan who was the first explorer to travel completely around the earth. The dissenter, instead of addressing each of those points, simply dismisses them as propaganda arguments, perhaps all a part of a grand conspiracy.

What more can you say or do when someone ignores evidence and reason but smile and nod or perhaps shake your head and walk away? At this point, the relationship has suffered. The relationship lacks the openness necessary to cultivate change and growth.

The sun has a “relationship” with plant life. Those plants open themselves up and reach towards the sun for nourishment and growth. You show me a plant that doesn’t do this and I’ll show you one that is dying. Reach for the light and you’ll find relationships. It may stretch you, but the stretching is the better alternative to death.

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