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Friday, May 31, 2013

On Civil Dialogue

I know that it is something of an obsession of mine, but uncivil dialogue in any sphere really gets on my nerves.  This is particularly true in the political (or religious) sphere where people are more apt to be very dogmatic.  One aspect of civil dialogue that I feel is particularly important is relevance and language.  Let me explain.

Today, I was on Twitter retweeting a tweet from Pope Francis.  It was something about God's love (don't exactly remember the details).  Anyway, I accidentally hit the button to view the conversation and saw a bunch of really rude replies like "You killed my vagina." and "Stop molesting kids."  I've noticed things like this any time there is a news article about the Catholic Church.  Actually, I could look at almost any news article and predict some posts that will always be in the reply section.  If President Obama is mentioned, there will be some right wingers railing about his policies even if the policies being mentioned have nothing to do with the article.  If President Bush is mentioned, there will be left wingers talking about how he should be tried for crimes against humanity or similar things.  Again, this is regardless of whether or not the article in question has anything to do with the posts.  If there is an article about a natural disaster, it is virtually guaranteed that there will be a deeply religious right winger saying how it is God's punishment for this or that.  And the list could keep going on....

I have nothing against personal beliefs, but there is a time and a place for everything.  I don't know about anyone else, but I get so incredibly sick of these sorts of things.  People on the left, your rants against religion like the ones mentioned above are the reason many on the right talk about demonic influence in how the right is attacked.  People on the right, the attribution of any natural disaster to a Divine Chastisement is the reason alot of people (and not solely on the left) don't take religious people seriously.

Just think about what you write in replies to articles or tweets or whatever and ask yourself if it is really necessary.  Just because you can do it doesn't mean that you should do it.  Always follow the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  And remember the second greatest Commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Debate charitably and honestly and maybe, just maybe, you can help make the world a better place.