A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Daily Prompt: Polite Company

“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?

image source: wikipedia.org

image source: wikipedia.org

It will probably come as no surprise to those who read my blog, I disagree. For those who came to my blog after reading the title, A Western Buddhist‘s Travels, you are forewarned at least about the fact I declare myself right off the bat. Yet I follow blogs, from Christians of different denominations, also Muslim and Jewish, and even other schools of Buddhism. Knowledge can be found all around us, to think that any one path is the only path of making us better people, is what worries me. Back in November 2012 I wrote about Faith without Fanaticism, and believe that the more we openly share our beliefs, with out denigrating others, the more we will find, we are all looking for the same things in life.

As to politics, I was raised with the attitude, if you didn’t vote, you have no right to complain. In some democracies, the winning party has been elected by less than 25% of the eligible voters. This is not rule by the majority, or as my American friends put it, Government of the people, by the people and for the people. Talk about most daily issues, whether it is about the morning commute getting worse, or the over crowded bus, or train you took today. Perhaps you recently endured a garbage strike, or some other interruption of a public service. Notice the cost of items today, globalization was supposed to lower prices, not see them skyrocket, quite often through new taxes added to the price increases. Besides the politicians themselves won’t even follow the concept, of not talking politics with strangers, they will show up at shopping malls, bridge openings, even have the nerve to knock on you door at 9am on a Saturday morning, to talk politics with you.

So, my attitude has been to be open about my beliefs, well about your right to follow your own beliefs. To discuss issues that affect our lives, and the future lives of our descendants, in a way that stimulates our creative thought processes, in hopes of leaving the world in a better shape by the end of the day. However if you also want to discuss where I can find a great cheesecake, or latte, hey I’m all ears.




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8 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Polite Company

  1. Pingback: We Probably Shouldn’t Talk About This – A Daily Prompt Post | Edward Hotspur

  2. I agree! Being true to yourself and your beliefs is important, as important as being kind and wise in conversation…it’s a fine balance, motivated by love for our fellow man.

  3. I think it’s a matter of sensitivity and consideration for the beliefs of the person you are talking to. I am always surprised and disappointed in people who, for example, tell me that atheists are sending the world to hell, and the democrats are (insert complaint of the day) without considering that I am both atheist and democrat. Myself, I avoid politics and religion as much as possible! But, I also agree with your point of view, and know you would never step on someone else’s feelings.
    Voting? yes. We are so lucky to have the right to vote, and people have literally died to give us this right, so I think it is our responsibility to appreciate this and vote.

  4. Pingback: ARSENIC WORDS « hastywords

  5. A very thoughtful post. Although I have respect for all religions, one of my main qualms was sitting through a service and being told that ‘this is the only way’. I have never believed that there is one ‘way’ to spiritual growth, and was always uncomfortable when someone said there was. As you say there are many ways to knowledge, and that’s what I believe. Although Buddhists are certainly capable of being as close-minded as other people, the reason I have taken such joy in studying Buddhism is that, in general, such assertions are not made.

    As for your idea about discussing religion and politics, I for one will not start such a conversation with someone I don’t know, mostly for ‘politeness’ sake. However, I will enter into a discussion once it is started, because, like you said, so many of these things matter to society today and to future generations, so we should not censor ourselves from discussing them. And as a free people, we should use our right to free speech as much as possible.

    That being said, there is always the issue of people being offended. I have noticed that as I have matured, I no longer enter into these conversations to change people’s minds, but just to offer a different view (oddly, it doesn’t matter who I am around, I always have a different opinion about something- I must be quite the contrarian!). So I don’t get offended or frustrated because I don’t expect to change someone’s mind in just one conversation. However, I think others do (because I used to be like that!) which can easily lead to frustration and even name-calling. I think the main reasons people are offended is because they take themselves too seriously, are not patient, and talk more than they are willing to listen.

    • I grew up with exposure within the home, to Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, and Buddhism. One of our neighbours while I grew up was a Jewish Rabbi, and another firend of my father’s was a Muslim. So while I repect all, I choose to follow Buddhism. My point of not avoiding these topics, is that when the teachings that give us our moral values are avoided, what do we use to make our decisions? If someone is uncomfortable, I will change the phrases, but never the basis of my beliefs, for they are what I stand on. There is an old saying, If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  6. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Polite Company « Code For Confession

  7. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Polite Company « Dibbler Dabbler

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