How do you know when to speak up when someone says something inanely stupid and when to bite your tongue? I was reading a post about this topic on The Atheist’s Way earlier today. It was specifically about religion, but the topic could be expanded to other areas, such as alternative medicine and the paranormal, as well.
Melissa belongs to a crafting group made up of mostly Christians. At a recent get together, the woman sitting next to her made some incredibly stupid comments, ending with…
“Yeah, look what happened to New Orleans.”
I was flabbergasted. Of course, I know that there are people who actually think that way. They see natural catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina as god’s judgment for sin, and even when I was a Christian, I considered that idea utterly preposterous and appalling. I remember people of faith proclaiming that AIDS was god’s judgment on homosexuality and shaking my head in disgust.
Rarely do I have to sit next to such stunning ignorance, though. Most of the people I know, even the Christians, don’t think that way, and if they do, they keep it to themselves. I sat next to this woman feeling a small war within myself. Should I speak up? Should I point out the obscenity of her assertion that all of the innocent people who died in that disaster deserved it because of some imagined “sinfulness” of New Orleans as a whole? Or should I let it go, not afford her the dignity of any response?
Find out what Melissa did, and read the whole post here.
When and how should we speak up when we hear people say things that are just plain ignorant? And when is it not worth it? What’s the best way to engage people in a discussion, rather then just slapping them down as fools? I know we discuss this a lot here, but I think at this time of year, when many of us spend more time with believing friends and relatives than we normally do, it’s good to think about how we will respond if (when?) weird topics come up in conversation.