“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree? – The Daily Post
The thing about politics, religion and other topical…well…topics (I couldn’t resist), is that they tend to connect people. Bonding takes place among individuals when there are common interests. But I’ve also found that sometimes conflicts bring people together. Some of my best friendships were formed after heated discussions, flaring tempers and mismanaged words. Whatever the case may be, we’d have to open ourselves to the risks that lie in sharing our views on politics and religion.
Some of the most memorable conversations I’ve had have been with people I barely knew. So as I think about this question, I’m asking myself, “Why would I not want to discuss politics or religion with people unfamiliar to me?” Isn’t the point of conversation to engage, learn and/or impart? Perhaps if the goal of such discussions is just to air my views, maybe I shouldn’t talk to anyone…about anything…period. Conversations, discussions, or whatever we may call them, are not just about ideas. They are about people. So if every time I open my mouth to speak, I am just fixed on making my voice heard, then I should probably only talk to myself. No one wants to listen to a self-centered speaker who doesn’t care to hear the opinions of others. Whatever our strong views are, we owe it to people to show respect for them, even if we disagree with the stances they take.
Here’s my bottom line – any interaction with people we don’t know is ridden with risk. There’s hardly a way to predict responses. A simple “how are you” can emit the most outrageous of answers and could end up in quarrels. I believe there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. And I think if we find the right way, we should feel free to voice our opinions and raise discussions about things we strongly believe in. And in so doing, we might discover meaningful encounters with strangers waiting to be friends. We might find enemies who need extra grace. We might find different perspectives that challenge ours and which help us solidify what we say we believe. But I’ve found that the greatest discovery has been that I do have the right to share my ideas as much as others, and somehow, I agree. Somehow, I burst past the fear of not knowing how to answer, or what to ask next, what to think and I launch into a place of such renewed confidence.
So I say, speak up!