Which led into a rather intense discussion about whether or not God allows/makes suffering happen. One of the girls believed that since Christ came, God doesn't allow suffering, and Joni Erikson (sp?) Tada, for example, wasn't believing God for healing, and things along that vein. I think part of the difference in belief was just semantics, because we all believed that God was all-powerful and good.
I just noticed how dramatically different it is to talk about an issue with a group of men than it is with a group of women.
Stereotype warning stereotype warning: I know this does not hold true with all men and all women. I know plenty of exceptions on both sides. But lately I've been discussing/debating more with guys than with a group of girls. AND this is what I've noticed--
Women do everything in their power to keep the relationship in tact, thereby keeping the difference in opinion light and always lightening their viewpoint by saying something like, "but that's just me....I've found this to be true...it seems like it would be...." etc.
Women also use a lot of personal life examples, and so turn the debate into a bonding session. "When I was a girl....I have a friend that.... just last year this happened, and it really...." etc.
If it's getting a bit too heavy, they're more than willing to back off and affirm the relationship and restate points of commonality, usually ending with a hug and a "I'm so glad we talked."
And typically after the discussion, there's a post-debate debriefing with members from both sides (separately). This sounds like gossip, but I think it's usually just an individual relationship-check-up to make sure that all the girls involved still love each other.
I've also had quite a few girlfriends who simply would not debate. They were uncomfortable with the idea. (and of course, had lots who LOVED to debate). generally, generally, generally.
The MEN, on the other hand, seem to state logical arguments concretely, don't apologize or equivocate their opinion, and are overall very frank.
They rarely include emotions in the reasons for thinking/believing a certain way, and don't often use personal examples unless they are quite objective and created to back up their point.
They don't have to agree with the person at the end, and don't often change their point of view... things may be added to it, but they rarely change their basic stance.
All this probably falls under the point of, "well, of course," or maybe I've made somebody flaming mad, but it's just interesting.
I'm used to debating with guys and have always enjoyed debates more than a lot of girls, so I've consciously had to adjust to the girl-way of debating and be less hard-lined than I might be with men.