Why I Always Say, “You Might Be Right.”

Why I Always Say, “You Might Be Right.” February 9, 2024

“You might be right” emerged as an unscripted theme during my first author talk in Crestone, Colorado. This disarming phrase has become one of my catchphrases.

In Crestone, a friend said that the earth is 6,000 years old, that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time, and that everyone (except Noah’s family) died in the great flood.


Was there a global flood? Where did all of the water come from? Where did all of the water go? Image from Pixabay/
Was there a global flood? Where did all of the water come from? Where did all of the water go? Image from Pixabay/ariesa66

“I don’t think so,” I said. “We’re at 8,000 feet elevation. Did the water get this high?”

“Where did all of the water come from? Where did all of the water go? How did the kangaroos travel to and from Australia without leaving any trace elsewhere?”

“Why don’t we find dinosaur bones in human bellies or human bones in dinosaur bellies? How did one family produce almost 8 billion people in only 6,000 years?”

Then, I conceded, “You might be right,” and this is the important part. I was not here either 6,000 years ago or 14 billion years ago. I do not know if there was a Big Bang or a great flood. In turn, my friend graciously conceded, “You might be right, too.”

Orthodoxy and Heresy

All theology is speculation. “Orthodoxy” is merely speculation that is well-accepted. “Heresy” is merely speculation that is not well-accepted.

One person’s orthodoxy is another person’s heresy. Over 40,000 Christian denominations cannot even agree on what is Christian orthodoxy.

After all, even orthodox beliefs are beliefs, not facts. Some religious doctrines were not taught by the founders of their religions or written in their religious scriptures.

In Christianity, for example, many things are accepted that are not explicit in scripture; they can only be implied or inferred from the Bible:

  • Tertullian developed the doctrine of the Trinity 100 years after Jesus’ death.
  • Augustine developed the doctrine of original sin 400 years after Jesus’ death.
  • Anselm developed the doctrine of substitutionary atonement 1,000 years after Jesus’ death.
  • Martin Luther developed the doctrine of justification by faith 1500 years after Jesus’ death.
  • Pope Pius IX developed the doctrine of papal infallibility 1800 years after Jesus’ death.

Do these doctrines reveal Truth with a capital T or a possible truth in a single tradition? Would people with conflicting assumptions or different worldviews accept them?

Beliefs and Facts

If we believe that the truth has been revealed or that the Pope is infallible or that the Bible is inerrant, those are themselves beliefs, not facts.

If we experience a healing or hear the voice of God, we cannot convince skeptics that it happened, and they cannot convince us that it did not.

Some of my Hindu friends believe that there are mahavatars, which are human manifestations of God who are not born from women, that reappear on earth in different bodies at different times.

Many of my non-Hindu friends think that this is pretty unlikely.

Some of my Christian friends believe that a first-century laborer is part of the Holy Trinity, that he was begotten not made, that he performed miracles, and that he physically rose from the dead.

Many of my non-Christian friends think that this is pretty unlikely.

“You Might Be Right”

“You might be right” is a relatively small concession. Reasonable people can agree to disagree, and they can agree to respect each other’s opinions when they do.

“You might be right” can be a gracious way to end a conversation, where no one “wins” or “loses.” Also, it can be a gracious way to extend a conversation.

When we concede, “You might be right,” we also imply, “…and you might be wrong, too,” which can open the door for further discussion.

Sometimes, people can hold beliefs so strongly that we confuse them with facts. Then, it is not easy to concede that “You might be right” and that we might be wrong.

We fight most wars over beliefs, not facts. Alternative facts, fake news, Facebook rants, and twitter wars are all about beliefs, not facts. If doctrines or theories were facts, not beliefs, then almost no one would fight over them. Most of us would accept them.

Six months after my author talk, I ran into a friend who was there. She hugged me, exclaiming, “I think about you every day!! ‘You might be right.’ It’s life-changing!!”

That is why I always say, “You might be right… and you might be wrong, too.”


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About Larry Jordan
Larry Jordan is a follower of Jesus with Zen practice. Recently, he published his first book, “The Way: Meaningful Spirituality for a Modern World,” which was informed by the Eastern religions, the mystics, and the quantum physicists. You can read more about the author here.

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