Discuss Religion and Politics
Posted: 26 May 2017 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I want to dispel the ridiculous notion that politics and religion—arguably the two most important topics to discuss—should not be discussed among family and friends.  I direct this message not to those wary of discussion due to the prevailing taboo, but to those who are not receptive to discussion. 

Do not silence discussion because you are confident and comfortable with your current opinions.  You must engage in discussion to share and evaluate your ideas.  Subject your beliefs to the scrutiny of others.  More important, seek discussion with someone who doesn’t share your opinion.  Ask, “What information or argument would change my mind?” and seek it.  You will either confirm your beliefs or realize that you were wrong; either way, you benefit.  Unless you scrutinize your opinions, you will never know if they are sound.

Do not suppress discussion because you are ignorant of the facts or the arguments surrounding a topic.  Instead, educate yourself and then seek discussion.  Or, seek discussion to gain the facts or information you lack and then research and evaluate what you hear.  If you do not agree, return with new ideas, new arguments, or new evidence.  Absent discussion, you will remain ignorant.

Do not quash conversation in the guise of civility because you are incapable of exchanging ideas in a civil manner.  The one ruining the family dinner is not the one seeking political or religious discussion, but the one who is incapable of responding with civility.  Learn to listen and respond honestly and rationally.  Do not verbally attack your interlocutor; limit your discussion to the topic at hand.  Don’t shun your interlocutor forever if the discussion devolves into hostility; resume the discussion later. 

If we cannot discuss the topics with friends and family—those we trust and whose opinions we value—who can we speak with?  If you perpetuate the silly notion that religion and politics are forbidden, you stifle the free exchange of ideas.

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Posted: 27 May 2017 07:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Any system or set of rules or guidelines (or even just common sense) that I have ever heard or tried requires both sides to come to some sort of agreement. That step rarely happens. Even when I invoke the standard of “science”, with people who know what I mean by that, they use arguments like “you’re science is wrong”. If it’s wrong, your not doing science. Science is probabilities, you’re not wrong, you’re less certain, anyway, I don’t want to go into an explanation of that.

The best example is people who agree global climate change is caused by humans, that vaccines are relatively safe, but believe GMOs are killing us and diet soda gives you brain tumors.

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Posted: 27 May 2017 07:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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One quick of the fast way you will be deserted by your family members much less your so called friends is to debate religion and or politics.  I can give numerous examples of solid friends yet political opposites who never talked about religion or politics.  In fact they will tell you that is probably the reason they remained true life time friends.

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Posted: 28 May 2017 04:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Deros, thanks for commenting.  That your friends and family members might “desert” you, as you put it, does not mean that politics and religion should not be discussed among friends and family.  It means that friends and family should learn to discuss politics and religion in a civil manner . . . without “deserting.”  I refer you back to my original post; it is directed to your very argument.

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Posted: 28 May 2017 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Unfortunately you cannot have a civil discussion with zealots. I’ve had cousins scream at me for presenting facts about man-made climate change. One quit speaking with me when I quoted Bible verses that contradict her “Christian” beliefs. One college classmate unfriended me on FB when I showed her an article about a KKK chapter celebrating Trump’s Electoral College victory. I wish we could have civil discussions, but these people know what they like and like what they know. Facts only enrage them.

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Posted: 28 May 2017 06:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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DarronS, thanks for commenting.  It is unfortunate that many (most?) are incapable of civil/rational/honest discussion.  I directed my initial post not to individuals like you, but to those of whom you speak (i.e. those who scream, shun, and unfriend you when you try to discuss religion and politics).  Those individuals are the ones who, because of the behavior of the kind you cite, perpetuate the sinister piffle that religion and politics are forbidden topics.

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Posted: 28 May 2017 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Being one who never got the rule, just where is the line? My aunts want to blurt out that God is in control, but would consider it rude if I ask what god they mean. Is vaccine science now politics? How about recycling? Or what car to buy, high mileage, american made?

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Posted: 29 May 2017 12:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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tugweltp - 26 May 2017 12:38 PM

I want to dispel the ridiculous notion that politics and religion—arguably the two most important topics to discuss—should not be discussed among family and friends.  I direct this message not to those wary of discussion due to the prevailing taboo, but to those who are not receptive to discussion. 

Do not silence discussion because you are confident and comfortable with your current opinions.  You must engage in discussion to share and evaluate your ideas.  Subject your beliefs to the scrutiny of others.  More important, seek discussion with someone who doesn’t share your opinion.  Ask, “What information or argument would change my mind?” and seek it.  You will either confirm your beliefs or realize that you were wrong; either way, you benefit.  Unless you scrutinize your opinions, you will never know if they are sound.

Do not suppress discussion because you are ignorant of the facts or the arguments surrounding a topic.  Instead, educate yourself and then seek discussion.  Or, seek discussion to gain the facts or information you lack and then research and evaluate what you hear.  If you do not agree, return with new ideas, new arguments, or new evidence.  Absent discussion, you will remain ignorant.

Do not quash conversation in the guise of civility because you are incapable of exchanging ideas in a civil manner.  The one ruining the family dinner is not the one seeking political or religious discussion, but the one who is incapable of responding with civility.  Learn to listen and respond honestly and rationally.  Do not verbally attack your interlocutor; limit your discussion to the topic at hand.  Don’t shun your interlocutor forever if the discussion devolves into hostility; resume the discussion later. 

If we cannot discuss the topics with friends and family—those we trust and whose opinions we value—who can we speak with?  If you perpetuate the silly notion that religion and politics are forbidden, you stifle the free exchange of ideas.

I agree that discussing them shouldn’t be forbidden, but I don’t think they’re particularly important subjects in themselves. Some people care a lot about that stuff, some don’t. Thats the metric to be used imo.

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Posted: 29 May 2017 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Beltane, could you identify a topic more important to discuss than politics (admittedly a category that could include almost anything) or religion (or the lack of religion)?  I think that the two topics are of utmost import, regardless of whether someone cares about them.  For example, consider any topic that you consider important; is that topic unimportant simply because someone somewhere doesn’t care about it?  On the other hand, I do see your other point that if someone doesn’t care about something, it is not important to that person . . . but this is different than saying it is not inherently important.  Agree?

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Posted: 30 May 2017 06:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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tugweltp - 29 May 2017 11:36 AM

Beltane, could you identify a topic more important to discuss than politics (admittedly a category that could include almost anything) or religion (or the lack of religion)?

Money. Women. Family. Hobbies and interests.

I think that the two topics are of utmost import, regardless of whether someone cares about them.  For example, consider any topic that you consider important; is that topic unimportant simply because someone somewhere doesn’t care about it?  On the other hand, I do see your other point that if someone doesn’t care about something, it is not important to that person . . . but this is different than saying it is not inherently important.  Agree?

I see it as specific to the people involved or the situation. Not going to bash anyone who sees it differently, though; at least as long as they don’t push it.

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Posted: 30 May 2017 06:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Beltane - 30 May 2017 06:17 AM
tugweltp - 29 May 2017 11:36 AM

Beltane, could you identify a topic more important to discuss than politics (admittedly a category that could include almost anything) or religion (or the lack of religion)?

Money. Women. Family. Hobbies and interests.

Money and women most important, eh? That’s some pretty shallow thinking. Matter of fact, everything you listed shows a lack of concern about anything beyond your immediate vicinity. Politics and religion affect us all. The things you listed affect you and the people around you, a very small subset of the overall population.

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Posted: 30 May 2017 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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DarronS - 30 May 2017 06:37 AM
Beltane - 30 May 2017 06:17 AM
tugweltp - 29 May 2017 11:36 AM

Beltane, could you identify a topic more important to discuss than politics (admittedly a category that could include almost anything) or religion (or the lack of religion)?

Money. Women. Family. Hobbies and interests.

Money and women most important, eh? That’s some pretty shallow thinking. Matter of fact, everything you listed shows a lack of concern about anything beyond your immediate vicinity. Politics and religion affect us all. The things you listed affect you and the people around you, a very small subset of the overall population.

Well some of us find it boring to talk about politics and religion all the time. Life goes on.

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Posted: 01 June 2017 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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tugweltp - 29 May 2017 11:36 AM

Beltane, could you identify a topic more important to discuss than politics (admittedly a category that could include almost anything) or religion (or the lack of religion)?  I think that the two topics are of utmost import, regardless of whether someone cares about them.  For example, consider any topic that you consider important; is that topic unimportant simply because someone somewhere doesn’t care about it?  On the other hand, I do see your other point that if someone doesn’t care about something, it is not important to that person . . . but this is different than saying it is not inherently important.  Agree?

Important to whom?  And how important?  How broadly are you defining those topics?

I don’t know the circle of people you spend time with any more than you know mine.

What I can tell you is that while nearly all of my family or close friends express opinions about religion and politics, they are in no way the most important issues of concern to them.  At least as expressed to and around me.

Are you really trying to say that every adult should care most about politics and religion and that should be the focus of their lives?  And/or that somehow religion and politics are objectively the most important issues?  If that’s the case, I don’t agree with either position.

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