Finally filling this out….
Who am I, and why did I name this place Dinner Table Taboos? Well, as I said in my Welcome post, Dinner Table Taboos is about the three things that conventional wisdom says you never talk about in polite company – politics, religion, and particle physics.
Personally, my family discussed all three regularly, and I like to think we came out of it for the better – parents and kids alike emerging with a better understanding of both generations, and a willingness and ability to view politics and religion with a more critical eye.
Over the years (says the man not yet in his 30’s), at college, work, and school, I’ve seen a distressing trend of people to look at things and just accept them… or, worse, to just accept the word of whoever it is who’s claiming to be the next messiah. And I’ve found that pointing this out tends to cause trouble.
In high school, I was actually penalized (in a very petty manner, nothing actionable of course) for calling attention to the public school’s restrictive religious policies. In college, I had to navigate more than one protest sparked by people who had completely ignored the fact that they had other approaches to take. Rule number one of running a protest – work through official channels first, it’s a lot more effective to say you won’t put up with being ignored when somebody actually is trying to ignoring you. But if you point that out, the best you can usually hope for is being accused of being part of the (apparently inherently racist) “machine.” Even if you say that you agree with their message, just not with the delivery.
I’ve pissed off atheists for saying that they shouldn’t be able to ban prayer or the Pledge, and I’ve pissed off folks on the Religious Right by pointing out that quoting the Bible is only a winning argument if you can defend what it says in the face of rebuttal. But not half as much as I’ve pissed them off by being able to do one right after doing the other.
I walk a political and religious middle ground that appears to irritate a lot of very loud people… but not so many quiet ones.
The greatest weakness of democracy is that it is often run by a loud minority.
But I feel the best way to drown out this minority, and their often emotion-driven messages, is with simple, logical thought. So here I am, trying to present a slightly more balanced, slightly more thought-driven, view of things.
Hope you enjoy the ride!