Respecting others’ opinions

Many of our most intense disagreements arise from situations where there is more than one good opinion, so don’t be so quick to shoot others down because of what they believe.

The world has never been smaller and we’ve never been closer to people of different backgrounds than we are today. We are immersed in a world where Christians, Muslims, atheists, Brits, Mongolians, Communists and those under dictator rule are but a click away.

With so many different belief systems – political, religious, cultural, social and moral to name but a few – now part of a global, inter-weaving conversation, we’re surrounded by people who have very different views on a wide range of issues.

We have to acknowledge that, while in some disagreements there is clearly a wrong position and a right one, (many) others have two (or more) very good solutions.

While I (as likely you) have an opinion on a wide range of these, such as abortion, euthanasia and gay rights, I have to acknowledge where the other party is coming from.

In the case of abortion, while I have beliefs one way, I’d be a fool to consider that my point of view is the only correct or valid one. The world isn’t quite so black and white, and these age-old disagreements are so because they are so grey. On the one hand, abortion is killing something that is alive, whether or not it could survive on its own. On the other hand, should someone be forced into devoting the next two decades of their life to raising a child when it was perhaps not even intentionally, nor desirably, conceived?

Taking emotion out of the equation and thinking about the issue from a purely intellectual and philosophical point of view, it is clear that in this case, no matter which side of the fence you stand on, there are good and valid arguments for considering the other position. And abortion is just one of them.

The point here is that we shouldn’t be so closed off to hearing other people out. It’s important to have opinions, but it’s far more important to be able to see past them and embrace our differences, physically, culturally and morally. We must realise that there is more than one solution to most problems and it would be unfair, elitist and pretentious to believe that our resolution is the better one, or worse yet, the only one.

Have an opinion but don’t let it blind you. Allow it to open your eyes to intelligent discussion and above all, respect and revere people’s’ freedom to have their own opinion no matter how backwards, wrong or vile it may be.

Author: Dave

Dave is many things. Most importantly, he's a husband and a father to Ellie and Jack. Almost as important, he's British (though he lives in Florida). Following on from there, he's a WordPress developer and civil engineer, has an unhealthy love of hummus, is vegan, likes cider, wants to travel to Iceland and Japan, loves solving puzzles and is a realist.

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