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My truth or yours?

By Mark Azzara

Dear Friend,

I only studied for one year at the University of Connecticut (I earned a master’s degree there) but that entitles me to receive UConn Magazine. And that entitlement paid off handsomely the other day via philosophy professor Michael Lynch’s compelling article about a thorny, highly charged moral topic: The conflict between conviction, passion, and humility in public discourse. Read it!

Lynch deftly sums up what concerns me about the current state of the American mind when he asks why you should bother “talking to the other side … when you already know you are right and they are wrong?” To me, the greatest threat of such arrogance is not political discourse but religious conversation, which has a unique power to inform and even transform us – or to heighten our biases, depending on how it is conducted.

Lynch acknowledges that arrogance increasingly permeates religious dialogue. He writes that, “it is intellectual arrogance that causes people to think that they can put all religious believers in a box, assuming that all Christians are conservatives or every Muslim is a terrorist or a terrorist sympathizer.”

Conservative or liberal, Christian or Muslim, Democrat or Republican, we all desperately need to inhale deeply rather than continue to exhale a fusillade of polemics designed to intimidate the other guy – not only because we are the other guy, but also because our political elites need to see an example of how civil discourse should be conducted. When I overwhelm and intimidate you while proclaiming what I believe to be the truth I cut myself off from the possibility of hearing it.

All God’s blessings – Mark

Mark Azzara

About Mark Azzara

Mark Azzara spent 45 years in print journalism, most of them with the Waterbury Republican in Connecticut, where he was a features writer with a special focus on religion at the time of his retirement. He also worked for newspapers in New Haven and Danbury, Conn. At the latter paper, while sports editor, he won a national first-place writing award on college baseball. Azzara also has served as the only admissions recruiter for a small Catholic college in Connecticut and wrote a self-published book on spirituality, "And So Are You." He is active in his church and a non-denominational prayer community and facilitates two Christian study groups for men. Azzara grew up in southern California, graduating from Cal Sate Los Angeles. He holds a master's degree from the University of Connecticut.

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