Jewish Arguing

By August 24, 2017Culture

There is something people don’t understand about me that needs to be explained.

When there is a case at hand – I argue it strongly to see if someone else can destroy my argument. This is how I get to the truth.

You could attribute it to my cognitive functions or you could call it 468 truth-telling. It is also the Jewish way. The Old Testament is filled with arguments where one Rabbi says there is a God and the next one says there isn’t, and Jewish rabbis are allowed to be atheists, and questions and challenges are encouraged. For the Jews, Faith is not what they’re after – it’s truth. So, that may seem insignificant since I’m not religious – but it isn’t. It lends itself to an attitude.

In my family, growing up, it was not “disrespectful” to question my parents and prove them wrong in an argument. We would argue back and forth and the stronger argument leads to truth. I even told my father – just because you’re better at arguing doesn’t mean you’re right. The truth stands regardless. The idea was not to WIN the argument (though the competition was fun) but rather, to duke it out until the truth is uncovered.

Jews have a strong business streak, which they have developed due to centuries of persecution and diaspora, and when alone in a new place where everyone hates them and wants to kill them, all they could do was come up with schemes to survive (only the smart/business types survived, the rest were weeded out by the violence). Time is money, and Jews are more concerned with truth and efficiency and making things happen, than turning the other cheek and pleasantries. “Eye for an eye” is the Jewish way rather than “Turn the other cheek.”

The kind of politeness other people have – and also non-committal arguing where they keep repeating that they aren’t sure and being ‘open minded’ and acting like, maybe others might have a point – is not universal, it’s cultural, stemming from Christian nations and their outlook. Jews don’t act polite or half-assed about it – they present their case and ravaging the other person’s argument with EVERYTHING they have in the name of truth.. and this brings out the truth FASTER.

My accountant is more religious Jew. When you call him, you ask a question, he answers, and hangs up. There’s no hello, goodbye. Just answer. If you have two questions, you have to say that when you call. Might sound rude, but it gets to the point.

My family is not quite like that, but his attitude demonstrates how I was raised. No time for bullshit clouding the truth. So, instead of politely and quietly sitting back until everything is figured out, part of the process of how I figure out if something is correct is by arguing about it, seeing what holes come up, and also, seeing if I’m capable of making a strong case. I know I’m decent at arguing, so I can make a case for lots of things, but if people make SUBSTANTIAL POINTS against my case, then that is actually helpful to me.

So me arguing something doesn’t mean I believe it fully, it means I want feedback.  “You argued strongly for something else” is not an argument against any current case I am making.