Don't talk about religion or politics, do you follow this rule?

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#1 Posted by RE_Player1 (8054 posts) -

I used to be pretty open about my views on things but recently I have decided to follow this old rule and not talk about religion or politics. Yes an interesting conversation could emerge but 90% of the time it ends up going somewhere I don't like and an argument happens or I think less of that person for having a certain view. People get so riled up over these topics that it's not worth it anymore in my humble opinion. What about you guys? Do you follow this rule or is nothing off limits?

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#2 Edited by Hot_Karl (3321 posts) -

I abso-friggin'-lutely follow this rule, at least when I'm first starting to get to know a person. If I'm interested in knowing more about them, I might delve a bit more into religious beliefs (ask if they believe in God, why or why not; usually doesn't go much further than that, plus I won't date a girl who has strong beliefs in God, since I'm not interested in joining a religion), but since I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to politics (I don't follow politics; don't even think I'm really qualified to vote), I never have that open as a topic of discussion. 

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#3 Posted by N7 (4159 posts) -

It's like you're reading my mind. I'm going to follow you now.

But to the question in hand: Totally. I always follow that rule because it has NEVER once ended somewhere respectable and decent, without outside interference with the moderation team. I mean, it's cool to hear what other people think, it doesn't bother me. But, call me paranoid, it seems like whenever I say something it's like "Oh look at this guy. He's wrong. Let's call him out on how his belief and the way he was raised is wrong." And from there, it just spirals downward and the only smart thing to do is leave and never go back to that discussion.

That's why I also don't talk about consoles, really. It seems like, even when you do get a good discussion started, someone just HAS to ruin it. And it's amazing to see how easy it is to turn a completely innocent and harmless discussion into World War 3. Which is also most of the reason I went to the Official Playstation forums(As it was focused on the system I actually owned). We got a bunch of 360-goers over there, and it hardly ever broke into an argument, and when it did, it was either not a console war or it was so stupid that it wasn't even worth noting.

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#4 Posted by deactivated-59a31562f0e29 (1212 posts) -

Not as a blanket rule but I certainly don't get into arguments on the internet. 

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#5 Posted by JJWeatherman (15101 posts) -

I find people's religious beliefs pretty fascinating. I'm always interested to hear their point of view and discuss my own. I don't think I'll ever understand why some people do the things they do, but I feel like I should keep trying.

Perhaps I'll give up at some point.
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#6 Posted by RE_Player1 (8054 posts) -
@JJWeatherman I pretty much started to give up when I couldn't have a conversation about religion without someone being astounded I don't believe in God, at least for the moment. I'd always be interested about people's beliefs and ask them what they believe. I never went into why they believed it in great detail or tried to stump them with a question, I just thought it would be interesting to know but after awhile I got tired of hearing, " Well how can you not believe in God with (insert random example that the person thinks associates with God)?" Now I also went to a Catholic high school so it was pretty much this 90% of the time the topic came up.
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#7 Edited by mfpantst (2659 posts) -

I'm not a huge fan of discussing either.  so yes.

Edit: not true.  I'm not a huge fan of divulging my opinions on either.  so partially yes.  I'll discuss them (though rarely will I bring them up), but often I'll use a proxy for my opinions.

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#8 Posted by sociald1077 (283 posts) -

Generally I follow this rule, in my daily life and on the net. 

The only thing that it leads to is flame wars.

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#9 Posted by ZimboDK (863 posts) -

Those are the 2 subjects I never participate in. It never leads to anything good.

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#10 Posted by PenguinDust (13092 posts) -

Yep.  It's too divisive and needlessly stressful.  Face it, you're never going to change someone else's opinions on these subjects anyway, so why get into a huff about it?  These two subjects are too personal for people and discounting their beliefs is like insulting them personally.  I feel it would be less offensive to tell someone they're ugly rather than say their religious or political beliefs are wrong.  I'm not someone who enjoys conflict, so I steer clear of any topic that will assuredly lead to discord on a personal level.  Stick to movies, sports, the weather and other frivolous diversions.  That way no one walks away offended.   

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#11 Posted by Hawk456 (153 posts) -

I'd love to participate in the discussion but as a rule I don't talk about talking about religion or politics... that's why God invented professional sports
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#12 Posted by ShiftyMagician (2190 posts) -

I only follow the rule when I get a good idea the other party can't think outside the closed-minded attitude of thinking you are unbelievable for not believing in their deity or for not siding in their political alignment.  I don't follow it if I'm talking to someone more open and rational about whichever topic gets discussed. 

It's the matter of figuring out who is keen on talking about it with a level-head which is usually the difficult part, not the actual topics themselves.  Even sensitive topics can be had with level-headed people, but throw in one nut into the conversation and it is almost-instantly over before it started.

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#13 Edited by FlyingRat (1454 posts) -

I don't see why i would. Follow that rule i mean.

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#14 Posted by Everyones_A_Critic (6500 posts) -

I used to, but I hardly ever do anymore. I've accepted the fact that, hey, I'm 19, and my viewpoints are contradictory and change with the seasons. I've realized that a lot of my opinions formed in high school are way too black and white, even my religious philosophies have changed. In high school I was a self-proclaimed atheist, and now I hesitate to refer to myself as one. I'm certainly not the practicing Catholic I was raised to be, but I'm not as against the idea of a god as I once was. Essentially, my religious beliefs these days can be summed up in this quote:

 "Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid." -Marcus Aurelius

Also, I've found that political arguments on this site are very intricate and call for a knowledge of history and political science that I simply can't match and don't care to match. Which is why I sit on the sidelines and make sarcastic remarks about either side of the argument hoping to get a laugh.

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#15 Posted by craigbo180 (1763 posts) -

I follow this rule on the internet.

Its just not funny if you can't actually see them raging.
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#16 Edited by Mechanical_Ape (273 posts) -

I am currently working towards a Masters degree in Political Science. If there is one thing my education has taught me, it is to never discuss politics with other people. It is usually a waste or time and not worth the hassle or effort. Most people have deeply ingrained ideas, and there is little you can say or do to dissuade them.

If anything, my education has made it even worse for me. Many people have incorrect notions about even basic political concepts. Usually this is because they never learned about it in school or heard someone else say something and just assumed it was true. It is difficult to tell someone that something they always believed to be true is incorrect. Discussing politics with someone very knowledgeable can be fun, but those opportunities are few and far between, especially on the internet.

As for religion, I just have no interest in discussing it. Religion doesn't interest me and means very little, so I don't bother talking about it. I will if someone really wants to, but I avoid it otherwise.

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#17 Edited by HitmanAgent47 (8553 posts) -

Now I am not going to talk about religion, not only does it gets atheist mad, it also gets religious fanatical nuts mad. Don't get me wrong, I do indentify with the christian religion, I always supported talks of religion until I met someone who was fanatical about it and made me realise, maybe there is a certain line you shouldn't cross. I might occassionally say stuff like ppl are demons, or memetic stuff like that, but not talk directly about the christian religion itself if possible. But I talk non stop about politics.

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#18 Posted by fox01313 (5254 posts) -

Well when I come to a site like Giant Bomb I mainly want to talk about games, as religion & politics are so highly subjective from person to person, talking about them in general seems silly as you will get billions of different viewpoints which I really don't want to comb through to read them all.

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#19 Posted by crusader8463 (14802 posts) -

Kind of. I will talk about politics to just about anyone, but I always avoid religion shit because the only people in my family I talk to are crazy religious people so I just don't bring up the topic. There is no point to it anyway, because it's just going to end in arguing. They believe what they want to, and I will what I will. As long as they don't try to push their beliefs on me I don't care.

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#20 Posted by KittenMitten (115 posts) -

I only bring these things up with family and close friends. With other people I have no objection talking about these things if they bring them up, unless it is apparent they are crazy.

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#21 Posted by UncleClassy (406 posts) -

I usually wouldn't talk about things like that with a total stranger or an acquaintance, but I definitely have with my friends who I've known for the past 12 years.
Even if things do start turning into an argument we respect each other enough to just stop.

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#22 Posted by RavioliSumo (2232 posts) -

I always do my best to follow this rule.

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#23 Posted by zudthespud (3325 posts) -

I try really hard to keep to the rule for religion, but I get pissed off easily when people justify their actions with religion. Spending time with my faith healer aunt is really awkward. 

Regarding politics, I'm not partisan and when discussing issues with people it usually ends up being good natured but I don't do it very often. I have no time for actual politicians (British politicians at least), they act like little children, they are pathetic. 
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#24 Posted by Samaritan (1729 posts) -

AB-SO-LUTELY. The number of intelligent conversations I've had after religion or politics were brought up is like a percent of a percent of the ones that weren't intelligent or just spun out into chaos. So it's never worth it for me. 

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#25 Posted by Azteck (7415 posts) -

At least on the internet, I follow that rule. Very, very strictly.

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#26 Posted by WickedCobra03 (2309 posts) -

For the most part; yes.  I am not usually one to preach or even throw my beliefs out in public., so I usually don't have a problem with that.  Although, if someone straight away asks me a question about it, I will give them an answer.

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#27 Posted by jmic75 (278 posts) -

Having a discussion on politics can be fine as you can put forward facts and figures to make a to  discussions on religion those pretty much boil down to who can shout the loudest and make the most outlandest statements; i.e. THE (insert religious text here) IS FACT! 

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#28 Posted by babblinmule (1280 posts) -

I don't talk much about politics because alot of people I know are so far down the rabbit hole that its not even worth bothering. However I do talk about religion with a few friends in real life - a few of them are mormons who genuinely like to debate with me on the topic. After 10 years of them attempting to convert me, both sides are really rather good at debating religion and so we all enjoy talking it over in the pub occassionally on evenings (obviously they drink coke and there is very rarely any malice involved in the discussions.)

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#29 Posted by RE_Player1 (8054 posts) -
@zudthespud I'm guilty of that on a couple of occasions regarding your religion rule and how you break it. When people use their faith as an excuse to get away with things... I sometimes can't contain it. I remember one time in high school my former girlfriends' friend was talking to me about how she feels better after cheating on her boyfriend because she went to church and said a couple prayers... I got into it with her because I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.
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#30 Posted by Sanj (3255 posts) -

Yeah I pretty much follow this rule. 

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#31 Posted by Guided_By_Tigers (8020 posts) -

I never discuss politics and only discuss religion when someone is being a dick about someone elses beliefs.

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#32 Posted by S0ndor (2718 posts) -

I usually contribute to topics about religion, often insulting radicals and conservatives. I feel it is my duty as a citizen of this world.

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#33 Posted by zudthespud (3325 posts) -
@RE_Player92: It doesn't even need to be like that, I was just reading a news article about how Angela Merkel is being bashed by politicians for seeming to enjoy Osama's death too much. The one line I really got pissed off at was:

 A Green Party member of parliament, Katrin Goering-Eckardt, said: "As a Christian, I can only say that there is no reason to celebrate when someone is killed intentionally." 

It's suggesting that if you are only offended because someone is telling you to be, as if you would have no reason to be otherwise. Kind of ridiculous as me, someone who isn't religious, agrees with your basic point so it obviously has nothing to do with your religious beliefs.

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#34 Edited by floodiastus (1288 posts) -
@RE_Player92 said:

" I used to be pretty open about my views on things but recently I have decided to follow this old rule and not talk about religion or politics. Yes an interesting conversation could emerge but 90% of the time it ends up going somewhere I don't like and an argument happens or I think less of that person for having a certain view. People get so riled up over these topics that it's not worth it anymore in my humble opinion. What about you guys? Do you follow this rule or is nothing off limits? "

Rules are for religious people, common sense is for atheists.
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#35 Posted by KaosAngel (14251 posts) -

Fuck no, first thing I ask a chick I'm about to sleep with is what she thinks of President Bush.

If she says something negative, I move on to the next one.  Talking politics first lets you understand if the person you're going to spend time with is crazy or not.

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#36 Posted by ajamafalous (13818 posts) -

I always avoid it. It tends to be one of those subjects that makes people think less of you if you aren't on their side.

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#37 Edited by PaulM (148 posts) -
Im starting to think this should be my policy on the internet

I'm not the type of person who can't be friends with someone who has different opinions even oposit opinions as long as I like other aspects of their personality but i feel like their is less to gain from having those conversations over the internet 

I am glad Giantbomb's policy is to shy away from politics or religion though it's not what i come to the site for
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#38 Edited by FesteringNeon (2288 posts) -

.It's just not something we need to argue about. If you believe something in either of these two areas, great tell your personal friends. It's just not the greatest friendly conversation to have.. especially on a videogame website between many countries . (I do think of you guys as family in a way!) :D

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#39 Posted by melcene (3214 posts) -

There are some topics that I know to generally avoid within the religion and political realms.  Some topics I will be careful to remain fairly neutral or at least devil's advocate for both sides.  And the rest... fair game.  But I like to think I usually remain mature in those discussions.

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#40 Posted by Brendan (9216 posts) -

I always have, but these days I mostly just shut up and listen rather than talk about my point of view, because conversations go better.  This has also been true for my recent better luck with the opposite sex.  And fellow employees.  Professors.  Friends.  Family.  I've actually just been way better off by talking a lot less.

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#41 Posted by Metric_Outlaw (1202 posts) -

Yea I agree, its pretty much 90% with me, unless I know its with an intelligent person that I won't get into an argument with.

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#42 Posted by InternetCrab (1582 posts) -

Yeah i do, i don't talk about it all unless it's really with someone that also is a christian or has the same politic views as me. I used to talk Religion and politics to a new person i'm getting to know, but not anymore.
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#43 Posted by Commisar123 (1957 posts) -

I certainly try especially on the internet, you can never have a reasonable conversation about that stuff on the internet

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#44 Posted by phish09 (1136 posts) -

It's absolutely fine if you're discussing these topics with friends or anonymous strangers on the internet, but they are definitely topics you steer away from in business.  When I have a customer come in the store I'll pretty openly discuss most topics of conversation except religion, politics and sex.  The fact is, I don't care about their opinions on those subjects and they certainly shouldn't care about mine.

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#45 Posted by dudeglove (13763 posts) -

The problem with those two particular subjects is that they're completely subjective. It's not like debating scientific matters. So no, I don't.

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#46 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5924 posts) -

It only applies when I talk to stupid people.

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#47 Posted by Nowayman (50 posts) -
@JJWeatherman said:
"I find people's religious beliefs pretty fascinating. I'm always interested to hear their point of view and discuss my own. I don't think I'll ever understand why some people do the things they do, but I feel like I should keep trying.

Perhaps I'll give up at some point.
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#48 Posted by Vexxan (4636 posts) -

Don't feed the fires, nothing good comes out of such discussions.

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#49 Posted by Yanngc33 (4551 posts) -

After that ginnormous OBL death thread everybody's political views are pretty clear

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#50 Posted by RJMacReady (361 posts) -

If i don't know somebodies politics i can't truly know them. If they don't have politics then they simply havn't considered what institutional arrangements they would support. So no, i have to talk about politics. Religion is a little more arbitrary to me, i don't feel as threatened by it.