Forums on HubPages
In My Opinion
The HP Forums are a great vehicle for communicating. Just about anything you want to talk about or learn about is out there. It is a place to go if you just want to take a break, have fun, and share jokes and laughter, but it also offers a wealth of information. The topics cover pretty much everything; help with relationships, writing, technology, gardening, cooking and a host of other things. It is as diverse as the people who visit there. You get to meet people from every part of our wonderful planet where you can share ideas, beliefs and feelings.
Although I don't hang out in the forums, I do participate. The forums I am focusing on here are Politics and Religion. I have visited the political and religious forums, but I never linger long. I find that instead of it being an exchange of beliefs and a good back and forth dialogue, it appears to me to be nothing more than a place to vent, mud-sling and practice oneupmanship. It kind of reminds me of the old my dad can beat up your dad.
My observation of what I've seen here in the HP forums, is that the two most volatile topics seem to be politics and religion, and sometimes, relationships, just as it is in life outside of HP. It has been my view that the relationship forum can get ugly, but not as ugly as the political and religious forums. For the purpose of this hub, I am focusing on the political and religious forums.
While visiting those forums, I found that often, what is said is misconstrued. It seems every word is scrutinized and every sentence is dissected, so that the reader can then put his own twist or interpretation to it, and find that one combination of words that he feels he can attack. Quite often, things are taken out of context, which leads to arguing and/or a shouting match.
The thing that disturbs me is how vicious and demeaning people can be when it comes to politics and religion. Obviously, everyone has their own thought process and belief system about those two issues, so it is beyond my comprehension why people feel the need to insist that what they believe is right and what someone else believes is wrong. While it is good to debate these things, perhaps in the hopes of converting someone's beliefs, ultimately, a person will be left with their own beliefs. This is not to say that people can't be swayed one way or the other, they can. At the very least, it does give a person a different path to investigate if they so choose.
I'll give you an example, very simplistically. My daughter and I disagreed about the taste of yellow and white American cheese. As a child, she didn't care for the white. My argument was, they are the same, they have the same taste, they are simply different colors. Well, I was proven wrong. A friend had me put on a blindfold. He then handed me the orange slice, then the white one, and lo and behold, there was a difference in the taste. Why I could only discern the difference by being blindfolded is a mystery to me. So my daughter was right after all. I find it fascinating that one can believe something for years, only to find out much later that they were mistaken all along. Sadly, it is not that simple or that easy when it comes to religion and politics.
Now, I understand that along with similar views there are also the opposing views. I truly am not that naïve. If I were to say black and you were to say ebony, is that a reason to argue? I think not. It is a good thing to have such diversity in life, but I get the feeling that despite all the beliefs and teachings out there, that each group or individual wants everyone to think and feel the same. If that were the case, we'd be a cookie-cutter world. The Stepford Wives comes to mind. It is always a good thing to read about and hear other views on life and to engage in discussions. It is how we expand our horizons and our knowledge base. So ultimately, what a person comes to believe belongs to that person, and the rightness or wrongness of ones belief system will be discovered by that person in due time, and not by a bunch of people insisting that that person's beliefs are wrong.
In the two aforementioned forums, it seems to always come down to I'm right and you're wrong. As an old expression goes, you can take what you like and leave the rest. Why don't people get that?
Certainly, it is healthy to disagree and sometimes, even get loud, but whatever happened to civility? Common courtesy? Respect? An open mind? Didn't our parents raise us better than that? Perhaps not, for some people. While it is true there is no escaping arguments and disagreements or even opposing thoughts, why does it have to be so denigrating? Can't folks just agree to disagree, without it turning into a bashing of ones beliefs? By no means am I suggesting that everyone needs to be nicey-nice, but why can't it be a respectful exchange of opposing thoughts?
By nature, I am not a confrontational person. Perhaps I am just too thin-skinned to be in those two arenas.. Perhaps my thoughts and views are too Pollyanna-like, but I really don't think so, but maybe, just maybe I'm wrong, and I am just a dreamer looking for Utopia.