Disagree or Dissent?

Audio / Produced by The High Calling


In the late 1960s, when national headlines were full of reaction and dissent, historian Daniel Boorstin drew a line between the words dissent and disagreement.

“Disagreement prompts debate,” Mr. Boorstin said. “Dissent means to pull apart from the others. People who disagree can still stand together. Dissenters walk away. Disagreement is democracy's lifeblood. Dissension is its cancer.” Disagreers ask, "Is this right?" Dissenters say, "Is this what I want?"

This is Howard Butt, Jr., of Laity Lodge. We should ask ourselves whether our words prompt healthy debate or fuel painful division. Differences need not divide us—in the high calling of our daily work.

Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

(Titus 3:10-11)

Originally aired in 2003.