Anyone who knows me understands that I am the ultimate peacemaker, generally able to lead meetings in a respectful manner that listens to everyone’s perspective and is able to bring people together for a successful compromise. These days, however, it seems more and more difficult to do. Perhaps my naïveté has kept me from seeing it before, but people can be very steadfast in their beliefs. While it is great that people are passionate towards a cause, there is only black and white with no compromising of thoughts or concessions towards grey.
Never privy to discussions surrounding politics or religion at a dinner table and not a regular Facebook user, I was unprepared for a recent discussion in response to a statement I posted. The statement is unimportant, but the reaction from my “friends” amazed me. People had strong opinions and were not necessarily gentle in sharing them.
People often have strong opinions one way or the other. For example, many people are passionate about the Paleo Diet with the understanding that cavemen survived without carbohydrates, and they were healthy with no evidence of cancer. However, archeological expeditions have dug up huge rocks that were coated with a ground up plant-based material that was assumed used to make a type of carbohydrate-laden tortilla in which to place their meat. Additionally, cavemen only lived until the ripe old age of 25! This is not to negate any actual benefits there may be with the Paleo Diet, but just a demonstration of sometimes there is more to a subject than meets the eye.
People in the 1800s believed that because having slaves was commonplace in the Bible, God meant for people to be slaves, and used this as a justification that slavery was allowable. Of course, now, we all know that this was inhumane and would never be a proponent of such an idea, but during those times, people felt so strongly about their opinions that it started a Civil War.
In the 1900s, women generally gave up any type of work after marriage depending upon the husband to provide support. Common belief was that it was bad if someone else to raise the children! It wasn’t until World War II, when the men were away, that suddenly women were needed in the workplace. After the war ended, many women returned to the profession of a housewife while others chose a different type of work. What passionate discussions must have arisen out of this dilemma!
One topic that fascinates me is the discussion for and against climate change. It is frightening to me that our planet may be warming up and the polar ice is melting at an incredible rate. People who live on the coastline must be even more concerned as the added water infringes upon their property, often sinking houses into the ocean on the California coast. On the other hand, climate change has been happening since the world existed. I was recently reminded of this when watching the television show “Young Sheldon”. A high school student interested in geology demonstrated that Pangaea was one huge continent that started to break apart 175 million years ago. On a globe, one can see that the American continent fits neatly against the African continent, forming Pangaea. Unbelievable!
My only point is that for every opinion, there is often an equal and opposite opinion, the validity of which is solid in the mind of the believer. If a compromise cannot be found, let us respectfully agree to disagree with the understanding that everyone is entitled to his or her own beliefs. However, in reality there may be no black or white answers, only grey.