I have often thought about the differences between debate and argument. I know someone can make an argument that is logical and precise, but my working definition of the words is that debate is a conversation (it can be passionate) that is about a question or idea that deals strictly with the conversation at hand. Arguments are generally less logical and deteriorate into personal attacks. People end up leaving an argument with their feelings hurt, while they leave a debate having a better understanding of the consequence of their ideas.
(Thomas is joining a debate club this year in order to prepare for his political career, if the thing with the 'beat box' doesn't work out.)
I enjoy debate. It really helps to sharpen my thinking. I went to chiropractic college which was about 80% men. There was a lot of debate. It was good to think about something and then talk about it and hear other's ideas about it, both in agreement and disagreement. It helped me to see the flaws and weaknesses of my thoughts as well as where I was right. It helped me grow in my thinking and ideas. I became more secure and certain in what I believed.
Men and women are different. ( I am generalizing here.) Most men see their ideas as something apart from whom they are. To discus an idea is not personal to them. Their theory is not who they are, it is a toy that is more fun if everyone plays with it and contributes to its make-up. One may even decide that it is no good and throw it away without any grief. Women are different. In general, our ideas are who we are. If you criticize most women's ideas, you are criticizing them personally and they will react emotionally and you will end up in an argument, not a debate. You will hurt their feelings if you try and engage them in debating their ideas. For some it is an insecurity thing, for others it is just the way they are wired. Look at many of our female politicians and the histrionics they engage in when they are disagreed with. You are much more likely to get an emotional response than a logical one from a woman re ideas.
Even if a person chooses a different course of action than a female friend, it can cause stress in the relationship. The thought process is... if you do something different than me then you must think that your way is right, and that means you think I am making a poor choice or doing something wrong. It is an unspoken criticism. Many women function out of the emotional rather than the logical part of their brains. This makes debate challenging and argument almost inescapable.
Men have their own emotional attachments that they personalize without regard to logic. They are called sports or politics. Men get emotionally involved and become 'one' with the team. When OSU wins the National Championship this year, most men in this state will think that they themselves had something to do with it. They are the champions. If the team loses they are depressed, because they lost even though they had nothing to do with any aspect of the game. If you want to debate, don't mention athletic teams, because it will very quickly deteriorate into an argument. Yes, even if you wear a rival jersey it can induce stress in a relationship. Women are befuddled by the lack of male logic here. Why does one care so passionately about something that can in no real way impact your life (unless you are a coach or player for the team)?!!!
I have changed over the years. I think I am more tolerant as I get older. This is probably true of most people. I have changed my mind on a few major ideas in my life. My brain and life is not static. As I learn more, I modify and change my ideas. I am not the person I was (Praise God!) and definitely not the person I hope to be. To continue learning is to continue growing. Run these different ideas through the screen of scripture. Learn from your own experiences and the experiences of others. If someone says something you disagree with, figure out why. Most things are not personal, don't make them so. A person does not have to be a clone to be a good friend! Tolerate and enjoy the differences. You can always learn something from somebody else.
I welcome your comments, even if you disagree!