“…what I noticed that he would keep doing is he’d get into these arguments and then he would de-friend all of the religious people, and when I take a step back and I observe his behavior, what he’s doing is he’s surrounding himself with more and more like-minded people, and he’s removing any other discourse that might… you don’t evolve unless you debate, unless you have a conversation, right? So, he’s just surrounding himself with more like-minded people who share his ideas, and then he’s ranting and venting with those like-minded people about how angry the other side makes them. So now, he’s not even having a debate with the other side, he’s just having a circle-jerk with his own group of friends…” – Josh Olin, JRE #719
I couldn’t agree more. Iron sharpens iron, as they say, so too are opinions sharpened by rubbing them up against other, differing, and even opposing opinions, and being forced to critically think through them, shave away the fat, reinforce the bones, and regardless of the outcome, you come out the other side more informed than you went in. THIS is the only way to have real confidence in your opinions, and the only obstacle to this is the fear that you might be wrong. Don’t fear being wrong, embrace the opportunity to either be more right, or at least to better understand the human beings (and that’s important) whose opinions oppose your own, and why – chances are, it’s not simply because “they’re idiots”. By silencing the opposition, you’re really depriving yourself of an educational/intellectual/spiritual opportunity.
Engage in the discussion. Be respectful. Or don’t, but opt out willfully, not unconsciously by process of elimination. If you opt out, that’s your right, but know that preaching only to your choir is nothing but an ideological security blanket.
Discussion shouldn’t be about proving others wrong, it should be about examining your own ideas, why you believe them, and why the other side believes what they believe. It should be about mutual understanding.