“Polite Company”

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

DISAGREE.

It is actually almost always a good idea–or certainly neutral–to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know so long as these people are not currently interviewing you for the job of your dreams or something like that.

Discussions of politics and religion often reveal underlying value systems. When broached properly, these discussions can sharpen opinions, help people to pinpoint defining aspects of who they are, and even alter world perceptions. Casual co-passengers on public transportation, strangers in the comments of blogs you follow, and people you recently started dating or friend-dating all have beliefs that shape the culture of communities that we form parts of, whether or not they challenge things we have decided for ourselves.

The small mosque in Fort Worth, Texas without resources to host open community events is no less a fixture in the city than the grand old Baptist Church that hosts biannual revivals, because the absence of either would make Fort Worth fundamentally different. Individual ideologies are what influence people to create and patron these and other such community fixtures such as hunting shops and vegan diners. No person can operate free from the opinions of others, nor can they live without their own worldviews shaping the experiences of others. Because of this, it is healthy to explore, sharpen, focus, tweak, or cement these worldviews as often as possible without being overbearing or preachy, condescending or oppressive.

Key to the exchange–and key to most exchanges in life–is seeking to be understood in stead of merely agreed with and staying conscious of the fact that all of us can and should aim to learn something from everyone that we meet.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/polite-company/”>Polite Company</a>

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