Contradictions: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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15 Responses

  1. Jean says:


    This is a very timely article. Thank you for challenging us.

    In a court of law, besides the parties to the dispute, there is the judge and the advocates. I think, rather than being solely advocates, we would do well to learn how to be judges. Judges weigh the evidence presented by both of the advocates before rendering judgment.

    As you indicated, weighing the evidence requires listening. I would add, listening to both sides with as open a mind as humanly possible. I think in many cases, a judge could find validity in the arguments of both parties. Thus, rendering binary thinking a disservice to both sides.

  2. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks and good analogy…

  3. filbertz says:

    Thank you for this contribution. The binary mindset works delightfully well with writing code for computer programs; not so well in human interaction. It seems we are in the perfect storm, but it was forecast by those who predicted a post-modern world and the existential threats it posed to faith, politics, and society. Our focus is on the micro–the symptoms and evidence that something is so wrong, so different, so elusive, yet we aren’t examining the broad sweep of history and movement that can provide us a sense of perspective and wisdom. Contradiction is not uncommon, even in scripture. And what this forces the reader to do is, as you have said, hold the opposing voices in creative tension and let wisdom emerge. We so crave a voice with the “right answer” but that is evidence of binary thinking; scripture places high value on wisdom, its acquisition and usage. Thanks for another thought provoking and helpful contribution.

  4. Duane Arnold says:


    “We so crave a voice with the “right answer” but that is evidence of binary thinking; scripture places high value on wisdom, its acquisition and usage.”

    Absolutely spot on… many thanks!

  5. CM says:

    Remember, there are 10 types of people.

    Those who think in binary and those who don’t.

  6. Dan from Georgia says:


    As an unabashed math geek, I appreciated and enjoyed that comment!

  7. Em says:

    Only prorammers think binary… I think. 😏

  8. Duane Arnold says:


    If only that were the case…

  9. Bride of Christ says:

    I became a Christian my sophomore year attending my university. At the same time I was learning the basics of Christianity I was learning how to think critically as a university student.. I have often pondered the balance educated Christians must strive to achieve. Faith is very much needed, but learning to study the Bible in an educated way is also important. Knowing the meaning of Greek or Hebrew words, or seeking to understand Bible passages in the context of each chapter, Book, and the entire Bible. I wanted to be open to the Holy Spirit and God’s truth; conversely, I wanted to take my pastor’s word as an authority ( but I learned that this should’nt be done blindly.) I always wanted to be open to new ideas and opposing view points, and then pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, but it’s not always easy. I suppose this is why I have always remained a registered Independent voter. I struggled because I didn’t want to be ” so open minded that one’s brains fall out”, as they used to say, but neither did I want to be closed minded and rigid in my thinking. All of my life I have struggled to balance these two ways of understanding the world. It hasn’t been easy, and it often requires study of the scriptures as well as study of current issues such as climate change, science,and even studying past history. Sometimes we are all called to make decisions as difficult as those Solomon himself faced. A more nuanced approach to issues may be too hard and too much work for some Christians so instead they let their pastor tell them what to think, how to vote, and who to pray for. Duane, I hope your wonderful article encourages Christians of this mind set to perhaps consider a more nuanced approach to life. As you said in your article, rigid, binary thinking is causing terrible divisions in our families and in our communities. I can’t believe this is what Jesus wants for us and for our country. A common reprimand in church is, ” Stop sowing division” .Perhaps the churches themselves should follow their own advice and stop acting as if everything is always black and white. An example is how churches gather during this era of Covid19. It ISN’T a binary choice, though many churches are acting as if it were! Churches can meet outside, virtually meet, or meet in smaller socially distanced numbers. It really isn’t either/or; either we meet on Sundays in our traditional ways or we are being or persecuted and the church will cease to exist. Please, let’s be flexible, and let us meet in ways that don’t sow division in our communities!

  10. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks….

  11. CM, lol!

    My 5th grader recently read a book with his class about the story of admin immigrant girl. He told me, “did you know that sometimes Mexicans who were American citizens were deported?” Yes. Cheech Marin’s “Born in East LA” may have been a comedy, but it recalls several times in our past when that happened. My MAGA friends might call me a Liberal, pejoritively, if I were to point this out. On the other side, I might be called other things if I were not to decry… everything, through a lens of racism.

    I’m a POC, one generation off The Rez. My kids are Mexican. I don’t hate America, even though where I came from was a direct result of adopting out Indians to white folk (my birth mother). Right is right and wrong is wrong, but since when is it wrong to ask questions and engage in discussion based around civility?

    I think it greatly depends upon what one personally feels threatened by.

  12. Duane Arnold says:

    The New Victor

    The lack of civil discourse is at the heart of what is wrong, both in our nation and in the Church…

  13. Em says:

    Lack of civil discourse comes from ignorance and/or a poor upbringing …. or you might be from somewhere in Europe 😊
    There is Native American blood in my veins, my grandmother was a bit proud of that – my late husband’s mother was 1/4th Canadian Indian and, for some reason folk in Canada will not admit to that. 🙆
    I always liked the children’s song, “red and yelllow, black and white, they are precious in His sight…. Jesus loves the children of the world. “.
    The only white privilege that i have seen are our churches in every town.. Well, almost every town. ….. haven’t been in all of them 😁

  14. Owen says:

    Great article, Duane……

    One main thing it brings to my mind is how we’ve often forgotten that relationships are more important than the topic discussed…..seems like it becomes more important to be right than to maintain any sort of healthy relationship.

    I think that’s what saddens me the most…

  15. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks.

    “…Seems like it becomes more important to be right than to maintain any sort of healthy relationship.”

    It saddens me as well. All too often an abstract idea is counted of greater importance than the person we’re discussing it with… Something wrong about that…

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