While doing laps at the track of a nearby recreation area, the IPod was setting the cadence for my stride. (That is a slight exaggeration, since I have never been good at keeping the music’s beat and my feet anywhere close together – never have learned to dance. But, at least I can chew gum and walk at the same time.)
Back to the point at hand–
Joan Baez decided to make an appearance on the music list, singing a Bob Dylan piece. (After listening to Dylan’s rendition on YouTube, I recommend Joan Baez’s version) The expression that grabbed me was “My love winks, she does not bother. She knows too much to argue or to judge.” It comes from the piece “Love minus zero/no limit.”
I don’t know all that Dylan, the author, was thinking nor what was running through Baez’s mind as she interpreted the phrase. Admittedly, it reminded me of the woman of my life who didn’t think it always necessary to have a response, much less a retort, for all she heard. Nonetheless, the phrase appears to have a larger application.
Some people know an area (such as the areas of theology, philosophy, chemistry, sociology, history, physics, biology, etc.) so well that when listening to other people arguing about some part of the overarching discipline the knowledgeable one will simply “wink” and not even enter the argument.
The “knowledgeable” one, aware that the argument is based on ignorance, knows that neither party wants to learn, and perhaps that what is at stake among the arguers is their image, their posture. The argument is not worth entering. Hopefully, of course, said abstention does not contain arrogance.
What has been said about arguing is also true about judging, said Dylan / Baez. Prejudging (having a prejudice) short circuits intelligent conversation and action. Premature verdicts are reached. The “judges” are not willing to listen to what really is at stake. Time is “a wasting” and a decision is needed – now. Unfortunately, when a judgment is demanded before all the relevant information is brought forth, the wise person finds it futile to engage in the discussion. Silence is better (perhaps “golden”), even when the question is, “what is your decision?”
To sum it up – Not all questions deserve an answer that will satisfy the questioner. A question mark at the end doesn’t guarantee that the words strung together in front of it have constructed a valid question.
And . . . . Jesus remained silent when dealing with “bad” questioners. He had no need to argue or pass judgment. His accusers were already filling the hall with plenty of meaningless noise.
Does truth needs to be stated? Yes. Further, does truth need to be explained? Yes. Does truth need to be “defended” or will time take care of that chore, eventually?