May 12, 2017

On Preaching to the Choir

My husband observed this morning that he must be hanging out in the wrong places online. When I asked him why, he told me that he just didn't see anyone saying anything good about President Trump. He loves Facebook because so many of his former students are following him. Maybe everyone that disagreed with him unfriended him back in December.

That comment got me to thinking about how we feed on our own ideas and opinions. We are simply blown away with our wonderful reasoning and thoughts. And we love preaching to the choir.*
A business in Hood River Oregon
posted this sign in front. I admired
their courage.

Could it be that by simply avoiding the views of other people we become lopsided in our opinions. In our own little world no one disagrees, we are saintly and kind and good and sure of our own place in the universe.

So if one day along comes a stranger with a different opinion, not a bad opinion yet somehow not the same as ours, we are shaken and surprised. We can forget about that other world, the one where people don't agree with us. We don't even realize that on those Facebook pages we do not see or cannot see, we are not considered to be correct.

I think there is a danger in that. My Facebook followers are people that feel like I do about pretty much everything. If they don't agree, they hide their opinions. When I post an article there, I can be almost certain that no one will disagree with is very safe. In my personal life, we all agree to disagree and never talk about politics or religion.

I think that the reason we don't hear or see people saying good things about Trump is because we simply don't want to discuss our ideas with people that do like him...see what I mean? We avoid the experience even in our online life. I personally find it pretty hard not to disagree when I am among them and disagreement makes us all feel bad.

So would it help if I went outside my comfort zone and spent more time with those that don't agree with me? Could I change anything...perhaps even my perception of those that hold opposite views? Maybe I need to quit preaching to the choir and endure a little pain.

What do you think?


*'Preaching to the choir' (also sometimes spelled quire) is of US origin. It clearly refers to the pointlessness of a preacher attempting to convert those who, by their presence in church, have already demonstrated their faith.

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Tami Von Zalez said...

I saw online or heard a commentator talking about the how we tend to stay in the circle of people and ideas that are comfortable to us - and I am very much paraphrasing. The gist of it is that you have to make an effort to seek out other points of view. I read everything (or try to), including those political views I don't agree with.
I believe it was Tim Allen that likened the Hollywood political climate to 30's Germany - you don't dare express your opinion esp. if it is contrary to the liberal left. That is not a true comparison, as we know, but I couldn't imagine being a Republican actor in a mainly Democratic industry.

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

You are so right. It truly depends on how comfortable you are with listening to different opinions AND how comfortable you are in your own skin. It could be that discussing politics is just not a good idea. I am a liberal Democrat living in a Republican world. It is not easy at all.

I find personally that putting some distance between myself that the whole conundrum helps more than anything. A good time out can be invaluable.

Have a great day Tami!

Geo. said...

I found early on that expressing my opinions to others about war, peace and government by discussion could cause vigorous arguments, hurt feelings, estrangements. By the time I was in my 30s, I confined comments to subjects that involved concerns of common ground. I defined myself as a gardener. Good things grew from that.

DJan said...

I also avoid politics on my blog because I'm sure there are people out there just trolling the internet looking for people to disparage. I did, once after the election, post something about how sad I was about it, and I heard from family that there were some upset but not surprised by that post. I also don't put anything political on Facebook. What's the point? Plus I just want to find out how family and friends are doing. :-)

Kathy @ SMART Living said...

Hi Barbara! You definitely raise a good question with this. I agree that I mostly live in a bubble but I am trying to read and listen to a few others who see things differently than I do--but it's not easy. I believe because I tend to take things too personally, I take what is happening politically and see the danger there to people and things that I love. But as you say, that doesn't get us to a middle ground where we can begin to understand each other. Obviously the deep divide in our country has been around a while and appears to be growing. But as an optimist I am hopeful that someway, someday, we can learn to live peacefully together. ~Kathy

Mona McGinnis said...

Something I remind myself of often - it's easy to say you're a nice person when you live by yourself.

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

You are very wise...I define myself as a teacher and a public servant. Sometimes it is good and sometimes it is not! I am amazed at how many people have a negative feeling about teachers in general. It is hurtful I think.

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

I think that your way of doing things is perfect. I am just not that detached from everything that goes on around me. I wish I were but I am not!

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

Yes, I am a Pollyanna of sort and I do think that we will be consumed by something that brings us together. That happens in times of crisis or war. I do hope that is not what it takes to bring a sense of togetherness in this country.

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

Boy, isn't that the truth! It is not the perfect solution but staying at home is often a good thing. I try not to leave the house when I am cranky! :)

Tom Sightings said...

I myself have tried to avoid the anti-Trump pile on, because what's the point? But I do think that both the government and the media are more polarized than the country is -- in part because it seems the only way to get attention is to shout something even more polarizing than the next person.

Sally Wessely said...

I'm pretty opinionated even in social media. I was taught to express my beliefs and stand by them. I was also taught to respectfully listen to and engage in discussions with those whom think differently than I do. I think open and free discussions that differ in thought are essential to a healthy society, but what I see happening during these times is a lack of civility and a lack of tolerance for diversity in thought. If we don't express group think, it seems we get unfriended in our social media sites. To me that is a shallow approach to life.

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