Many of us were taught, from childhood on, that there are two subjects one should never openly discuss – politics and religion.
Given the impact these two forces have on virtually every human in every place, this always seemed very odd advice. Indeed, I have always found them to be two of the most interesting of topics and, therefore, the most worthy of open discussion and even debate.
Now I did (and still do) understand that what my elders really meant was that discussion of either topic was prone to make tempers flare, could cause long-time friendships to dissolve, and sometimes even ended up in outright violence.
But, why should this be? I have pondered this for a very long time then suddenly the obvious answer hit me like a falling stone. (When I experience these insights, I invariably feel quite foolish because I suspect they have long been known to the well informed and are just another illustration that, while I still don’t know a lot, I am beginning to suspect some things.)
At any rate, the simple truth revealed to me this time around is this: Most people get angry when politics or religion are openly discussed because, in both cases, they tend to have very strong feelings and beliefs while being totally clueless about the details behind those feelings and beliefs. That is to say, however strongly they cling to their notions, they can’t explain (in fact, do not know) what they are clinging to. And this simple fact illustrates their ignorance (if not outright stupidity) in front of others whenever their politics or their religions are challenged. They are embarrassed by their obvious ignorance but prefer to lash out rather than seeking the knowledge and understanding that would erase their ignorance.
How can it have taken me so long to see something so simple? Makes me wonder how many other simple facts go right over my old gray head.
Troy L Robinson