Agree to Disagree?

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I know I’m opinionated.
(I’ll allow time for some of you to pick yourself off the floor or to clean the coffee spewed on your computer screen.)

I have opinions on politics and religion (and the union of the two) as well as movies, TV, music, theater, food, fashion, hair styles, etc. 
Most of my opinions are generic, others are important, and a few are deep-seated.
Some have changed over the years. 
All are open for discussion! 
(If you think about it, having opinions is a necessary qualifications of a blogger!)

I'm also very aware that they are my opinions.

A woman recently visited my Facebook page, defending Donald Trump’s policies. But she was…how shall I put this?...not telling the truth in her statements about him. 
When I pointed that the facts, she called me a “typical liberal” who believed “No one can disagree with you, because you have all the answers. You have it all figured out.”

Well, that’s also not true.
Me...typical? (How dare she?)
I have no issue with disagreement, or differences in beliefs and opinions.
(If she truly knew me, she'd also know I do NOT have it all "figured out!")

As I pointed out in my last post, everybody has opinions—about stuff that matters and things that don’t.
And our opinions on the same matter can be different. Very different!

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Often in discussions, someone will announce succinctly, “Agree to disagree!”
On several occasions, I’ve asked the question: “Can we agree to disagree?”

It usually means one of us has realized we’re not going to change the mind…or opinion…of the other.
Or it’s a way to defuse tension in a contentious, or uncomfortable discussion.

I fear it’s sometimes used by those more interested in agreement than in understanding or learning from the other person.
Rather than affirm one another, and those things we do share, we focus on where we deviate. 

Perhaps it’s a deflection—something I’d say when there are no actual facts to support my position. (Like pointing out spelling or grammar errors.) 

There are times I get the feeling it’s more an assertion of superiority: “I’m right, but you’re too dumb to see it.”

Whether framed in a statement or question, “agree to disagree” assumes we’ve arrived at some kind of impasse, so we essentially make a verbal contract that says while we don’t agree, we’ve agreed to those differences. 
We acknowledge our disparity.
We recognize our individuality in having differing opinions, or beliefs, or preferences.
To me, "agree to disagree" says it’s acceptable to hold two opposing viewpoints. 

It’s all very…civil.
You have your opinion, I have mine.
I’m okay, you’re okay.

Whatever the reason, it’s a valid question, deserving of some evaluation. 
Can we agree to disagree?

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Most of the time, I have no issue with conceding to the agree-to-disagree proposition.

You like strawberry ice cream; I prefer chocolate. (I’m allergic to strawberries.)
We can "agree to disagree" about our ice cream tastes.

You think Star Wars is superior to Star Trek.
You like the Munsters more than The Addams Family.
You are a Cowboys fan, and I’m…ZZZzzzzz

Betty v. Veronica
Ford v. Chevy
Coke v. Pepsi
Hymns v. Praise Choruses
Oreos v. Hydrox
Baptism by sprinkling v. Baptism by immersion
Bewitched v. I Dream of Jeannie
Eartha Kitt v. Julie Newmar v. Lee Meriwether

Agree to disagree?
Sure, no problem.

We can have differences in tastes and favorites, because in the end, our disagreement does not matter, beyond whether we spend our evenings binge watching TV shows, or sharing food in a restaurant. 
And hopefully, we can do it graciously, with continued respect for one another. (My pastor used to tell us that we can disagree without being disagreeable.)

On the other hand, there are those times…those discussions…those matters when “agree to disagree” is not an option for me! 

Fundamentalist: The Bible teaches you are an abomination, and will spend eternity in hell. 
Me: That’s your belief, based on how you interpret the Bible. I've studied the Bible…extensively...and do not share that belief.
Fundamentalist: Agree to disagree.

Trumpeter: I don’t think Donald Trump is a racist, or misogynistic, or anti-gay.
Me: Well, his statements and his policies certainly paint him as both a misogynist and a racist. His administrative appointments definitely don't show him to be a friend of the LGBTQ community.
Trumpeter: Agree to disagree.

Uhm...no!
To do so, says I'm fine with a person holding beliefs that diminish me, or I'm fine with politics that ignores reality. 

I will not "agree to disagree" if...

The other person's position is based on lies.
Their opinion is hurtful. Or harmful.
Their understanding of the Bible makes me less of person in the sight of God.
They see my faith as untenable or impossible.
Their political policies violate my rights as a human being.
Their perspective is wrong. 
Their beliefs are dangerous. 

"There’s no such thing as a Trans person." 
"No one can be gay and Christian."
"The Holocaust didn't actually happen."
"God will destroy the world because of gay marriage."
"The Constitution is clear about my rights to own guns."
"Donald Trump is the greatest president in history."
"Muslims are terrorists and should be expelled from this country, and excluded from entering."
"Homosexuals are an abomination, and will spend eternity in hell."
"Obama is not a US citizen."
"Businesses should be legally allowed to discriminate, based on 'deeply held religious beliefs'"
"America was founded as a Christian nation."
"It's not a sexual orientation; it's merely a 'same-sex attraction.'"

You are certainly free to tenaciously cling to those beliefs, that perspective, those opinions, those lies. 
You can hold to the premise that your faith is the only possible source of truth, and your experience should be the universal determinate. 
I will affirm you as a person. (Which is usually more than I get in return.
It's possible I'd try to counter with facts. Or remind you of events to the contrary. Or share my story and my experience. Or offer another way to interpret those verses in the Bible. Perhaps I'll relate how your beliefs or opinions impact me (and others) in a negative way. Even puts others in danger. 

Ultimately, I might acknowledge that we disagree, and move on.

What I won't do is argue!

However, if you seek to end our discussion with “agree to disagree” (in a statement or a question), expecting that I'm fine with your narrow (hateful, harmful, hurtful) point of view, you might be surprised at my intolerance

You will definitely be disappointed at my response:
Oh. Hell. No!