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DP: Religion & Politics — Who CAN we talk to?

“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?

Like discussing religion or politics with people you do know is a real party?

Like discussing religion or politics with people you do know well (and therefore increasing the likelihood that the beliefs under discussion are similar already) will sharpen your position, challenge your presuppositions, open your eyes?

Like discussing religion or politics remains thoughtful, civil, purposed?

Religion and politics are hot-button,broad-ranging topics that invite debate, and, more often than is useful, spawn rancor in the ‘debaters’ for anyone clinging to the opposing view. Rather undermines family relations and friendships wouldn’t you say?

Far better to reserve such personal (and therefore right) opinions, attitudes of superiority, or the unsubstantiated but tightly held beliefs that lead to pointless debate and bitter ill-will for the ‘people you don’t really know.’

Wait a minute. That can’t be right either.

It’s a risky venture to discuss religion and politics, period. Strained family relationships and broken friendships can result. But saying “never” invites the exception, and to it, I go. Thoughtful, informed citizens — you know, neighbors, friends, co-workers, family, people living in community — may disagree from time to time about the most important issues that concern us. Sometimes, shock of shocks, I myself don’t think rightly or reasonably concerning this or that political or religious question. Perhaps I’m misinformed or just plain ignorant. Maybe I’ve never thought about a particular issue before, because it just never came up in my daily goings and comings. Or, maybe I have been deceived. Maybe I’ve just preferred an idea that personally suited me, but doesn’t hold up under careful scrutiny. Politics — involving governance — ought to concern us all, for we are, generally speaking, the ‘governed.’ Religion — popularly involving matters of belief/faith and sometimes even deity — may concern us, and hints at truths that ought to (and eventually will) matter to us all. To never discuss life’s more (and most!) significant issues with those I don’t know very well limits my impact on the piece of the globe I inhabit. How can I ever be effective if I ‘never’ talk to people I don’t know? Especially about issues that matter?!

Ironically, the very prompt is sent to people the prompter doesn’t know very well (or at all). I do love that. I can’t help but suspect a point is subtly being made…

Discussing politics and religion demands civility, strongly-founded understandings, and genuine care and concern for the ones with whom I share the conversation. Whether or not I know them well isn’t the issue. Caring about them, and caring about true answers is. Grace & Truth should be the first guests invited to any great discussion regarding just about any great thing. Politics and Religion included.


5 thoughts on “DP: Religion & Politics — Who CAN we talk to?

  1. Your Beckiness – the relationship between Janie and her brother-in-law (Janie’s sister’s husband), was almost severed this past Thanksgiving over politics. Sheesh! Oh how tricky to navigate those waters…

    • It’s nearly impossible! We hold so tightly to our own views. We cannot bear to think we might be wrong. We are positive the other side is wrong all through (well, because it IS!) 🙂 such a challenge. winning the argument trumps preserving the relationship, and sometimes, preserving the relationship isn’t worth it if we disagree so profoundly on such a significant issue… ah, caught between rocks and hard places. and always at the holidays, right? damnable irony.

  2. Pingback: ARSENIC WORDS « hastywords

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