Dialogue above debate

Written by Andrew Conner · Aug 5, 2014

I’m drawn to people who engage in direct dialogue about the fundamental concepts behind complex and polarizing issues. Recently I’ve been listening to podcast episodes about this — individuals who are a member of a “side”, and yet are drawn away from debate and instead deeply explore what the “other side” believes.

Here are a few that I’ve especially enjoyed.

Pro-life, pro-choice, pro-dialogue, On Being. David Gushee and Frances Kissling, diametrically opposed about abortion, discuss what “their side” is doing wrong. Of interest, Gushee argues that we cannot illegalize abortion without first building a strong social support structure for women.

A School of Life for Atheists, On Being. Atheist Alain de Botton argues that rejecting religion should not mean we reject everything it brings. Particularly, after wrestling with the meaning of religion and faith, he realized that humans shouldn’t navigate through life alone, and that we need help. So, as any respectable atheist would, he started a church.

Red state, blue state, This American Life. In Act Two, Sarah Koenig explores moderation, and how polarizing politics makes it hard to not get swept to one side. Read the update about how New Hampshire leadership has swayed again since the episode aired.


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