(Proverbs 11:14 NASB)
In Proverbs, Solomon often counsels us to obtain advice from a wise man. But instead of obtaining advice from only one wise man, here Solomon directs us to gather advice from many wise men. Why is this?
If many people gave us their advice, but they all agreed with each other on everything, then we would learn nothing new. That is why we need to listen to advisors who disagree with each other.
By hearing from a wide range of opinions,. we are better able to choose the best advice.
(1 Corinthians 11: 18-19)
Wilby had a problem. He didn't know which brand of toothpaste to buy. He decided to try this new opposing viewpoints idea he'd been reading about in The Fallacy Detective.
He decided to go around and ask different people what they thought.
Wendy (a store assistant who offered to help): "This type with Oxy white Pro is guaranteed to make your teeth whiter in twenty four hours." (Wilby noticed that toothpaste brands with the Oxy white Pro sticker were twice the price of other brands.)
Phoebe (a friend of Wilby's): "Wilby, I think you'd have such a cute smile if you tried to get rid of some of those blueberry Popsicle stains in your mouth."
Judd (another friend) : "Toothpaste? What's that? Real men don't brush their teeth."
Wilby's mom: "Wilby, it really doesn't matter, as long as you don't buy anything that contains fluoride additives. You might come down with some terrible disease in a few years if you use fluoride."
Austin (Wilby's co worker) : "I only use Hug A Tree Brand. It's made by a very environmentally conscious company from Denmark. And they promise that they don't test their product on whale."
Bob (who works out at the health club with Wilby) : "I heard on a talk show that if you chew organic mint leaves, then your breath will smell good without having to brush your teeth."
Wilby concluded that he was worrying too much over nothing. He decided to keep using the brand of toothpaste he'd always used. It had always seemed to do the job. But now he understood more about how different people made their decisions.
We gain at least two benefits from looking at opposing viewpoints:
1. By studying new viewpoints, we gain the opportunity to change our own views if we are wrong.
We would never have this opportunity if we only listened to things with which we agreed.
2. By studying new viewpoints, we can better help others. When we study a viewpoint which is wrong, we
still learn many things.
No one has the time to evaluate every viewpoint on every issue, but we all can be diligent to learn more about alternative views.
This is another important part of having an Inquiring Mind.
(The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel & Hans Bluedorn)