Do you enjoy political and/or religious debates?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Leatherneck for Life, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Leatherneck for Life

    Leatherneck for Life Rookie

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    Do you enjoy them when off duty? I'd enjoy them on duty too, but my subject is history, not theology or participation in government. I enjoy them on the internet if they remain civil with as little name-calling and meme-flooding as possible. Same goes for in-person debates and/or discussions with friends or strangers, should it come up.

    One thing I get a lot from some Atheists is that because I'm a Christian and teach at a Christian school, I supposedly reject evolution or even modern science in general. By the way, we do teach actual sciences, including evolution, not "Christian science". Alternatively, extremist Christians think I'm a heretic for accepting evolution as fact. Yeah, I think scientific knowledge is a God-given gift to humanity that we should take full advantage of so we can understand the universe and its endless wonders. Also, the creation story and pretty much most of the Bible was not meant to be taken literally. A lot of it is a collection of parables. Even if it weren't, I see no reason why evolution and intelligent design absolutely must be mutually exclusive.

    Anyway, I'm rambling here. Do you enjoy these kinds of discussions and debates or do you tend to avoid them?
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I tend to avoid them because I don't want to lose friends due to a comment going over one line or another. As I have been known to say, I don't discuss religion, politics, or UFOs.
     
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  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I strongly dislike them. My policy is that I let everyone believe what they want and I want them to let me believe what I want, religion or politics. There's no reason to debate, no one is going to convince the other of their sides.
     
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  5. Mr Magoo

    Mr Magoo Comrade

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    .
     
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  6. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    I love theological and political debates some of the time...I think it depends on mood of me and people I am discussing with. But it can also be extremely challenging for all involved. I have some friends who believe I am an idiot for our differences...perhaps they are right. I admit that most of my close friends and family hold similar beliefs as my own, so I am sheltered in that respect. But I think it's important to be open to deep differences. I can't always do it. ....I do try.
     
  7. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Linguist, I think you hit the nail with your comment - some people see debate as trying to change a point of view. I like to just be able to see where another person is coming from and really understand their pov, without trying to change it. It's when I feel the need to change them that it gets frustrating. (or they try to change me!)
     
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  8. Secondary Teach

    Secondary Teach Companion

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    Yeah, that shocked me too. I once interviewed for a middle school science position in a baptist parochial school, went to the interview and learned that it's essentially a religion class fused with science concepts. I passed on the position, as I know I would've caught flack from the parents for using the curriculum. I agreed with creationist curriculum, but I knew there'd be students in my class and/or parents who wouldn't and I didn't want to deal with that. They were hiring mid year, and I think this is part of the reason the original science teacher had left. It just seemed weird to me that the P kept discussing the religious aspect of the curriculum during the interview. In my head I was saying to myself, yes thanks but no thanks.
    :)
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I do enjoy discussions of that variety, as long as they are with people who are at least minimally educated about the topics and willing/able to be calm. I avoid real-life discussions with people who are unreasonable, irrational, or angry with me for having the opinions I do.

    I used to avoid most political discussions except with close friends and family members who tend to hold opinions similar to mine. Lately I've found myself much more vocal about my political opinions, especially when my audience is on the other side of the issue. Now more than ever I am feeling like it's my job to fight for what I believe in, so I'm starting to do that. I know that it's making some of my close friends and family members (the ones who don't share my political opinions) uncomfortable, but honestly their discomfort is worth less to me than my moral obligation to stand up for what I believe is right. I won't go barging in someplace demanding that everyone hear and accept my opinions, but I won't sit back and be quiet out of a misguided sense of politeness either.

    I tend to think that it's best to avoid "debates" at work.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  10. sjanew15

    sjanew15 Rookie

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    I do enjoy political and religious debates in the right context. I will never hold them at work, because I am relatively new and my coworkers have very different, somewhat extreme views compared to mine. I think those sorts of conversations are not appropriate for work. My views are my own and I do not expect anyone else to bend their views to mine. You believe what you believe and I believe what I like. The only time I take offense to someone is when they have views that are racist, potentially harmful to others or are just out there and they sound like they are going to act on them. Then, I choose my words carefully and I might say something. Otherwise, I have a lot of friends with views that are the polar opposite of mine. Doesn't mean we can't have common interests and do certain things with each other.
     
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  11. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I love them to a point. Of course the problem is that emotions can get high, and I hate feeling that get out of control. When emotions get out of hand, it stops being fun and interesting.

    A good debate in and of itself can be quite enjoyable when all parties are respectful and open-minded.

    This past summer a lady on my team found out I was Mormon and despite having grown up in Utah still asks me lots of questions, mostly about my views on the world. She's a delightful older woman who is great at this.

    My husband is very good at debates and he can do them properly. We're both Mormon, and on our honeymoon we found ourselves hottubbing with a group of Evangelical Christian missionaries. Husband, being much more into debates than I am, got into a very polite theological debate with the guys, while the women found ourselves getting bored and talking about the skiing in the area.

    Honestly, political debates with my husband are the most fun because we're about the same politically... except where we not. Simply put, I'd stick us both on the conservative end of the spectrum. If you asked me to be more specific, I am really a Frankenstein monster of political views and my husband is practically a Tea Partier but with liberal streaks that could make a commune of hippies blush.

    It's a lot of fun to debate those differences.
     
  12. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I like them when I'm engaged with someone who has knowledge of how debates work. Otherwise, people get too worked up personally and it goes really bad. I have one friend who is fantastic at debate. We each will intentionally take the other side even if we agree, just for fun.

    When o teach argumentation to my students, I will make them argue the opposite side at first just to help them keep their personal feelings at bay until then learn proper procedures.
     
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  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Yes, I love them. I like debating in general as long as it stays civil and both parties are open to trying to see things from the others' perspective. Everyone in my family has differing opinions to me and I was raised to believe the same things that they do so I understand other perspectives very well.

    I actually disagree that you cannot change the ideas of others through debate. Perhaps not immediately, but I'm living proof that people's perspectives can be changed through debate. I used to argue against the very things I now argue for, because through argumentation on various forums, I gathered more data, did more research, and learned more about both positions in order to argue, and found that my original position was actually rather weak. No single debate all of a sudden changed my mind, but repeated interactions and periods of research led me to change my ideas (as any good scientist should when faced with strong evidence).

    Interesting fact, we have two science teachers at the public school I teach at that simply do NOT teach evolution (despite it being part of the standards) because of their beliefs. Kids simply don't learn that entire aspect of biology in their classes and it's a bit of a shame. Just thought it was a good contrast because I do know that many religious schools DO teach evolution in science. I think technically these teachers are breaking the law, but I don't want to out them.
     
  14. Leatherneck for Life

    Leatherneck for Life Rookie

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    Fool of a Took! Sorry, I couldn't resist. I love the Lord of the Rings books. Anyway, back on topic. Even if your colleagues aren't breaking the law, aren't they committing professional misconduct? They are science teachers, so by definition, they are there to teach science to students. They can't pick and choose what to teach and what to cut out. I don't know, as a teacher, I do my damnedest to keep my personal beliefs at home and do my job, whether I agree with what's written in the textbooks or not. I'm sure they're decent human beings, but if they are not capable of not letting their personal beliefs get in the way of their work, then maybe they should teach a different subject.

    By the way, Peregrin, what do you teach?
     
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  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I teach science as well, but I'm new to this school. I think these are teachers that have been teaching the same way for many decades probably since before the time when evolution was a required standard and haven't taught or even know much about evolution aside from what their religious doctrine tells them to believe. The problem is that they've been at the school so long, (longer than every administrator probably by 10 times the amount of years) that no admin really wants to hold them accountable for it, and the teachers themselves probably just see this as yet another "thing" that the state/admin/powers-that-be puts on their plate that they can just ignore because there is no repercussions for not teaching it. They (or at least one, I don't know the other very well) are good people and very good teachers. I guess they've just decided they're going to not do something until they can't get away with it anymore. They're both probably close to retirement anyway.
     
  16. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    No, No, Nooo. I hate them. I know where I stand. I know others have their own ideas and opinions. I just can't back everything up on a dime in a debate, argument, conversation, or whatever. I feel much more comfortable discussing my religious beliefs because, quite simply, the teachings don't change. At least not as quickly as the pace of politics. I can't keep up with the day-to-day and minute-to-minute events that happen in DC or anywhere else. And quite frankly, I wouldn't have the time to keep up if I tried or had the inclination. I don't like it enough. These days everything is contencious, and everyone is attacking everyone who disagrees. NO THANK YOU! Now if rational adults would want to sit down and discuss ideas without attacking each other, interrupting, name calling, etc. I might be more open to the idea, but I still wouldn't enjoy it.
     
  17. Leatherneck for Life

    Leatherneck for Life Rookie

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    During the campaign, I confess, I allowed discussion of the candidates. It's hilarious how some teenagers, some of whom can't even drive cars alone yet, act more maturely and civilly when discussing these serious topics than many adults, even those much older than myself.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Religious, no. I have shut down a few in political conversations with actual knowledge of world events....
     
  19. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Nope, I won't participate in them. If someone asks my religion I will tell them but that's about it and I won't debate anything. I don't officially belong to any particular political party so if someone asks about it I tell them I'm not registered with any party. Depending on if you are with the same party as they are, people can start debates or ridiculous rants that I'd rather not be a part of. There are many other interesting things to talk about. I have had to block some people on Facebook because all they do is rant about politics and I really don't care to hear about it. Even if I agree with someone I will not respond! One friend posts some things that to which I want to respond, "YEAH!! YUP!! YOU ARE RIGHT!!" but I just bite my tongue and not get into it at all.
     
  20. renard

    renard Companion

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    Don't mind them at all, but I probably wouldn't if I was American. It's crazy how vicious and partisan it can be there, seems like a blood sport!
     
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  21. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    No to religious debates. Total waste of time. Political debates, absolutely. You might at least occasionally change somebody's mind in a political debate, if you're respectful enough about it.
     
  22. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I think people have the right to their opinions and would never try to change someone's mind on a political issue just to make them agree with me.
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    While I don't care for debates of either kind, I will gladly have a religious discussion with people of other faiths or none at all. In that case it's more about learning and swapping ideas than preaching who is right.
     
  24. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Where are you at?
     
  25. renard

    renard Companion

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    I'm in Canada.
     

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