RJS had published a thought-provoking post on this topic a few days ago at Musings on Science and Theology.
She included this breakdown of the differences between debate and dialogue presented by the Public Conversations Project:
[quote] Debate: Participants tend to propound a carefully crafted position.
Dialogue: Participants may or may not be committed to a position.
Debate: Atmosphere is threatening. Attacks are expected and permitted.
Dialogue: Atmosphere is one of safety. There is an agreement to respect one another even in disagreement on the issues.
Debate: Participants speak to represent a group.
Dialogue: Participants speak as individuals from their own experience.
Debate: Participants speak to the already committed.
Dialogue: Participants speak to each other.
Debate: Difference within a “side” are denied or minimized.
Dialogue: A broader continuum of personal positions are expressed.
Debate: Participants express unswerving commitment
Dialogue: Both deeply held beliefs and uncertainties are expressed.
Debate: Participants listen to refute.
Dialogue: Participants listen to understand and gain insight.
Debate: Participants aim to win.
Dialogue: Participants desire to learn and grow. [/quote]
As it says on the top banner, Biologos aims to be a place of “gracious dialogue.” But, in the course of dialogue, some debates on certain points usually arise and sometimes they are necessary and helpful.
I’m interested to know what people think about the breakdown between debate/dialogue above, or anything else mentioned in the linked article. What could we do better as far as promoting genuine dialogue? Is there a role for debate in dialogue, and if so, how do we engage in debate in more productive ways, ways that do not shut down conversations?