fall back on Thomas Paine

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

The Praying Mantis Tree. A happy flower of anarchy...
The Praying Mantis Tree. A happy flower of anarchy…

I can only take the above statement ironically. For me it’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people I do know. As in my family, as in where I grew up. I am pointing my figure at my father. It is the kind of finger you use when you are really pissed off too.  Growing up in a patriarchal family, a patriarchal world, meant you could not express yourself unless you wanted to fight. Yelling and screaming was the “pain of independence” * we had to suffer when politics or religion came to the dinner table. To this day I think I am still yelling, unconsciously, to be heard.  I have found  that people I don’t know seem to really not care much about talking politics or religion. Yet, I can usually have a good conversation most of the time. A good discussion means listening and talking; sharing and being respective.  As a person who has a BA in Religious Studies I find this subject very interesting. The reason I did not complete my Master of Arts in Religious Studies is due to the fact that the freedom to learn and express oneself, at Mount Saint Mary’s college in Los Angeles California, became stifling, repressive and downright unfair. I witnessed favoritism towards those individuals who were Catholics. One Sister, department head,  did everything that she could to suppress my creative voice. Yes she was a lot like my father. I left the program. My focus is interfaith. I love talking to people about their faith, their culture as well as their individual unique perspective on religion.  I like listening to atheists and secularists as well.  I do find conservative religions such as the Evangelical tradition, and conservative politics as the Tea Party people: as very difficult people to talk to. These people are like my father. They close their eyes and ears and seem to lack the ability to discuss anything that makes sense to me. So I fall back on Thomas Paine.

The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection. ~ Thomas Paine

In conclusion I cannot agree or disagree with the above quote. I do listen to people I do not know very well. I listen to their perspectives on religion and politics,. I try to discuss religion and politics with people who I know,  but I prefer discussing politics and religion with people I do not know.

* this quote is from Susan Cain’s book Quiet http://www.bookbuddie.com/quiet.html

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