Dialogue on Dialogue

Dialogue on Dialogue October 24, 2009

One or two readers complain that there is not enough ‘dialogue’ on this blog. That’s a fair point I suppose, but then, this is a blog. It is not an internet discussion forum. A blog is a place for my personal views and thoughts along with the opportunity for people to comment.

What is the point of dialogue? There are some good reasons for it. Dialogue between opposing factions may help to clarify the truth. It can be a process whereby people who are genuinely seeking a way forward may move together into a fresh understanding of one another and the truth that they both seek. Also, it may help to clarify peripheral details that need to be worked out.

However, too often ‘dialogue’ is a sneaky way for people who want to dispute truth or disobey God’s commands to justify their rebellion, cause scandal and lead others into error or sin. If something is a revealed truth through natural law, Scripture and the teachings of Holy Church, then there is really no need for dialogue except to clarify that truth and expound it and defend it.

Dialogue may help in this situation to work out pastoral details, but any dialogue which clouds the basic truth or undermines it is actually counter productive and not only a waste of time but actually dangerous. For example, abortion is wrong. It is never right. Dialogue on that truth itself is useless. Seeking to ‘find common ground’ on that one is a waste of time. However dialogue on ways to reduce abortions, on ways to help women in crisis pregnancies, on ways to support women who wish to keep their children or have them adopted–all these and many other topics are great areas for dialogue.

While dialogue has its uses, too often in our present culture it is used by those who do not believe in such a thing as revealed or objective truth. The assumption is that truth is ‘whatever works for you’. Consequently, dialogue is the means by which relativists reach a utilitarian compromise. Furthermore, dialogue is more often used by those who have a radical, ‘progressive’ agenda to promote their ideology.

“Come let us reason together” they say, and then with ‘difficult’ theoretical cases sentimental, utilitarian and political arguments they dismantle the status quo, and once they have introduced an element of doubt in their opponents they line up for the kill. Discussion and ‘listening’ ends and they prepare to eliminate all opposition. Go here to find this stage of ‘dialogue’ from one person who used to push for ‘listening and discussion of difficult issues.’

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