A debate is defined as “arguing on a subject, especially in a formal manner.”
Maybe this is true. Maybe a debate is a polite way of arguing. God knows I’ve seen enough religious and political debates to turn into arguments. but there is a difference. A thin line between debating and arguing. That line is respect.
Having a debate with someone should be fun, enlightening, a challenge. An argument is about shouting and hurting the other person, insulting them.
Arguing is simply shouting your point at the other person, refusing to listen to anything else, whereas a debate is a discussion between two people in which different topics are brought up. Both parties listen, and learn during the debate.
I love debates. There’s something about two people getting passionate about a subject- be it beliefs, or simpler, like a TV show or book. You can feel your own enthusiasm and the others persons, and see new things you haven’t before.
I am also very, very good at debating. Whatever argument people throw at me, I find a way to turn it around, give sufficient evidence or reasons why they are wrong. I think it’s one of the reasons I chose English Literature at University. Debating about books combines two of my favourite hobbies, after all.
As stubborn as I am, as good as I am at sticking to my guns, I am not so unwavering that I cannot change my mind. In fact, if someone manages to change my mind on a topic I feel strongly about, fair play to you. I have strong ides and passionate beliefs, so if someone has words of such power to change my mind or even make me think of the subject different, fair play indeed. And it isn’t a weakness.
Back to arguments, if you change your mind or back down, you “lose”. However, in debates, it’s quite the opposite. If someone’s manages to change your opinion slightly, you have enriched your own mind, become more enlightened upon something. You’re not belligerently insisting on the same idea without really deconstructing it, but you’re taking the idea apart, and growing as a person.
As much as I love changing someone else’s mind, getting them to understand my point of view, it’s equally fruitful vice versa. Because it makes you think differently, act differently. It opens a whole new world of interpretation to a subject you thought so surely on.
Is it a weakness is our minds are so malleable? if we change our beliefs on a whim? (that’s what I imagine people will cry)
Well, I give you this: It’s not on a whim. It’s after you’ve exhausted the topic to every inch, its where another person spins it in a new way you haven’t even considered before, which means your ‘belief’ on that subject might not be that strong. We are made of opinions, it’s true- but whose? As a child, do we have strong opinions on things? or do we learn them from our environment? Do we pick up our opinions and beliefs from our parents, our school, our friends? I think so. So none of our opinions are completely original anyway, and changing them simply means your choosing your own ones that you truly believe in, therefore making them stronger. If that makes sense. It’s three AM in the morning, so excuse the rambling.
Where arguments leave you upset, and bitter, with hurtful words running around your head, debates should leave you feeling refreshed, passionate and with a thirst for learning.
It was, in fact, a heated debate that led me to write this article. Me writing is often spontaneous and seems like a chore at times, but after one short debate with a friend, it’s lead to me finally being productive and getting back in touch with another passion- writing.
So, readers, remember this: Debates are supposed to be fun learning experiences. If you feel strongly about something, debate it well. but don’t be afraid to open your mind to another persons opinion. It might change your life, or even yourself.