Arguing with someone does not mean coercing them

Only a two days ago I had an argument with a friend who happened to be Christian. The argument was primarily about the will of “God” regarding war and death. Then it raged on about the wider intentions of God for mankind and debating the place of free will in the Bible (I argued that the Bible doesn’t grant you any free will or the right to make decisions of your own because the Bible deems you as sinful from the beginning and incapable of making moral decisions with the presence of some God, Jesus, or Holy Spirit). As the argument wore on things only got more unpleasant, to put it generously, and the person was self-led into the believe that I did not believe in the freedom of Christians to make their own decisions, as if they needed me to decide what they actually believe. Eventually we did cool down enough that we’re still friends, but out of all this there’s something you should know when you’re arguing with someone of different beliefs to your own.

Whenever you argue with someone, you’re trying to get across a viewpoint in a rather disagreeing tone, but it’s not the same as coercing the other person to believe you. You’re only trying to convince the person, or at least that’s how it should be, but often in arguments if people don’t know this for set that limit then all they do is try to bully the other person into agreement. You do not have any power to make someone else believe as you do, at all, but the other person may not think that so you ought to remind him/her so in a rational manner. When you coerce someone, you are doing a lot more to force someone to believe the same way as you and act as you desire him/her to than you would in an argument. When you argue with someone, you’re only trying to convince someone of your point, albeit in a more loud and fervent manner. But when you coerce, persuade someone unwilling to do something by use of threats, force, abuse, or violence, and most arguments do not actually amount to that.

Remember the difference between argument and coercion and you should be fine. Just express your disagreement and opposition without it taking the form of coercion.

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4 responses to “Arguing with someone does not mean coercing them

  1. I don’t have religious “discussions” with people unless I have some kind of idea how they’ll react. With that, I don’t have discussions with strangers but only with people that I have known for a decent amount of time. No matter what religion the other person is, both sides should respect the others right to believe whatever they want. If you have mutual respect, there shouldn’t be a problem.

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