Friday, August 29, 2014

The Problem with Statements Disguised as Questions

Post by
Michelle Dowell, Contributor

Some people believe that in discussing topics like theology, lots of questions can help. While this may be true, questions aren't always the best in all cases.

Out of fear a person may say a question, but really the question is an opinion disguised as a question. It is a tool to hide an opinion. It's not entirely honest: It's pretending to be inquisitive when really the purpose is to put an opinion out there without taking ownership of it to try to influence a decision or person in some way.

It's fine when a person isn't sure about an opinion he or she has and wants to know what another person thinks, or when a person wants to know what another person really thinks on a subject. The difficulty is when the person asking the question is very sure of what they think the answer should be and honestly doesn't care what the other person thinks.

It is unloving in another way: it requires the person being asked the question to needlessly use energy because they may not know that it's merely a disguised statement, that the person doesn't care about the answer, only about influencing in some way.

Rhetorical questions can be fine, if used appropriately as a literary device and not disguised as an actual question.
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