When people argue about religion and politics I get suspicious. This is especially true if they are overly defensive or overly critical of people who do not share their point of view. When they do this I suspect that their true reason for wanting to argue has nothing to do with the logic or persuasiveness of their point. I think it has more to do with their desire to feel better about themselves by making other people feel bad about themselves. This is the shame dynamic I have blogged about in many other posts. The notion that shaming their opponents is their true motive tends to impeach the validity of their point of view in my mind.
It does not seem likely that anyone can prove that their political point of view or their religion is any better than any other political point of view or religion. However, there does seem to exist a drive and desire to convince other people that we are right. It seems we want to our ideas to be correct. It seems we want to validate ourselves. This drive has nothing to do with the correctness of our views except to the extent that we hold the correct view in relation to the person we argue with.
The holders of correct views are better and then the holders of incorrect. This is the ego’s line of thinking. But the thoughts are disguised as a logical or philosophical debate. And there can be enjoyment in this space. There is fun to be had. But let’s be honest about what is going on. It’s not about trying to convince someone else that we are right. It is about trying to convince someone that we are better and they are worse by comparison. And why do we want to convince these other people that we are better? So that we can convince ourselves that we are better. And why do we want to be better? I think it is partly because the better people get to push around the less better people. It is probably partly because the better people fear exchanging places with the less better.
In this respect the better people are afraid of the less better people. This applies to me right now as I write this blog. Part of me wants you the reader to think that I’m witty I want to think that I am intelligent. Part of me is afraid that I’m a nobody and that I have nothing important to say and nothing to offer.
I find that when I am in a political or religious debate if I can remain aware of this dynamic I can stop myself from taking it personally. If I am not taking it personally I am less apt to demonize my opponent and become angry with them. If I am not feeding into this negative energy then I suspect my opponent will be less apt to do this as well. Some people cannot help themselves however. There is the temptation to judge them for that. Probably best not to give into that either.