There are two non-negotiable beliefs that are essential to healthy dialogue.
- There is such a thing as truth.
- The truth is available to every reasonable person.
A healthy dialogue happens when opposing viewpoints articulate and evaluate arguments in a search for the truth.
Participants in dialogue must agree that truth exists. If there isn’t agreement that truth exists, then they are engaged in a futile exercise. It’s literally pointless. If a person thinks that the truth changes depending on perspectives then you can safely exit the conversation without worry of missing any opportunities to find the truth. Life is too short. It’s okay to skip that conversation because it’s not grounded in reality. Actual truth doesn’t change based on who’s paying attention. If a tree falls in the forest and a person is around and hears it, then it would’ve made that same noise if no one was there. Truth exists.
People might find truth offensive. People might not accept the possibility that their opinions are wrong. If you engage with such a person and claim that truth exists, be prepared for unhinged and irrational tantrums.
Participants in dialogue must agree that the truth is available to every reasonable person. This is important because people try to tell us that a man cannot comment on women’s issues, and people of one race can’t comment on people of another race. If you’re engaged in dialogue with someone who ignores the validity of your argument and instead doesn’t even consider it because you’re the wrong sex or race, then you’re in an unhealthy dialogue. Who you are and where you come from doesn’t change what you are capable of knowing about reality. Truth is available.
Be warned. If you enter a dialogue, whether it be online, in person, pen pals, chain letters, whatever—if you’re engaged with a person who doesn’t believe these things then you’re in for a rough time. If they’re not willing to grow their understanding about the nature of truth, then it’s your best bet to pray for them, and kindly exit the conversation.