I try not to read or get into debates on hefty issues (abortion, global warming, politics, euthanasia, religion, etc.) online. The majority of the time, the people arguing know very little about what they’re talking about and they don’t know how to debate in a mature, intelligent way. They throw around insults, use terrible language, cite unreliable sources, and generally prove that they’re not a good champion for their cause – whatever that cause might be.
I think that, no matter what your stance is on a particular issue, that you should try to understand the other side, even if you don’t agree with it and can’t possibly fathom how people can believe it. At least make an attempt to see where the other person might be coming from – and don’t resort to stereotypes. “Oh, you’re a Democrat, so you must be a pot-smoking hippie.” “You’re a Republican, so you must be a religious bigot.” People have many different reasons for believing what they believe, and stereotypes are never correct 100 percent of the time.
A lot of the time, people don’t seem to understand that very, very few of these Internet debates are going to get the other person to miraculously change their mind and “convert” to the other side. From what I’ve seen, Internet debates end up getting everyone on both sides angry. What’s the point of arguing if you’re not going to get the other person to understand and you’re only going to get frustrated? To me, it’s just a waste of energy and time.
About a month ago, I made the “mistake” of posting my opinion of a political book on one of my own blogs (not this one). Almost immediately, someone from the opposing side of the issue began to attack me and question my views. It seemed like all they wanted to do was argue and pick a fight, so I stayed out of it. I never asked to argue. I never wanted a debate on the subject. I was simply stating my opinion about a book I had enjoyed. If someone else’s opinion is going to irritate you that much, stop reading. Don’t attack the other person simply because their views on one subject might differ from yours.
What saddened me about that situation was that when I visited that other person’s blog, it seemed that they had a lot in common with me – we both liked writing and reading, and we had similar backgrounds. Had the circumstances been different, we probably would have been friends.
That’s why I don’t like to post about hefty issues. I don’t like starting arguments that will more than likely lead nowhere. Respect that the other person’s opinion differs from yours for whatever reason, and simply agree to disagree. If you claim to have an open mind on a variety of subjects, then read about both sides of the issue. Seek to understand first, then to be understood. Shouldn’t that be common sense?