I get challenged on this from time to time, but it’s something that I’m really interested in. I like to debate. That much is a given fact. But I also like to discuss less heated topics, where one side or the other may not be “right”, but I’m still interested, just as I am in a religious debate, what someone believes and why. However, I get a lot of flack for daring to question the validity of an opinion, no matter how calmly or dispassionately I do so, because apparently, people’s opinions, like their beliefs, should not be open to question.
I don’t get it.
Let me give you an example. I was having a discussion with someone a couple of weeks ago regarding comic books, specifically why we prefer one “brand” of comics over another. I took the position that I liked Marvel comics better than DC. He took the opposite position. I could present a lot of reasons why I thought Marvel was better in my eyes, I might even do a post about it sometime, but then I asked him why he held his position? What brought him to that conclusion? The guy pretty much had a fit and accused me of trying to turn a friendly discussion into a debate.
I never said he was wrong for his opinion, or that he should feel stupid for holding that position, I just wanted to know why he picked it so I could compare it to why I picked my own. I even went into considerable detail, explaining my reasoning and the facts along my path that led me to adopt my position. I have my reasons for thinking the way I do and I have no problem enunciating those reasons.
To be honest, the whole situation confuses me. It’s not like any of these people have seen my bulldog attacks on religion, they have no clue I’m capable of such things. They’ve never seen me be anything but kind and polite and nice. I never denigrated the other person’s preference, I never suggested that DC comics suck or that they were stupid to read them. It really seems that there are people who just hold opinions and have never given a moment’s thought to why they hold them and they get upset if anyone even points out that fact. It’s like having an exchange like:
I like chocolate ice cream.
Oh? And what it is about chocolate ice cream that you like?
How do you have a meaningful discussion with someone like that? It really feels very much like a religious discussion where the theist just assumes their beliefs are true and they shouldn’t have to say anything beyond “I’m right, screw you.”
Sometimes, just trying to communicate calmly drives me crazy.