To disagree with a person’s ideas is no sign of a lack of personal appreciation of their being, or an absence of personal affection. To voice, as articulately as you can, that disagreement, with all its attendant reasons, is communication. It is (my opinion) a shaky, overly tender ego that sees another’s variant idea as an attack on their person.
And yet, this is a phenomenon that happens all the time; I’ve my own recent experience of that phenomenon. It’s enormously frustrating. No wonder the world is in the shape it’s in.
Is my ego too involved with my intellect? Do I need to have the last word?
I know that I am not free of the family inclination to arrogance (a high school classmate once remarked I walked down the school hall, those long years ago, looking haughty as a camel); arrogance is so much a family trait, I’d bet on it being genetic. I’ve long been aware of this tendency within us. I try to guard against expressing it, in myself, but this doesn’t mean I don’t ever fall victim to it. The challenge is recognizing it when it has me in its grasp- sometimes even after the fact. But when does disagreement become arrogance? For example, is it arrogant to refuse/refute as argument, evidence from a questionable, or disputed source?
Recently, I was involved in a discussion regarding the reliability of “prophecy.” (It needs to be noted that we are talking about prophecy in the classic sense and not about the political, economic or social prognoses by “experts” that, today, are so ubiquitous.) I don’t remember what the point of the discussion was, now. I do remember refusing to accept New Testament prophecy as a legitimate example congruous to the context of the conversation because of the question of whether it might have been written after the fact of the fall of Jerusalem, in 70 CE. I thought it a perfectly legitimate and realistic objection. Now, because I no longer remember the details of the discussion, I’m asking myself if was I arrogant dismissing it so out of hand. I can’t be sure I wasn’t, and the idea I may have been unfair, even not meaning to be, fires up my guilt machine.