The Moon Landings Never Happened: A Case For Constructive Conversation in a World Full of Conflict and Disagreement

Drake De Long-Farmer
5 min readOct 29, 2021


Have you ever been in a conversation where you thought, “you’re joking right?” You do a mental double-take and for a second you seriously wonder if what you are hearing (or reading) is actually satire. You wonder if you are the only one in the room that isn’t getting the punch line. It is like you are sitting there and listening to someone trying to convince you that the moon landings never happened and they are doing so with complete sincerity.

In my vocation, I interact with a lot of different people from a variety of backgrounds, convictions and beliefs. Most everyone has an opinion on something with a passion driving that opinion. On some occasions, the conversation can get animated as people generally want others to see the value of that passion. The truth is, we all have values and convictions that have shaped us and drive us and we should have an avenue to share those things. How else could we learn from differing perspectives and be challenged by opposing views unless we give the opportunity to dialogue?


Differing perspectives isn’t a bad thing, and honestly, we shouldn’t be scared to get excited and animated on things we believe in and value. The issue is when a conversation leaves the grounds of respect and reason. Let me explain. If a person becomes less than charitable in the manner in which they are dialoguing or worse begins to defend something that leaves basic understandings of reality and reason at the door, then that conversation is in danger of no longer being useful or constructive (for the hearer or the speaker).

Just recently I had one of those conversations and it left much to be desired. This person made a very bold claim and more than implied that if you held anything different, your devotion to God was in question. I should have left the conversation alone, but I couldn’t help myself and I decided to poke the bear and ask some questions. Was that a mistake! The moment he got a sniff that I might even hold a differing perspective on the topic, I was bombarded with a slew of criticisms questioning my faithfulness as a pastor, my belief in the ‘plain reading of scripture’ and if my faith was truly authentic. He both left the realm of respect by attacking me as a person instead of defending his point and abandoned sound logic and reason by confusing the essentials and secondaries of truth.


As Christians, there are definitely some essentials to our faith; we call them ‘revealed truths’. These are the things that build the foundation of that faith. But there are also what is called ‘speculative truths’ that have many different perspectives and are debated. It is when we confuse these two and elevate ‘speculative truths’ to the level of ‘revealed truths’ that we go terribly wrong.

This is exactly what was happening here. This ‘gentleman’ not only confused the topic at hand, which easily fell into the category of speculative truth, but was unable to separate the two. Everything in his view of reality was black and white and should be treated as revealed truth.

The same principle can be implied to almost anything in life and how we dialogue with others on a wide variety of topics. We should have the liberty to share our deep-rooted convictions with others, challenging diverse points of view, but we must also be willing to listen, not confusing the essentials with the debated and be careful not to become so closed-minded that there is no room to grow.


On the same day, I received some messages from a friend who had similar concerns about the same topic, yet not connected to the first conversation.

What was different about the second interaction was that every question that was asked came from a place of trying to understand, grow, and bring up some concerns she had. By the end of the conversation, we didn’t see 100% eye to eye on the matter, but I was encouraged by the conversation and deeply respected her position and even considered deeply and attempted to implement some of her thoughts because the whole situation was approached completely differently.

Not only did she stay in the realm of respect and reason and recognize that we were speaking on a topic that fell into speculative truth, but all her questions and challenges came from a place of mutual learning. She started in a position of first trying to understand what I actually believed, why I held that view and how I came to that position and from there: dialogued, listened and challenged.

See, so often we forget this simple truth: It isn’t so much what we say but how we say it that allows for constructive conversation. The first conversation had loads of questions directed at me, but they were questions of condemnation. He wasn’t interested in dialogue or even trying to understand, he simply asked questions to attempt to trap me and lay judgement on me. He wasn’t simply confident in his conviction, he was holding a position of utter certainty with no room to be challenged or grow. The sad reality is that this kind of approach doesn’t encourage dialogue and constructive conversation, it actually shuts it down.

While on the other hand, my concerned friend asked questions of clarification. She did want to challenge me and did want her concerns heard, but she did it out of a position of also being teachable and was trying to, first and foremost, understand where I was coming from and better understand the why, what and how. Only after this, where both people were heard and understood, could constructive conversation happen.

The former closes dialogue and assumes that we cannot learn anything else, and worse, it scuttles our ability to actually influence others for the better. The latter fosters dialogue and allows mutual learning and can actually influence people towards real change. The million-dollar question being “do you simply want to make a point, or do you want to see change.”


I would challenge to say that the target we are to aim for is to come to a conversation from a place of deep conviction and confidence, yet not utter certainty with no room to grow or be challenged. The latter puts a ceiling on people while the former has endless possibilities. The latter can be driven out of fear and pride, while the former is driven by faith and love.Ultimately we want to help create spaces to help people to learnand grow. I love how my friend Dr. Martin Trench put it, “how to think, not simply what to think”

So, as we continue to dialogue and converse, let us not forget we do so in community, with diversity of opinion and those on different stages of life’s journey. Let’s walk together in gentleness, love and respect, challenging each other to think deeper on things and always foster dialogue that can lead to real change.



Drake De Long-Farmer

Follower of Jesus, husband, father of four, Executive Pastor at, & author of Addicted To Hope.