Saturday, December 17, 2011

Politics and Religion

For Americans, until next November, there will be an open discussion of politics. As it has this fall, it will be on the web, in newspapers, on the lips of friends, family and opposition. Odd for a country that spends a lot of time stating we do not discuss religion or politics, because it starts arguments.
So what?
1.  A fact or statement used to support a proposition; a reason.
2.  A verbal dispute; a quarrel.
3.  A process of reasoning.
4.  (philosophy, logic) A series of statements organized so that the final statement is a conclusion which is intended to follow logically from the preceding statements, which function as premises.
Three out of these four definitions for ARGUMENT should be right on for sharing facts, supporting reasoning, organizing thoughts and reaching conclusions – right?

So, why not include politics and religion?  Because they are divisive, we’re told.  Discussing them places us on one side or the other, not bringing us together. So, we don’t discuss two items that have the greatest of impacts on our lives.

Stop it!!  Or, actually, start it.  Talk about what is important, doing so after organizing both facts and statements.  Understand the source of beliefs, principles, opinions and absolutes that not only we hold dear, but those we consider in opposition.  That’s biblically based:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15 KJV)

That’s part of the problem – we do not speak with meekness, and we have phobias (φοβου) about giving answers, not the deep-seated respectable fear of what we cannot know, but a phobic fear of the unknown, the things we must accept on faith.

We accept our politicians on faith, based on what they say, what they’ve done, who supports or opposes, but not knowing what the future will bring in response to their promises.  We do the same for our religion (or lack thereof.) A civil, learning/teaching discussion of either is enlightening.

I am appalled (and offended) by the Comment sections on web news sites, were the postings do not approach civility, teach rudeness, decline to learn except in very rare cases and most often degenerate into verbal fisticuffs. Invariably, after four or five comments, there will be posts that are specifically demeaning to another poster’s politics, religion, race, nationality or other personal attribute, filled with rage, hate or both. I stop reading when I reach the first of those.

It is possible to question the source of a person’s opinion without demeaning their character while doing so. And, it is possible to give an answer to such a question in the same manner.

Let’s make a commitment to keep civility in all of our own discussions, then expect the same in return. Politely leave discussions that do not remain civil, stating (politely, please!) the reason for leaving.  Perhaps it will catch on, people can share, study and learn whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11b)

1 comment:

  1. People will stand up and argue over the smallest things, but when it comes to speaking the real truth, they won't do it and they themselves are offended. But the truth is the only thing that will set any of us free! We need to stop being scared of causing arugments. You are right, we do need to speak the truth in meekness and let the Lord take care of the rest.


Thank you for taking time to read and comment on the blog. Comments should take into consideration this verse: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)