“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?
What do you think I do here, on my blog? Of those who follow my blog, who REALLY knows me. Who knows me at all. If anyone of you are friends of mine on Facebook, then you’ve met me at some point, or else we wouldn’t be friends. Well, Facebook friends. Not that I would accept anyone into my friends list if I didn’t like them, but who really knows me?
The people who do know me also know where I stand on the topics of Religion and Politics. Either we agree, or we disagree, but there’s not much talk about it. Talking to the people I don’t know yet, well, that’s where there’s potential do develop and learn new points of view! Of course, it is unlikely that my views are going to change drastically from talking to strangers about it, and I probably won’t convert anyone to atheism or convince them that an altruistic economic system will bring us more progress at our stage of cultural development than capitalism, and that’s not the point.
What is the point of it, then?
It’s really just about expressing myself, about being heard, or read, in this case. Other people like to express themselves differently, and they are free to do so. Some people don’t want to express themselves at all, and while I find that regrettable, the freedom to express oneself also includes the freedom from expressing oneself.
The only problem arises when people use their ability for expression for hurtful expression. Violence is also a form of expression, psychological, social and physical alike. No matter what one talks about, expressing yourself around strangers may be hurtful, and the strangers may be inclined to hurt back. That is not only true about religion and politics, but since they both deal with ideology, discussions may get very personal very quickly, and sometimes even violent.
I had sort of an incident at a party, when I was 16. I was out with a friend, and we met a few people in the woods, drinking, partying. We got along with everyone just fine, until someone started hating on foreigners. I was young, drunk, and felt kind of provoked, because I was a foreigner, even though not of the kind he was talking about. So I told him to shut up, or I would make him shut up. More hurtful words fell, then punches were thrown, and I had myself my very first real brawl that was not just for the fun of it. I used to do that a lot with my brother and friends, and nobody really got hurt. Well, I wasn’t badly injured, just a little hemorrhaged below my left eye, while he was spitting some of his molars after the fight, but he seemed to be used to it. Nobody had bothered to keep us apart, and after we were done, we drank a few more beers to show that we could put that kind of thing behind us.
I just felt a flight of nostalgia. I know the fight was pointless, as violence usually is, but those were fun times. I am philosophically committed to pacifism, but in my heart, I will always remain a fighter.