"No Politics! No Religion!"

In many places, whether at the dinner table, at work or on some internet forums, we can hear the mantra: "No Politics! No Religion!".

The logic behind this plea is that those hot topics are considered divisive. People tend to have strong opinions about them and tempers tend to flare. Thus, in order to prevent disputes in some social settings, we are often encouraged to avoid discussing politics and religion.

This approach is short-sighted and even damaging.

I believe both politics and spirituality to be the most important topics of all. They touch to the core of who we are as individuals and who we are as a community.

Politics, in its most noble aspect, is the discussion about the organization of our society, our life in common, and the management of our common property, hopefully in view of the common good. For a collectivity, there cannot be any more important topic.

Spirituality, or religion, is about our inner selves, our inner growth, as human beings. We may have different opinions or perspectives on the topic. We may be theist, deist, atheist, monotheist, polytheist, agnostic, humanist, pagan, etc. and we may disagree on many things. But certainly we can agree that seeking self improvement is a good thing.

We absolutely need to learn to respect our differences. We need to learn to build on what unites us, instead of lettings ourselves be divided by those differences. So by saying "No Politics! No Religion!", we are actually telling people that they do not need to learn mutual respect, mutual acceptance. They see differences as so many insurmountable barriers. This attitude prevents people from seeing what is good in the other person's perspective. The "No Politics! No Religion!" invective robs us from the opportunity to face our demons and from the opportunity to overcome them.

So, my rallying cry is: "Let's discuss politics and religion!! Those are the most important topics of all!" However, this is important, we need to learn how to do so in the utmost respect for different perspectives. Instead of striving at any cost to make people see that "we are right and they are wrong", we should simply make our case calmly and in the best possible way, listen to the others' thoughts on the matter, in acceptance of whatever outcome there may be. Importantly, we need to learn to be swayed by others. Sometimes, we are wrong, not them!

I posted this article in the site governance section to make it plain that: not only is discussion about politics welcome here, but so is discussion about religion. Let each member feel free to say whatever they want to say about those topics. However the usual moderation policies will prevail: I will not tolerate flame wars, insults, coercion, etc. Instead, together, we must nurture a spirit of acceptance, collective and individual freedom of belief and opinions, mutual respect, mutual understanding, and personal humility.