Although the final stretch of the school year approaches, campus discussions, debates, arguments and controversy continue with as much fervor as the beginning of the year.
From issues like alcohol, women’s leadership roles, homosexuality and even mixed swimming, the stances taken on these and more issues have given the university much to discuss.
When argued properly, the conversations are rewarding to the participants. However, when we become too passionate or emotional with our views, we can take divisive sides that only separate us into opposing factions. We claim things to be right or wrong when they may not be so clear cut. Issues aside, the discussions can wander off base when ideologies clash underneath the surface.
To beat a dead horse, we all know the alcohol policy will change next fall. However, the biggest question asked when people from different backgrounds discuss it is, “why?”
In formal conversations, classrooms, or Internet message boards, the question of “why” arises when tradition and progress clash. For example, younger generations, who usually look ahead, advocate progression while older generations feel more comfortable with tradition.
Proponents of progression point to past injustices or wrongdoings and claim progression’s necessity. People who enjoy tradition don’t have to be older, just anyone who likes to make changes only when 100 percent of the results are known in advance.
Both make strong points, and both have faults.
But in the arena of ideas, tradition or progression may not be a winner. For ACU to benefit from any of the internal or external bickerings of certain issues, the outcome of the decisions should not be the focus but the way we approach our discussions.
A liberal student discussing women’s roles in Chapel with an older alumnus who favors tradition might not turn out well if all they do is attack the other side and stubbornly defend their own.
Instead of viewing an issue like a sports team you defend to the death, step back and notice why people may not agree with each other.
Becoming upset at the way any touchy topic on campus is discussed doesn’t lead to a greater understanding. Rather, it leads to more frustration, separation and disagreement.
Revisiting that bruised, dead horse, the liberal student may have to admit a view could be wrong while the supposed enemy might have something right. Once we open ourselves to the possibility of being wrong when someone else is right, we can move on with something meaningful.