Larry Jordan

Everyone is related, and everything is connected.

"You Might be Right..."

Oct 30, 2022 by Larry Jordan, in The Way

For my first author talk in Crestone, Colorado, I prepared a bunch of notes and printed out a bunch of excerpts, but I spoke off the cuff, anyway. One theme that emerged from the talk was "You might be right." This simple statement has become my mantra.

A friend told me that the earth is 6,000 years old, that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time, and that everyone and everything perished in the big flood.

"I don't think so," I said. "We're at 8,000 feet here. Did the water get this high? Where did the water come from? Where did the water go? How did the kangaroos travel to Australia (and nowhere else?) Why don't we find dinosaur bones in human bellies or human bones in dinosaur bellies?"

Then, I added (and this is the important part) "You might be right." The truth is that I was not here (neither was he) either 6,000 years ago or 14 billion years ago. All theology is speculation. "Orthodoxy" is speculation that is well-accepted, and "heresy" is speculation that is not well-accepted.

"You might be right" is a gracious way to end a conversation without having to advance or retreat. It is also a gracious way to continue a conversation, since when we say, "You might be right," it implies, "or you might be wrong," and that can open the door for further dialogue. It can surprise people, too.

"You might be right" is a small concession. Reasonable people can agree to disagree and to respect each others' perspectives even when they do disagree. Sometimes, I will assess the other person's tolerance by saying, "You might be right. Now, can you say that I might be right?" Many cannot.

Wars are always fought over beliefs, not facts. Alternative facts and fake news and Facebook rants and twitter wars are about beliefs, not facts.

Of course, you might see things differently. You might be right.