March 8, 2008

Please, "Enlighten" Me

There are a couple of topics that get me fired up. That's probably an understatement of sorts. Some of you can probably guess what those topics are without much thought as we've had conversations on them personally.

I fully respect other people's opinions. I know that everyone is entitled to what they believe in and can make choices based upon what they think is in the best interest for their family. I will sit and listen to your argument and respect it completely if you can back it up. I don't always have to accept it but I promise I will respect it.
What I struggle with is when people just follow something blindly and don't research it for themselves. Don't just sit there and spout words at me without being able to prove them.

Perhaps it's the research scientist in me.

Being on numerous discussion boards it's inevitable that these same topics that get me fired up come up time after time on the forums. I try to watch what I post in response to them. I know they are topics that can become heated very quickly. And nothing will get someone's defenses up more quickly that disagreeing with what they believe in. When I do post I try to do it in a manner that is non-threatening, in an attempt to dispel misconceptions people may have or explain the other side of the debate. I will admit that there are times that I probably don't post objectively; sometimes I take it too personally and let my beliefs cloud what I say.

I've been in a "discussion" of sorts for the past few days regarding one of my "hot-button" issues. I've stayed calm and even sincerely thanked someone for proving something I said wrong (even though I did try to show her how irrelevant her proof was). Yesterday though one of the girls told me that she disagreed with me, but didn't want to get into a debate. She had been "enlightened" by her nutritionist on the subject but due to the charter of the discussion board she couldn't post the proof, i.e. the websites that her arguments come from.

It took me almost 24 hours to sit down and compose a response. The whole time I stewed about it. Perhaps I took it the wrong way (which I'm sure I did) but her post came as though her nutritionist was a guru on this topic and since she had was "enlightened" by said nutritionist, I obviously didn't know what I was talking about.

So my question for today...which holds more value? Being enlightened? Or educated?

(That last statement -- totally facetious in case you couldn't tell.)


Flying Monkeys said...

You should try listening without the eye rolling, it makes it more convincing that you're respecting someone's opinion. ;)
That's the beauty about beliefs, I don't have to give you the proof to believe it, it's enough that I believe it myself. I don't understand A LOT of what other people believe in but they do and that's their business as long as it's not harming others.
Sometimes we get stuck in our own beliefs so much that it wouldn't matter if a letter came certified by our higher power affirming the other person's opinion, we would still think the other person is a moron for what they think.
Maybe she didn't want to argue with you or offer you proof because she knows that you may tell her that her references are flawed because you have your own that disagree. IDK JMO.
While you're feeling disrespected for not having your evidence appreciated or your opinion for that matter, I can tell you that I have felt disrespected when someone else has discounted my beliefs and effort to form an opinion by trying to show me how much better their proof is. They aren't the only people who can read and think. Maybe you're doubting my abilites to form an intelligent opinion right now because you're painfully aware of my difficulties with technology but it's never been something required in my daily life, I've needed to learn or have been passionate about. See, there I go trying to defend myself before you get in the strike. I can't be preemptive about the eye rolls, I'm sure they happened with the 1st sentence.;)
Tell the lotion loader Beavis says Holla!

Katy said...

Sometimes they're the same thing.

KarenMM said...

I've gotten into those kinds of conversations before. Totally know what you mean and where you are coming from!

Susan said...

I respect you for being so OPEN to looking at every angle on a subject.

On the other hand, I think you should run to your fridge and take a small sip from your old friend, "diet coke." :)

I'm a bad, bad friend!

Andrea said...

IMO, they're pretty much the same thing. It's hard to know what to say when I don't know the situation that you're referring to. But good for you for not getting angry and lashing out, no matter how frustrating it was.