You have a problem: you can’t convince people that you are right.
You’ve tried reason, arguing, logic, debating, and even pleading.
And yet they don’t go along with your thinking. Maybe you can get them to acquiesce while you hope for a later conversion, but that’s not your goal.

 

You want them to change their minds.

 

You want to “save” them from their errant ways or in less religious terms, you want to help them or the greater good – and they just don’t understand this.

 

This is a hard situation.

 

It is very hard to convince anyone who holds a different opinion than you do.  
Why? (Because they probably think that they are right.)

 

So how do you do it? How do you convince someone?
I will give you a reasoned, rational approach to use in situations even where reason and logic fail.

 

And, yes, I get the irony of giving you “a reasoned, rational approach” for a situation in which reason and rationality don’t work.

 

 

 

 

Let’s start by talking about debating.

Debating. It doesn’t work.

 

My simplest proof is usually to ask one question: “When was the last time you were convinced in a debate?”

 

I have found very few people (actually, no one) who can tell me about the last time they were involved in a debate and changed their minds as a result of it.

 

Two questions about debating

 

  1. If you’ve never been convinced in a debate, why do you do it?
  2. If it doesn’t work, why do people do it at all?

I don’t have an answer to the first question. Why, if you know that you have never been convinced by a debate, do you continue to argue and debate with people? You’ll have to answer it for yourself.

 

I have an answer to the second question, but it takes us off topic, so I won’t put it here. (Click for an explanation: then search for January 3, 2014.)
So how do you convince people? (Love.)
Religion can give us some insight and help us to answer the question of how to convince someone of something that otherwise they might not believe. After all, how do you convince someone that God is judging, loving, omniscient, or omnipotent? The world doesn’t always seem that way, and yet, billions have been convinced of it. Religion might know something about convincing people.

 

Rodney Stark, a sociologist at the University of Washington, studied how the Jesus movement grew from being a fringe group of fanatics to a movement that gained such popularity so quickly.
I highly recommend his book, The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries.

 

He found is that conversion is done with warmth, kindness, and love.

 

You convince people with attraction, nothing more.

 

If we look at the modern Lubavitch (Chabad) Jews or Mormons, we can learn how they get people to leave previous ideologies and give up bacon, caffeine, and cigarettes.

 

Personality is the key to conversion with attraction. The Jesus movement started with a likable, lovable person. And the people promoting this movement were the same. They were likable and lovable. The most effective missionaries are the people who evoke the most love.  
I am effective in this ministry because you like me. Would you listen to me otherwise when I recommend a book like I did above? How about if I recommended a restaurant or Netflix special? Finally, how about if I recommend to you that you be more loving?  A reason you might consider getting uncomfortable, going against the system, and being more loving is, in part, that you love me. You see that this “love” thing seems to be working for me. And, you, naturally, are attracted to it. Again, because of love. (This is a little meta, but I think we got it.)
More love
So the moral of this article, like so many others, is: 
you need to love more.

 

Love more. Do you want to convince people of your way of thinking? Love them.

 

What appeals to people is not strict logic. Instead, it is the softer virtues, the ones often associated with women and femininity, that appeal to people: congeniality, humility, kindness, and gentleness.  These virtues are not weak at all. They are the basis of love.

 

It is only once an affective bond is formed that thoughts will be effected and minds can be changed. For institutional religious group, it means practicing what the Unification Church in the 1970’s called “love bombing.”

 

Be friendly; be a friend.  After that, those with contrary opinions might come around to your way of thinking. (And, while you wait, at least you are friendly.)

 

If you want someone to change, they have to like you. That is the key. There is an old adage all teachers know: they don’t care what you know until they know that you care.

 

Make certain that those you might want to influence know that you care – and, for most folks, attacking them with logic and arguments is not a way to show that you care.

 

So show the world that you care. Be a bastion of love, not a fortress of logic. Nobody changes their life for logic alone. If that were the case, most people who suffer from a heart attack would change their diet; the fact is that most people who have heart attacks go right back to their previous lifestyle. People change their lives because the mind follows the heart.

 

This is yet another reason for me to tell you, “Go and be loving.”

 

What’s the worst that can happen? They don’t change their minds and you love them anyhow.

 

Amen.

 

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