Why you should engage in discussion, even if you hate the viewpoint.

So, I recently came across a situation that got me thinking.  I genuinely want to be a part of society, and I genuinely want to either change it for the better, or let society change me for the better.  In life, you will have disagreements all the time, We live in a society of people who love to air their opinions and have no shame in letting the world know (even me writing this is a prime example).
We may remember the recent racial gun shooting case, where there were divided opinions.  Homosexuality was a very divided topic between activists vs. Christians.
There are debates about men liking under 18 in America whereas the age of consent is 16 in other countries.

Throughout these issues, it seems one constant remains:  whatever side is the majority, just puts their offenders on the ignore list.  When heated controversy arrives, the method to win is to disengage.  This is neither healthy nor a step in the right direction for your cause.

I shared my opinion about Pride & prejudice with someone, and gave them my reasons.  They promptly said I was insensitive, stereotyping, and insulting women, and then ignored me from then on (which, by the way, only proves my point that looking for a Darcy is unrealistic because the same person who wants a Mr, Darcy, will likely be too offended to give him a chance; not saying that I fit Darcy’s character, but it certainly only reinforced my belief on P&P, which we’ll get to).  I find it totally fine that she shared these opinions, that’s great, but the problem is that she’s not willing to engage on why I’m so insulting, stereotypical, etc.  Believe it or not, I would have at least listened.  I may have countered with arguments with why I disagree, but I also may have considered her view as well.  If all you do is say, “you’re a jerk, you’re a swear word, you have no idea what you’re talking about,” then educate me.  Just putting it off only leads to a viewpoint of confirming what I already suspected, because it comes off as you have no argument, you’re just taking offense.  When that happens, it leads me to a decision of I’m right and you’re wrong, EVEN IF I am wrong and you’re right.

When the homosexuality debate came about in regards to gay marriage, I was a bit taken aback at how it was handled, by both sides.  It seemed like both Christians and homosexuals were expressing the sentiment, “this is why we’re right, oh that’s your view?  Well whatever, goodbye.”  Again, this isn’t healthy.  I would have liked to hear more arguments.  For example, one argument was that animals engage in homosexual behavior, and animals are natural.  It sort of made sense, but after thinking about it, I also thought, well, animals also kill each other, mate with seventeen different partners a week, and some animals practice cannibalism (or whatever the word is for when animals eat each other).  So I thought, that doesn’t mean humans should take the example of animals (understand I’m not trying to take a side on that issue, it is merely for the effect of what I’m trying to explain).  Christians often complain that they were bullied into silence when trying to express their viewpoint.  We don’t want to engage.  Again, educate them, don’t just say they’re idiots.

I recently watched a film entitled “Are All Men Pedophiles?” in which the director analyzes why he believed America is wrong for setting the age of consent to 18 when most societies hold it at 16.He contests that this was a modern change based on education, and not on maturity level, and that it’s normal for men to be attracted to 16 and 17 (referred to as hebephilia).  As you could probably guess, the comments on IMDB shout how much they are offended at his nonsense, but very few of them give a rational, researched answer.  If I were to make the argument, I would contest that girls that age have too many responsibilities as it is, that their education should be important, that there are emotional consequences for being with a girl so young; while they SAY they are emotionally mature, it seems more common that they find themselves heartbroken when rejected by a more “mature” or older man.  Again, all I’m saying is that we need to be honest and not compromise our talk when someone comes off as rude or mean, because honestly, it really just means they are passionate about their view.  Again, educate them.

There is difference between someone who just starts attacking you, saying you’re a swear word or so and so, and someone who just really takes offense to your VIEW.  It’s ok to back off from someone who is just calling you names or whatever, and I also think it’s ok to take a break, and say something like, “ok, look, I’d like to talk about this, but let’s do it later so we can gather some thoughts and cool down.”  Totally ok with that.  Responding to a legitimate viewpoint as “YOURE AN IDIOT” gets you nowhere.

If you want to change the world you live in, you have to teach the world you live in.