Followers

Facebook Badge

Athena Smith's Facebook profile

Sunday, March 2

Freedom of Ignorance

FREEDOM OF IGNORANCE
Steven Derocher, February 27, 2008

Tolerance seems to be losing its popularity. We see evidence of this in the acts of violence and hate toward religious institutions across the world. However, some still espouse this vanishing virtue. One such individual is Krister Stendahl. He is the dean of Harvard Divinity School. He also spent a few years as the Lutheran bishop of Stockholm. In a meeting with the press in Sweden, Stendahl outlined three principles that he thought should govern our discussions of the religious beliefs of other people:

“(1) If you want to know what others believe, ask them. Don't ask their critics or their enemies. (2) When looking at the religious faith of others, compare your best with their best, not their worst with your best. (3) Always leave room for ‘holy envy.’"

Krister Stendahl is not of my religion. In fact, Lutherans have a great many differences with my faith. However, he encourages understanding and open-mindedness. This non-judgmental attitude has helped me appreciate Lutherans’ beliefs, as well as the beliefs of others. When I want to know what Lutherans believe, I will ask a Lutheran. When I want to know what Jews believe, I will ask a Jew. If I want to know what a skeptic believes, I will ask a skeptic. And upon comparing doctrine, as Stendahl suggests, I will compare bests with bests. This leads to “holy envy,” or, in other words, sincere appreciation of another’s convictions.

Fran├žois Voltaire taught, “Love truth, but pardon error.” I can appreciate this conviction, and it appears to be illustrative of Voltaire’s “best.” In my consideration of his life’s work, I choose ignore the fact that he was a known skeptic, often leaving little room for “holy envy.” He once said, “Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.” This is an obviously unfair statement. His biased, narrow-minded conclusion borders on absurdity. In this instance, Voltaire’s observation certainly could have been more generous.

According to a survey conducted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), 10 percent of Americans said they believe Muslims worship a moon god. CAIR also reported nearly 2,000 complaints of harassment, violence and discriminatory treatment in 2005, which was a 30 percent increase from incidents reported in the U.S. in 2004. This, says CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, is largely due to a “negative and politically charged environment on the Internet and talk radio.” Keep in mind these statistics can only be gathered from the discriminatory acts that are reported. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/18/AR2006091800597.html)

Again, I am not Muslim. And again, their doctrine varies from that of my own religion. But I don’t have to be Muslim or even a member of CAIR to see the connection between false propaganda and discrimination.* I cannot understand how anyone would feel justified in believing things about a group they didn’t hear from one of its members. By this same gullible logic I would rather take my Suzuki to a Ford dealership for difficult repairs than I would to the Suzuki dealership. Perpetuating the intolerant ignorance would be just the same as then referring everyone else to the Ford dealership, trash talking the Suzuki dealership in the process.

I fear that too often we would rather agree with those most like us than think for ourselves. Such “mob mentality” is hardly ever founded on reality. When people look to popular opinion for accuracy, trustworthiness is weakened. James A. Haught wrote an essay entitled “Breaking the Last Taboo” over eleven years ago. He begins by citing numerous well-known writers and philosophers. All of the quotations are anti-religion in nature. It almost seems that he takes an innocent, neutral stand, as if to say, “Here is the evidence. I’m just giving you the impartial facts from society’s greatest minds.” As if this wasn’t enough to prove ignorant prejudice, he goes on to contrast these noble opinions with “Christianity’s” worst and darkest deeds. What a perfect example of “comparing bests with worsts!”
There is nothing to be gained from intolerance. Those who feel the need to circulate their opinions about the world should seek thorough understanding.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uum0FUMdejE




Please watch the following before commenting on this article:

video

129 comments:

Stevie-D said...

Sometimes I find myself believing everything I hear on talk radio. The topics and information fascinate me for sure, but I hardly ever pick up a newspaper to get information from a second source.

I do not believe America was founded with the intention of allowing it's citizens to remain ignorant. Furthermore, it frustrates me when I hear someone voice an ignorant opinion on the basis of "freedom of speech." I believe America affords us the opportunity to wisely discern between truth and error, and discourages ignorant protest.

missmeliss said...

I have researched a controversial issue before voicing my opinion. Before I knew exactly about the war in Iraq, I started reading a soldier's blog; a soldier whom I know personally. It was better to read about the horrid situations and conflicts he went through, then to ask him about it and it bring back hatred memories of the times he may want to forget. After thoroughly reading his posts, I found out more information about the war then any newspaper, or news channel can give me; it was a true illustration of the war through a soldier's eyes. After voicing my opinion about the conflicts we as Americans were facing, he stood there and listened; he listened to everything I had to say and also agreed with me. It made me feel better that I had learned more about it, before actually voicing my opinions based on biased news. Also, I don’t think that America “affords” us the freedom to remain ignorant. I think it is dependant on the culture and society. In some cultures, people respect other cultures’ beliefs and/or traditions. It other cultures, their bias attitude, may affect their tolerance for modifications. I think that people should learn more about different cultures and societies without voicing an opinion just from things they’ve read or heard. Ignorance is not handed to individuals; it is placed in them through misconceptions.

Athena Smith said...

Missmeliss
Indeed you may find out what the other side thinks through the blogs. I agree that a soldier's diary (blog) can give you a different angle that you never thought it even existed. I have read the blog of a dying man, and I came out with a totally different understanding and appreciation.

I think we research some things and we tend to ignore others. The areas I research deeply are the medical and political ones. Usually when I go to a doctor's I am quite informed in advance. As for politicians, I always double check what they tell me.
The areas I research the least are the technical ones. I buy what the salesman tells me to buy. I do not think I have the time to research and I feel too tired to sit down and learn.

squeen13 said...

I have researched countless topics before voicing my opinion. I strongly believe in questioning athority, & that "athority" is the media or government. Everything you hear isn't true, so I tend to research many topics I hear. I don't want to sound ignorant if I have a discussion with someone, so I look into the facts before I formulate my opinion. This leads me to formulate a whole, factual opinion that is truely mine, and not one that is formulated from someone's biased point of view.

America's media is so biased. I don't think there is one place one can hear cold, hard facts being presented. The media is biased, and even some foreign information is banned (Aljazeera). So how can one get TRUE information (straight from the source) in order to formulate our own intelligiant and learned opinions? People in America believe everything that they are spoon-fed. They believe everything they are taught and buckle to any "authoritarian" power. Americans are ignorant because they are too lazy to research and find a true, primary source of information. America has the resources such as the internet, library, and a plethora of cultures to get straight to the truth. Americans are ignorant because they choose to be not because they are forced to be.

Stevie-D said...

squeen13
Where is Aljazeera banned?

Athena Smith said...

It is available on the net.
AlJazzer

figlio della lupa said...

I am not American so I think when it comes to this topic my perspective will be different. I grew up in Europe and traveling to a lot of places. I can say I have been fortunate and got to see the world.
I have always been someone to question everything.
I think America tries to keep a certain amount of people ignorant and it's easy to see why. In a way, you could say it was taught in high school. The American educational system seems to be designed to let those with opportunities shine and those that don't have them..stay at the bottom.
Of course you have scholarships and great programs for the poor who want to upgrade their life, but you chain them up to a life of debt. Another example is being in a classroom at HCC. I heard a group of girls talk about Pakistan. One said "I thought we didn't like them?"..this comment bothered me greatly. Not because I am a Paki, but because those girls saw in the media that the US isn't on friendly terms with that nation..so that's automatically their opinion.
Everyone in America is afraid to question things. If you question things, you become an instant outcast. It's dangerous when a society is built like this. Why? because it allows the guys at the top to take liberties.
I recommend everyone to question things. Why? how? when? don't just let the media tell you what to think..you can't see the world through a screen..

Cos said...

Intolerance is largely a factor of unintelligence, maybe close-mindedness also. Although, even educated people are very capable of being biased. It may not be right of us to blindly judge, but it is definitely a part of society and perhaps human nature as a whole. I think we as people would be better off if we researched deeper into the topics, such as religion that we voice our opinions about. Media is very much responsible for one-sided views. These views fill our homes every day, when we turn on the television to the news. Television has become more apart of Americans lives than printed words, and though journalism is supposed to be impartial I often find it to be leading. Religions themselves have the ability to create a sense of judgment, opposing any others with different methodology. In this respect, I feel that this “ignorance” can exist in any sector of society that has pride in its own culture. As long as there is freedom of speech in this country, even the less aware individuals have the right to voice their opinions. It is up to each person to choose to educate themselves

bklynblog said...

I usually rely on info i get from the internet. It generates from word-of-mouth. Obtaining and sticking with a reliable source of information, to me, is very important. I was taught not to long ago that ingnorant isn't bliss. I do agree wit squeen13 on getting the facts before getting into a conversation with someone. I wouldn't want to sound ingnorant either. Fast information is, to me, what people are into today. Commercial ads on t.v. for example, are 30 seconds long on average. They are quick and sum up a lot of information in a short amount of time.

Athena Smith said...

Figlio de la lupa
Ignorance is an inernational phenomenon, not an American one. There is plenty of ignorance around the globe... just think of 9/11. How many people around the world actually believed that 4000 Jews were warnd the night before not to go to work?
The far right in Europe is gaining popular support daily because it is exploiting so well the fear of ignorance. But in the uS it has not gained an inch.... think about it!
I could go on and on and on with a myriad of examples....

Maybe, people in the industrialized world have the weakest excuse of not "investigating" since they have such an access to knowledge.

As for the media, I disagree. In every country you can watch CNN International (not the local CNN) or BBC World that gives you a complete global perpsective. People choose not to watch these channels but the domestic ones. The media -I believe- does offer a diversified product but we choose the "easiest one to digest."

ofe22 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ofe22 said...

We have so much access to information that sometimes it is hard to distinguish wich is accurate and which is not like talk radio, media , neewspapers, internet.I do try to research controversial issues before I voice my opinion .Right now the most important topic I have been resesrching is the election.I watched all the debates and I dont pay any attention to negative commerials on t.v. or radio and if they come to speak in tampa I attend so I can ask my own questions.I do agree that there is ignorance all over there world and these people are publishing books , speaking on the radio,and getting there own shows and if we dont take the the time to research information and stop listening to other people we are spreading the ignorance.

figlio della lupa said...

Athena Smith,
The question seemed to be addressing America so I tried to answer it in such way and not at a global scale. I am aware of the wave of ignorance worldwide. It comes from all sides of the table.
As far as news agencies go, I am aware that several news channels are available. But the fact that they decide to watch the more "digestible" ones I think goes hand in hand with the fact that they don't question things very often and seem to pick the channel that is closer to their perspective.
Even in between American news channels, you can see a difference between who watches fox news and cnn.

DaisyDown23 said...

I have done a little research or have had some first hand knowledge of any controversial topic we have discussed. Any opinion I have expressed without background information on the subject has not been a strong or final opinion. I most certainly do not and would not force my opinion on someone else and smother another individual with what I beleive because I could be entirely wrong. I think America has too many head strong people. And these people take information they see, hear and read and mold it into a variation of the information they've obtained and add it to a priviously formed opinion. Even if the information they obtained was incorrect, they trust the source it came from, therefore it must be true. Ignorance is derived from the the word ignore. I think some Americans turn their back on the truth and see what they want to see or hear what they want to hear. People dont take the time to stop, listen, and research the truth before they form an opionion that is based on inaccurate information.

Stevie-D said...

Wait, wait... we have ignorance in America? When did this happen??

J_Rambo said...

I can't say i go far into researching on controversial issues. I'll repeat things I learn in books I read, and interest facts people have told me. Usually my elders will correct me about most of it which bring about a sense of false knowledge going around most of us. It is easy to be fair since I choose not to fully believe in any religion, but at the same time, can easily believe the lies about some religions because of historic people who were supposed followers. It's fascinating how die-hard people believe in their own religion because they've had it drilled into their heads from day one. It's also a sad realization that religion differences started most of the first wars and continue to play part in most wars. Wars will never end until we agree to be different, peacefully (which will never happen), or end all completely (which will never happen). I guess maybe if everyone believed in just ONE, it might help, but that'll never happen either. All in all, America does allow us the right to speak freely, which allows us to speak wrongfully. With the good comes the bad. I respect that.

kmabe said...

I don't personally always believe what I hear on tv or radio. They are often biased or inconsistent or incomplete. I do prefer to go to the source for my information whenever possible, or I ask someones opinion I trust (usually because I know they have done the reading I haven't), and usually ask where the information was found. I have researched topics my self. Most of what I comment on are thought I would like to think are based on things I have learned through my education.

I don't think most of our citizens are permitted to remain ignorant. I think people ask for new things of one another all the time. I also think what is required is a growing and metamorphosing aspect of our culture. I think we gain as well as lose strong foundations in our country and our culture.

Live Your Life said...

I try to approach every new topic as neutral because that how I was raised and that what I believe I should do as part of my religion. There is a group of people that I do not like and that I would rather not associate with because of their religion but before I made that decision I research their beliefs and witnessed their action. It was after I educated myself that I decided that this particular religion not only goes against everything that I believe in but in itself is dangerous and manipulative. So intolerance isn't merely disliking a certain group of people. I strongly dislike this particular group only because of what I have learned about them. Previous to my research I had no feelings of dislike and no bias, yet made the decision to not like them. Also our government allows for us to be intolerant of other people because we are a free country, free to voice our opinions and to practice our own beliefs, and to live out our lives as we see fit. If our government imposed tolerance upon its citizens then it would be acting intolerant of people who are intolerant, which is hypocritical. tolerance should include everyone, even those who are intolerant, otherwise you yourself are still intolerant.

KathleenB said...

"Ask for forgiveness I will forgive,
If you are willing to forgive please forgive me"

I also believe the United States keeps us from knowing the truth about a lot of things, and I was born and raised right here in Florida. I have also realized, unfortunately it is easy to criticize something or someone you are not educated on. I was floored by some of the customs and beliefs we have learned in class and I see my opinion changing.

If I have been asked this several months ago, I was very angry about 9/11 not just at the attackers, but our government. They promise us security. Our government was supposed to protect all of us from everything. We strongly feel this is the safest place to live, we were raised to believe this, maybe it is a custom. not sure yet I am still learning...Well I feel the government let us down.

As for the attackers I knew nothing of their cultures. Everything I have ever learned was based on News. The News gives you the impression all people in these countries are bad because this is all they know is War, even the Bible talks about the Religious Wars. What I have to stop in remember, especially after I have met many different Nationalities is not everyone is the same. I am sure we all agree their are Terrorist. That is a threat for everyone everywhere. Not what is your bloodline or Religion.

Religion is to be respected no matter what it is, because it is a persons personal Belief that is deep in his or her soul. I was really shocked when I heard many churches have been destroyed. That was at one time an International belief that Churches are sacred ground, they safest place you could be. Even here we see them getting burned because of hate and ignorance. Remember it is easy to criticize what you don't understand.

One particular event that sticks to my mind about the War, shortly after the attacks, please pardon my ignorance. Their was a Religious Holiday in Iran and the whole World stop fighting to allow celebration I believe it was a day of prayer. This was pretty amazing that we had one day of piece so another culture could honor their God. This country was defenseless this whole day. I heard many negative comments about taking advantage of the opportunity and end the war with more destruction.

As an Americans point of view, I see many people starving or in Foster Care or worse right here in the US of many different nationalities, and our government has looked past this, another let down. I have heard many say we can't take care of our own. (That is everyone living in the United States). Maybe that explains the anger it does not excuse it of course.

I guess the best word for all of this is RESPECT.

See ya in class

countrygirl said...

Ok, I have researched a great many different topics before voicing my opinion on them. Unfortunately, I am human and with that said, sometimes I let my opinion be a reflection of what I do hear on television, talk radio, and read in magazines or the newspaper. I am saying that not everything you see or hear is the complete truth and that if you are going to make an opinionated statement, you need to research the issue from all view points. Remember that there are two sides to every story. It reminds me of the 9/11 video that we viewed in class. This video showed us the other view point on the issue. It was a wake up call. I did not realize how it had effected other people. After that day, I am more inclined to research all view points on the issue.

Athena Smith said...

KathleenB
Some newscasters have indeed caused lot of damage by promoting ignorance. But they express their views on their opinion shows, not on the news.
Let me give you some examples:

In April 2003, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly hosted a fundraiser for Best Friends, a charity benefiting inner-city schoolchildren. O'Reilly was trying to fill the time before a singing group connected with the charity, called the Best Men, was set to perform, and quipped: "Does anyone know where the Best Men are? I hope they're not in the parking lot stealing our hubcaps."

Or recently he spoke of Michelle Obama in the following terms:
And I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's how she really feels -- that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever -- then that's legit. We'll track it down.

Please note the association between the race of Mrs Obama and the word “lynching.”

As for CNN, Lou Dobbs, sows sensless paranoia either by ranting about outsourcing which he describes as an assult to middle class America or by fuelling anti-Latino sentiment when he speaks of the "illegal alien invasion." He asked people to feel “violated." He has fuelled anger, a sense of mistreatment and fear.

Or Glen Beck of CNN when he asked Keith Ellison, a Muslim elected to Congress, if he can prove that he is not an enemy of America.

But these are opinion shows and we seem to forget it. When we listen to whomever rants and hollers, remember, it’s like reading an editorial. It’s their opinion, not necessarily a fact. The news itself is far more objective, far more careful. Especially if you watch the international CNN and BBC , then the quality is extraordinary.

Athena Smith said...

But to keep things into a global perspective, the phenomenon is far worse _i believe- elsewhere.
I copy from BBC "Racist killings in Russia are "out of control", according to a report by international human rights watchdog Amnesty International."

Or from the Washington Times "However imperfect, diversity is now a fact of life in U.S. politics. Not so in Europe.

In France and elsewhere, minorities — blacks and Muslims in particular — are only beginning to flex their political muscles.

In Germany, where ethnic Turks make up roughly 10 percent of the population, they hold less than 1 percent of parliamentary seats.

Minorities have even less political clout in countries like Italy and Spain, where immigration is a more recent phenomenon."

Or as the NYT reported, Northern Ireland has become the racist capital of Europe. "According to the report, from April through December 2007, 212 racist incidents were recorded in Northern Ireland, ranging from assault to arson...Belfast, once the engine of violence between Catholics and Protestants, is being seized by a new kind of hostility - racism, fueled in large part by the recent arrival of Asians, blacks, Indians and Pakistanis in Northern Ireland, which in 2001 was still 99% white. Swastikas and racist words now compete for wall space with anti-Catholic vitriol and Protestant murals of paramilitaries carrying assault weapons."

The publishing of the article coincides the news of a Romanian family home being attacked with paint bombs in Co Londonderry.


At the same time European Union decision-makers have failed to adopt an agenda of anti-xenophobic measures and anti-racist resolutions.

So the world of ignorance is alive and well all around us.

heather said...

There are controversial subjects I have researched before voicing my opinion and, I'm sure, just as anyone else, there are others I have not. It makes more sense to know what you're talking about before opening your mouth, of course. However, even when you go through the process of reseaching an issue you may possibly do it from a biased standpoint, almost like writing a persuasive essay. In some aspects I do beleive America affords us to stay in ignorance. I hear the phrase, and do repeat it myself from time to time, "dont belive everything you hear or read", mainly on the internet, newspapers, television, etc. What it boils down to though is, if we can't beleive the information from those resources, where else are we suppose to research it from? Many of these issues pop up in politics, which is the main reason I try to stay out of that information. It's almost impossible to get the honest correct answer when there are so many sides to a story. For instance, the 9/11 video we watched in class. As fair as it was that the man "interviewed" the opinions of the Arabs, I still think he did with a very biased view. When they would give him an opinion in which he beleived to be false, he would immediately become defensive and explain his "correct" view. Therefore, I think ignorance, researched or not, overall comes from what you decide to believe

Lucretia said...

Usually, I do not research a controversial topic before I express my opinion, unless it is a topic which I know nothing about; or something I am curious about. It’s my opinion, I don’t feel I need to have evidence or proof to back it up, its what I think. Too bad if that’s not good enough for you.
As for ignorance in America, it is prevalent. Some people chose to be; some don’t, but most are. It is something that will never change. If anything, it will most likely get worse with the passing of time. I don’t see a point in worrying about it. Why does it matter if America affords us the freedom to remain ignorant? Whether it did or not, there would be immense ignorance regardless. It’s far too late now to even consider an ignorance-free world anyways.

“Fill the cracks in with judicial granite
Because I don't say it, don't mean I ain't thinking it
Next thing you know, they'll take my thoughts away
I know what I said now I must scream
Of the overdose and the lack of mercy killings...
Next thing you know they'll take my thoughts away”

Athena Smith said...

Lucretia
I must say I find the lyrics you add in your comments, quite unique.

phillyfan said...

I have researched information on a specific topic before voiceing my opinion. I believe that many people have a biased up bringing and that because of this it will influence their decisions wheather what they believe is morally right or wrong. I have, on more than one occasion opened my mouth and said something idiotic because i was just talking with out actually researching anything i was talking about. I know i do not stand alone on this especially living in the United States. Americans believe that they are the best in the world just because they are American. They believe that they can do what ever they want, where ever just because of where they come from. This is not true. Saying some things are weird and are bad just because in our culture it is not the norm, again people judge and speak out of tune because they do not know what they are talking about. I have learned my lesson on speaking out of tune just because i thought something was not right, but listening to others, researching for myself i have become more understanding and i believe a better person. I also agree with what stevie-d said at the end of his comment. "freedom of speech"!!!

hrad said...

I usually don’t believe anything I hear until I see the facts. I feel this is a good way to go about things because I don’t want to open my mouth and say the wrong thing. There is ignorance in America’s media and sometimes it’s hard to tell if what is being said is true or false. If ever having to voice my opinion, I’d definitely do research to see how I feel about the subject. I have taught myself while in conversation never to talk about something I have no clue about, I rather ask questions and learn about a topic rather than voice my opinion. I think there should be less opinionated views showed in media and more stories about both sides of a topic.

fporzio said...

I have always looked up information for myself, whether it is about a different religion, political system, or country. I have never been one to simply take someone’s word on anything. I believe that people should always question what they are told and make an informed decision for themselves. I also don’t believe that America “affords” us the freedom to remain ignorant. I think that as Americans we are blessed with access to far more information than many other countries. We have the ability to research anything on the internet, look up anything in a public library, and access the news on TV. I do believe, however, that despite this many people do choose to remain ignorant and should learn to question things more often.

Mony88 said...

I believe ignorance and intolerance is born from viewing or listening to bias view points. Although these view points may be from renowned newspapers and news programs that does not make them true. I believe that the American government tries to keep people ignorant so that they do not have to worry about an uproar from American citizens. I have seen this personally, especially when it comes to Islam. I love to see well educated people go on nationally television and state untrue facts about a religion they know nothing about. It’s even funnier when people believe it and try to restate it and put their own foots in their mouths. Finally, if you want to be well informed on a subject do your own research and have your own view points. Ignorance is bliss.

frankthetank said...

I often believe things that I hear on the radio without finding more information. When I'm interested in the issue then I'll research it, but my opinions ususally stay the same. I guess you could call it ignorance but I have certain things I believe in. Also, I think that people use the "freedom of speech" clause as a crutch to say whatever they want, even when they morally shouldn't. When society isn't interested in what they have to say and basically tells them to shut up, they scream "freedom of speech". I'm sure that our founders didn't want people to speak out of ignorance because it's quite annoying and sometimes unfair.

Mousie101 said...

People need to research before bringing up their views on the issue. Personally, I do not. I know I should. However, I do not believe everything I hear. If I am really unsure about something that I really want to know about, I do research some in order to reach somewhat of an understanding. There are other issues that seem too complex to be able to research completely. Therefore, I tend to leave those alone and not worry about it. I believe it eventually will come to an end. I do not think America meant to bring this “ignorance” about. As others have said, it is society based. There is so much information that is posted on the internet that looks like it can be real, therefore, people believe it is. However, if research about the topic is completed, it is OBVIOUS that no such thing exists. We, as Americans, brought this upon us. We created our nation of ignorance. It is not something thrown upon us and said, “Here deal with it.” It is something that WE brought about as a society.

Riley said...

When I was growing up I had friends of different religions. I was raised Roman Catholic and I had friends that were Hindu, Jewish, and other forms of Christianity. I was interested in Judaism because at the time I was 13 and that is around the same time period as Bar and Bot Mitzvahs. I went to Temple and I had dinners on the Sabbath with my Orthodox Jewish friends and their families occasionally and I would ask them what they were saying in Hebrew and it was very intriguing to me. Also when I was a senior in high school I took a comparative religion class and I did extensive research on different religions. I used the internet to help find information so that I would become a little more knowledgeable about the religions. Sometimes I feel that America does give us the freedom to remain ignorant. However I also feel that people choose to remain ignorant and be intolerant to others. I am a very understanding person and I care about how other people feel. To not be tolerant to other people’s rights is morally wrong. There is no one person that is of more worth than anyone else. They may have more material objects but we should all remember that we are equal. We are all part of the human race. Why are people so quick to judge and forget that we are all human beings is beyond me. All I know is that I am trying to do my best with helping people be more tolerant by discussing with them different cultures and not to stereotype or be prejudice.

jvitale said...

As I grew up and got older I pretty much completely ignore everything I hear on the television, internet, or newspaper until I see facts. I don't believe that America wants its citizens to be ignorant. The reason so many citizens of the United States are so ignorant is because the citizens of the United States make it that way. I see things like this all the time on my favorite channel ESPN, I watch it everyday, and I hear some of the most redicolous things. This is a result of people always trying to find contreversial subjects, and many times the things people say on ESPN are made up.

Megan said...

Ignorance happens to us all. Many times we try to understand but we are given the wrong information. It is hard to be well informed when the media gives us the wrong news or a skewed view. America has the choice of free speech. This free speech allows anyone to say basically anything wither or not it is truthful. How can we become informed if all our attempts are foiled. Every individual has their own views on a subject and when adding all these views together many people become unsure of which is correct. We are ignorant because we believe anyone who acts as they are knowledgeable about a subject, anyone with authority. I attempt to stay well informed, I will watch the news or read a newspaper, yet somehow there is always more I am unaware of. America may attempt to rid ourselves of ignorance, yet it has become very hard.

wanttobefit said...

I know that in my case i will often research something before I say anything about it. Ignorance is somewhat a disease. A disease that many people show when they open their mouths. Though I don't believe that we are all like that, I do believe that it is a factor. It frustrates me when I feel like I can talk about how great our country is and the two tables down I can hear somebody ridicule the soldiers in Iraq or even something as stupid as picking on someone who is bone- skinny, like the person can help the way they are. I feel that the makority of our ignorant citizens are from the younger population and should get a rude awakening to their stupidity.

Hot Stuff 28 said...

I believe that the U.S. as a whole plays a part in the beliefs of many individuals on what goes on in other countries. People in the U.S. get their info form the news, word of mouth, the internet, or in most cases from a biased persons point of view. How can one understand another culture or peoples way of life without first experiencing it, understanding it from a non-biased point of view or simply living in that country. Ignorance will always breed hate, contempt,racism, and one-mindedness. Fix that, and people will learn to understand and appreciate other countries as opposed to viewing them in disdain, and as the U.S. would put it "Third World Countries."

mdowd said...

Most television or radio reporting that I have ever heard is either biased, plain wrong, only half true, or at best, incomplete. The sources of information are extremely important. A person could form their opinion based on several different radio programs, television shows, and personal interactions with others, and still remain ignorant of the central idea of an issue. I have been guilty of forming my opinion from these sources, as I'm sure many people do daily. I think the best way is to choose your sources carefully and make the most educated decisions you can.

I agree with stevie-d's belief that the founders of this country did not intend for it's citizens to be or remain ignorant. Unfortunately, as time has progressed from those days, I do feel that our government has moved from caring about how much we know. Ignorance is simply the lack of knowledge. It can be difficult in this country to avoid all the sources of incomplete or false information and realize that you do not have the facts. That's why sources need to be taken into account.

bb521 said...

I try not to believe anything i hear that is not coming from the group or person it is about. So many times you hear half truths or total lies. The best example is watching the news about the presidential race that is going on right now. I dont like to watch just one news channel because alot of the time they just give you one side of the story. I know that the goal of the news is to give both sides of the story but that doesnt always happen. I can't stand Hannity on fox news, I am not a democrat but he always distorts the facts when talking about canadites that he doesn't like. That tends to happen for alot of issues people will only tell you how they see it and alot of the time that is far from reality.

Chris said...

I have researched a lot of different issues before giving my opinion. Before I knew the exactly details about the war in Iraq, I started reading many different articles on terror, I have spoken to many soldiers that live in my neighborhood. These are soldier whom I’ve gotten to know personally. It was better to get the story from real soldiers than to read about the horrid situations and conflicts he went through! t. After thoroughly listening to hours of personal experiences, I received more information about the war then any newspaper, or news channel can give me; it was a true vision of the war through a soldier's words. After stating my opinion about the conflicts we as Americans were facing, I stood there and listened; I listened to everything these 4 soldiers had to say and also agreed with me. It made me feel better because now when I talk about it, I don’t feel like the idiot that just says what on his mind without proper information. Before actually giving my opinions based on biased news

mmariem25 said...

I can remember doing a research paper once on the subject of glossolalia, speaking in tongues, because I was curious. I did not have any particular opinion about this phenomenon before I conducted my research and still, ten years later, have formed no concrete opinion about it. However, on the few occasions that I have witnessed it, I do not denigrate either the experience or the occurrence or what it means to the people exposed to it. I believe in this regard I am tolerant. I do know that I have often felt prejudicial towards various elements in society or events that have occurred without having done any investigation. I believe it is natural that people, based on the moral tenets of their upbringing, form biases or prejudices that direct their attitudes in numerous social settings. I think our country, the United States allows us to be ignorant, but it also allows us to be tolerant. In this, I think our country is more relevant in the world than other countries. We have the freedom in this country to think our own thoughts and to subscribe to our prejudices as long as we do not infringe upon the rights or freedoms of others. If we choose to be ignorant about a subject or someone’s else’s belief or unbelief it is our loss. However, I think we often choose to be ignorant because we are disinterested.

Shirley said...

Persuasion. (to influence or gain over by argument or advice.) That is what comes to mind about the freedom of speech. When a persuasive person and an ignorant person gets together, you ultimately have a leader and a follower. The dynamics of these relations have been in place throughout our nations history.
Believing what we are told. When an individual makes a decision, whether or not great consideration was given, they will act upon it.
Is that right or wrong? Most people who go into a rebelious attack knowing the (political) reason behind their rage.
When it comes to religion, peoples reactions, dates back to the times of "Catholicism," then the rise of the "Prodestants" took place. Simply, just a disagreement about laws of the church, brought about a splitting of the people. Peoples reactions led to burning of the churches. This still occurs today.
Ignorance, lays in the hands of gangs: when it comes to protestors.
They are rebelling over poverish situations, yet they are contributors to the problem. Cults, another group that may commit violent acts, over their believes towards opposition of another culture. That is an act of freedom-ignorance, not an impromptu decision. Most people go into rebellions with the knowledge and practice of a belief. Whether, right or wrong, the law will dictate. When it comes to the radio and media, remember that it is a groups interpretation of facts. Simple words can change a meaning quite dramatically, ecspecially, on the world-wide web.
I believe before I act, I should educate myself, for I am responsible for my own decisions. Acting on impulse could create great implications, and that goes for everyone. Education is really ones only freedom. Practice, is the persuasion behind ones educated believe.

Pamber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pamber said...

I haven’t necessarily researched a controversial issue before voicing my opinion, I usually won’t comment on the issue at all if I don’t know about it. I usually become a silent observer, sitting back and listen to those debating about the issue. If the topic becomes interesting to me or there debt interreges me I will often later research the topic on the internet, being very leery to believe any media opinions on the subject. I feel the media is a very untrusting source for information. I believe they tell us what we want to hear weather its true of not and often blows thing out of proportion.

sweetklo020 said...

I always try to research topics before I voice my opinion. I do not go off of what people say or what I hear. I do agree it is very hard to believe what you hear from talk shows, newspapers, internet, and radio shows. If I do not get around to researching I will talk it over with someone I know reads on the topic. I have my own opinion about tons of things and I was raised not to a "tag-a-long." I have always been happy to voice my opinion and not to go off what someone else says. This topic about ignorance is found all over the world. I believe there are many beyond many of ignorant people in the world today. Do you blame them? With all the junk that is published in papers and all over the television. There is such a hugh growth of ignorant people for the simple fact that many people take the information they heair and run with it.

michelleL said...

I really like this article and agree with 100%! Similar to the author, I always investigate what I hear, especially things related to religious topics. It really fascinates me to know what other religious groups believe in. What I “hear” has never completely satisfied me, so I am always looking for more answers. I have many friends from diverse religious backgrounds whom I often “interrogate” about their beliefs. Usually they are more then happy to share. I encourage everyone to do the same! It can really help you understand people better (your friends and people you don’t know), and will make a great stimulating conversation. I think the narrow mindedness discussed in this article is unnecessary and RIDICULOUS! It is holding us back from being a complete and unified nation.

roxanita said...

I’ve never had to research a controversial issue before, I usually go about what I understand from the topic or I compare to what others have to say. That is very ignorant, but after I am wrong with a topic I don’t a have full understanding of, I keep asking or just research it for myself. I don’t believe America or anyone can afford our freedom of ignorance because for one thing to change, the ignorance overpowers the minority, which ends up in lots of money loss. Not that it should be mistaken as an excuse, but it is natural for us to stick with our first instincts.

MyHead88 said...

I have done research on topics that i would be discussing or voicing my opinion on. Research and facts are tools that you can use to create your own unique perspective on the issue. The media can block people from creating their own opinion. Don’t get me wrong the media can also be an informational tool but few people tend to challenge their ideas now and days, not everything you see on TV is the truth. TO make an opinion that counts and can actually be accredited is to dig and find information that is fact, something lived and recorded, not just another persons opinion.

aw6349 said...

Ignorance is a big thing in America and what tend not to realize is that there is more then one side to the story. People hear one side and form an opinion on just that one sided information. I do believe in freedom of speech but I am just saying that we should watch what we say because we could offend someone. I know that there is always going to be ignorance around but we can do something to make it less occurring in our society. People tend to believe everything they hear and sometimes it’s not always true. Discrimination is everywhere around us but we could do something to lessen it’s effect on society. Which is trying to be more open minded and welcoming of the unknown as oppose to being as close minded as we are now a days.

B1ackMesa said...

I have never voiced an opinion on something without first doing some sort of research. That would be a pretty selfless thing to do. So many people go on what they hear from others, without looking into what they are talking about.

As for the second question, yes. I believe that the government wants to be and feels in control, and if that means letting people step on each other thats what's going to happen. If there was no controversy, and everyone was a by-the-book American, lots of people would be out of jobs. So I think it's beneficial (or so they think) to the government, to let us stay at a level of ignorance.

Jeremy Marshall said...

I personally am sick of hearing about how the American media is biased and how we should listen to foreign medias. Foreign nation's media is far more biased than our own, they preach hatred towards America and its people. Go to any middle eastern country, they preach hatred even in children's shows. Just about every person whos posted a comment has said the same thing, they all research, but where do you research? Just because you research doesn't mean you know the truth. It is an ignorant statement to say that Americans are ignorant. Everyone also speaks about peace and how we should stop the blood shed, but blood is freedoms stain and there is always something good that arises out of war, regardless of the bad. Yes, there are ignorant people in America, but there are ignorant people all over the world. Ignorance is a neccessary part of society, but who is to say which of us is ignorant?

figlio della lupa said...

Assimilation in Europe is very difficult. However, resistance to assimilation not only comes from the European side, but the foreign one as well. The blame can't be placed completely on the European people. Recently the Turkish PM visited Germany and claimed that "assimilation is a crime against humanity"
the link to the article follows..

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/story.html?id=302275

Athena Smith said...

Figlio della lupa
Quite an article...
Thank you! Indeed assimilation is a two way process.

sunflower said...

I have researched a controversial issue before voicing my opinion. I came from China a few years ago. A Chinese proverb, which we learned in elementary school, says" Believe what you see, question what you hear!" I agree with stevie-d that America was not founded with the intention of allowing its citizens to remain ignorant. In America, people can easily get reference from different voices because of the "freedom of speech", and there are plenty of resources exist that people can research to find the truth. There is ignorance in America’s media, but people can choose what they will believe. They are not forced to be ignorance.

kortneywithak2 said...

I think that the idea that America was founded on the bases to keep it's citizens ignorant its just plain ignorant in itself. America is one of the most educated countries, and there are no laws forbidding someone to learn. Ignorance is always going to be a part of life. There will always be that one person who is so sure that they are correct even though they never even read a book or even an article on the topic that they are so strongly enforcing. America allows us to voice our opinion, yes. It also grants us access to many information data bases. So in my opinion, when someone says that they were uniformed or has an ignorant view point on something that they could be fully informed on; it is just plain laziness.

araya said...

I have said this before and I will say it again; everybody is different. We are who we are and we believe what we believe because of our own experiences and lives. Everybody has grown up differently and has been given different information from completely different sources than the next person. Just because we do not agree on something does not necessarily make either one of us wrong; it is just two different stand points. I do not like making comments on issues I do not know much about for the simple fact that I do not know much about it. I always try to do my research before voicing any opinions or buying into something. The media is just that; the media. Most of the time it is propaganda, swaying in one direction or another. There are some ignorant people out there who buy into it and do not have the common sense to learn otherwise. Some people have opinions based on experience, however there is always two sides to a story. Even with that, there is not always a clear cut wrong or right. Just as we are learning in sociology class, reality is what we make it.

awal said...

I believe that this IS ignorance. I know that many people, including myself have very strong religious beliefs, but that does not mean that I nor anymore else should be ignorant. I think that a good example of that ignorance is the 9-11 incident. Many people assume that because those muslim people hated America and were bad people that all muslims are like that, but they are not. Think how uncomfortable that makes the muslim people in America that feel that hatred. I just think that one particular religion should be judged on just the acts of a few of them. It is very ignorant in my opinion.

awal said...

*should not be judged*

Jeremy Marshall said...

The majority of the muslim people in the middle east hate america, go to Iran, Syria, Jordan, they all preach hatred against America.

Athena Smith said...

Jeremy Marshall
Anti-Americanism is a world wide phenomenon. You will find it in Central America, in Latin America, in Europe, and of course in the Middle East too. It has nothing to do with religion.
You may read Anti-Americanism in Brazil

As for Europe, you may read

Athena Smith said...

As for Russia, Rising Anti-Americanism in Russia things are not looking that bright either. Whereas in Africa, Anti-American sentiment is sweeping across Africa no love lost either.

:((

JC_Lims said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC_Lims said...

First, I will say it is a nice topic to be discussed. Knowing from other opinions on this comment, I would say that I always do some research about something either it fascinates me or not because that is the way I can know, learn, then speak it up to others as a discussion. Everyone has own opinion about something and we can not judge either one of us wrong or better than the other. And media information for me is a source to open up our diversity opinion that leads us to decide by being ignorant or tolerant.
Eventhough I am not an American, but I am not agree that America forces people to remain ignorant. As Stevie-d said, people have freedom of speech in here not like some part of other coutries where they can not find that kind of opportunity.

btex said...

Sometimes I do voice my opinion without having all of the facts or just going from one source.But I try not to get into a debate about the topice because I do not have all the facts.I agree with all the resources we have we should be able to research the topic before going with just one sources information. For no reason should any americans stay ignorant the internet has made this impossible although not all sources are good sources, but at the very least you can gain a little insight into what is going on. Most Americans are ignorant because they choose to be ignorant such is their choice.

RoxyChic0529 said...

In all honesty, i can say that in the past i have not always fully researched topics before voicing my opinions. However, i do wish i had researched the topic more before i chose to share my thoughts. after recently viewing the video about 9/11 in our sociology class, i realized i never even considered the opinions of the Islamic people. Before then, i never really thought twice about why those terrorist's flew the planes into the world trade center buildings, i just knew i felt serious anger towards them and the people of their country. im not saying by any means that i do not feel anger and sorrow for what those monsters did by killing all of those innocent people. i do however wish i would have considered the feelings of the people on the other side of the spectrum. i think all americans have the opportunity to learn and take advantage of the resources available but whether or not they take that opportunity and use those resources is up to them. There is no excuse to be ignorant in this country!

twin2 said...

There was a time in my life that I beleived everything I heard as fact. I just excepted what I may have heard on the radio, watched on T.V. or even what my own parents may have said about certain topics to be fact. I never realy thought about questioning their oppinions, much less forming my own. I do however, beleive that to some degree, that is exactly the intention of our media and the government. To keep the blinders on people. Keep people beleiving that what they tell is is fact.

However, I have since learned to break away from this hold. I have learned that there can be many sides (opinions) to every story or situation. I have learned to take advantace of my freedoms and reasearch any and all topics on MY OWN, and form an opinion that is MY OWN. I no longer take things at face value!

I find myself now more than ever opening the door for discussion on many topics. I love to hear other people's opinions. If fact, many times I found myself rethinking my own opinion.

sunshine said...

One of the first things that came to my mind was 911 and a documentary that was shown to us in one of our classes. I have to admit that I never once thought why or what was the motives for the catastrophe. I did how ever think of the pain and sorrow that all this innocent people went and are still going through. All this time my opinion had been focused on that and never did it even cross my mind to research anything about it. Instead I just wanted everything to be over and for our solders to come home. After seeing the documentary I came to realize there is always two sides to the coin, and have made it my main point to keep that in mind when putting my two sense in. I think that we are so spoiled in America that we allow ignorance to occur and sometimes we don't even know its happening. We are so focused in our daily lives and routines.

kel1ove said...

I have researched a controverseal issue before voicing my opinion on some occasions and on others I have not. I guess it really depends on if I’m interested in learning more about the subject or if I could care less. I agree with the article when they said “If you want to know what others believe, ask them. Don't ask their critics or their enemies.” I had a friend once who approached the topic of religion very maturely by asking me what things meant instead of assuming like most people opt to do. As a result, he learned a lot from my perspective and respected my values. I do believe that America affords us the freedom to remain ignorant(lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc.) because people always refer to America as being “free” so they can think whatever they want; however, it is really people’s choice whether to be so opinionated through ignorance or intelligence. Our technology allows plenty of opportunities to educate ourselves and learn issues for ourselves and not taking what other people say as always true. Not only this, but many people we know are extremely educated on interesting issues…we just have to take the time to learn what they know and believe before making our own stand.

lidget33 said...

I probably should have researched some of the topics we have discussed, but honestly I have not. I think there are a good variety of people posting on this blog. At the end of the week you can scroll through and see opinions on both sides. I think on a couple of the topics like abortion or gay adoption that no matter how long you research it still comes down to opinion. I listen to a lot of talk radio and I have realized that neither side gives the full story, same with newspapers and TV. I think on some subjects it is hard to get both sides of a story. The videos we watched on honor killings and on 9/11 brought up another side I never thought about. I don’t think Americans are ignorant or intolerant. The majority of people just want to go to work and hangout with their family. These controversial topics we discuss I don’t think most people care either way. Usually they are topics politicians bring up instead of dealing with the real issues.

WhiteChoc said...

Recently I made the error of listening to comments by others in my American Government class about one of the individuals running for president. Prior to taking the time to research the facts behind their statements I took on the same opinion. I expressed this opinion at a later time to a friend who is much more knowledgeable about politics. Needless to say this person corrected me about my assumed opinon and educated me by providing me the facts. I took this a lesson learned and will be sure to verify the facts prior to voicing an opinion based on others. I do agree with the article that to know about someone’s beliefs or culture you should ask that person. It is possible that the freedoms we have in the United States does encourage ignorance as we are allowed to voice our opinion openly.

"Hey Man" said...

There are so many controversial subjects that it is near impossible to research them all before voicing an educated opinion. I'm sure that, like most people, I only take the time to research what is interesting to me. I do not “waste” my time with the subjects that bore me. It is not because I am ignorant that I do not keep up with everything, it is because I just don’t have the time or the patients to do so. In my opinion, people that voice their uneducated opinions only make matters worse. Uneducated opinions that state facts wrong or don’t state the facts at all help fuel the fire of ignorance and violence.

Qt said...

There are many controversial subjects that I do not research for myself and there are many things on the radio, on TV, and in newspapers that I believe to be true. If something sounds right and I’m not really interested in the subject then I just leave it alone, but if it is something that is appealing to me, I will research it more before I discuss it with others. Like many people I know, I don’t gossip about everything that I hear because so many things are misleading in the news. If everyone looked deeper into subjects before they talked about them, I think there would be a lot less false news going around.

Rashera88 said...

I am not sure if I have reached a controversial issue but I do know that I am very careful about voicing my opinion. I respect what others are saying and never try to change their views on things. I believe that ignorance is not handed to individuals but its placed under misconception. I know because one of my friends has a way of always misunderstanding things so voices her opinion without thinking of the other persons feelings. I have told her this and she is learning to respect others before voicing her opinion. If all the people were ignorant then this would be a messed up society so I look at it as a misconception so I know that we are not all disrespectful to others.

BucFan1984 said...

Well when it comes to researching a controversial article it depends on the issue and the point that I’m taking or need to defend. If it is an issue that I have some knowledge of I will not spend that much time on it. Yes I think that with all the meaningless shows and stuff that is out there that America gives up freedom to be ignorant on some if not most issues. This is because there are some many freedoms that are afforded or that our government and the people have worked for to get us to the point we are at now. This article was a good example of looking beyond the box and seeing the point of view of others.

DLandon said...

There are a lot of things about the muslin religion that me and a lot of other Americans are ignorant to. So yes I believe that Americans are allotted the freedom of ignorance. However I do believe that we are also tolerant. Though I may not understand some other religions, I am aware that I do not need to in order to peacefully co-exist with someone of a different faith. This is the beauty of America. We are taught diversity in schools and at our jobs. At any given time we can drive down the road and find at least 6 different types of churches. I personally have friends that are Muslins, Hindu, Jewish, Baptist, etc…., and although I know very little about their religions, it does not matter, because I accept and respect them for who they are as people. I do not except anyone to conform to my beliefs.

1004 said...

I have researched controversial issues before I actually have something to say about that issue. This method of researching certain issues is important because it gives a different point of view and it may even change one's opinion about that certain issue. For example, many people still think the people of the Middle East are all bad because of 9/11. Some people do not see that there are people in the Middle East who want to end the war and stop the killing once and for all. Same thing goes with religious views. People judge about a certain religion without researching enough about that religion.

The media is one type of source where people can gain information, but people should research beyond that before voicing their opinion.

lil_princess86 said...

I am pretty openmided about religion. Who am I to say anyone is wrong in that topic? Most people believe in faith and I do too. When I hear people downing a certain religion I will not put my opinion out until I know all the facts. I will go to a authority figure who knows about the topic and listen to see if I agree with the person.I agree with stevie-d that America was founded on the intention of allowing its citizens to remain ignorance. I get really upset when I hear someone voice an ignorant opinion on the basis of freedom of speech.

Celina said...

I think that everyone is capable of being ignorant. I know that I personally have my fair share of ignorant opinions and feel that it is my right. I know not everything I feel and agree with is the way it should be. I get a lot of information from unreliable sources and most of the time the information is not 100% correct. I feel like a lot of ignorance stems from people jumping on the band wagon of what their friends or colleagues say. Many people have a hard time researching information to base their own opinions about these subjects that a lot of us are ignorant about, such as religion or the war in Iraq.

jalane88 said...

I am extremely guilty of taking some else’s word and not researching issues on my own. This is especially apparent in my political views. Usually when I hear about a presidential candidate, I ask about what my dad thinks and I take his views as my own. He is a strong republican and most of the time he tells me who and what to vote for. I have been working on this area, though. I don’t think that we are supposed to be ignorant as Americans. I find myself getting upset at people who make ignorant comments about religious and political issues, but I can’t say much if I don’t do my research and know what I am standing for. I just think we need to be more thorough and know what we stand for.

Aries said...

I try to keep update on controversial issues before setting my own stance and opinion. I find it hard at time to get straight answers to my question. A lot of the information put out there by the media is not black and white. I feel that a lot of us Americans, don’t really care about what other countries are doing, unless its going to effect us directly. We study history in the United States to prevent from repeating the same mistakes we made. We should also being studying and investigating other cultures, governmental styles, and religions- so we as a whole country can have factual information to make our own stance and opinion - and not of others, and maybe even change some of our ways of doing things. “Freedom of Speech” is a great constitutional right, when factual information is being spoken. We need to make our media sources more accountable for the information they put out there. If we remember the documentary of the children in the middle east- they based their opinions on what they read in the news paper and on the internet- a lot of the information they were reading was so far from the truth, especially about us Americans- but only we really now that-; They think the material is accurate- just as we build opinion of something we read that at times may not all be factual.

I love the fact that I was raised in New York, biggest melting pot. It gave me the privilege of being exposed to different religions, cultures, and races. I believe learning the unknown gives us power. The majority of counties around us, want to be live us and try to duplicate it- if we want world peace and respect among humans- we need to set the example.

Athena Smith said...

Speaking of prejudice against Muslims, please read today's editorial in the New York Times.
Obama and the Bigots

I think we have hit rock bottom when we have Glenn Beck of CNN asking the Rev. John Hagee, what the odds are that Mr. Obama is the Antichrist. Go CNN!!!

The article concludes by a remark made my Martin Luther in the 16th century: "I’d rather be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian.”

mledoux said...

I agree with Steve's posting; if you want to know a "relatavistic" view, then go to the source. On the other hand, some biases are appropriate. For example, just because a soldier posts a blog about how the "infidels" must pay for terrorism does not mean that everyone in the middle east are infidels and the same goes for religion; especially religion. I do believe that a common knowledge of how other religions operate is key to living in today's world with better harmony, but other religions and beliefs insist that ther cultures are superior. For instance, some religions are predisposed with biases against other races or religions. I think the question is, if by knowledge we find a particular religion that hates Americans should Americans than go to war to eliminate that "potential" threat? Sometimes I think society expects us to learn as much as possible about other culteres out of defenseand not out of knowledge. The reality is that to undrstand every other culture's basis would take a lifetime and that is why we as Americans are lef twith biases. Relatavism is great, but it only reflects the views of those that do not have the same beliefs as yourself. If you find out that someone or some group hates you because of your religion or ideals? Would you appreciate how they feel or take defense and go to war? Knowledge is good but biases are still appropriate.

sk8rgrl said...

I have researched many topics before I form my opinion. It allows me to gain the knowledge I need to discuss the topic. If I only rely on word of mouth how am I going to know the facts. Its crucial to know the truth. I feel that the media puts up a veil for us only to see what they want us to see. We as Americans have a right of freedom to venture out there and see the truth for ourselves.

M.Gonzalez said...

I have to say I do listen to the news and or radio a lot, and honestly have not always researched the issue to give an informed opinion on a topic. However, I do believe that it is a good thing that America allows each and everyone to have an opinion, even if it is ignorant. The people who listen to the persons ignorant opinion also has the right to give their own view freely and or investigate the issue and contest it if they so desire. I personally love to hear people’s opinion, and if I feel strongly about the subject I gladly research it to for my own view. In America, I do believe it is one of the few places in the world where you are allowed the freedom of speech and the access to almost any information available via books, journals, internet, etc. Therefore, if people want to be ignorant and not research a topic they feel strongly about, it is their own fault.

Karma Chameleon said...

I tend to be “on the fence” about a lot of things. I can honestly say that I’ve never felt threatened by or hatred for Muslim people regardless of how they’re portrayed, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that I’ve often felt it wasn’t very important to research details about a controversial issue. I think living in America makes it really easy for us not to care enough to find out the truth for ourselves; this generation especially, I think, feels really unaffected by what’s going on around us. It doesn’t seem to be having an impact on our day-to-day lives for the most part and other things take precedence. I also think many people voice opinions they’ve heard others say without taking the time to find out if it’s fair.
So, to answer the first question, I generally avoid stating my opinion because I understand that to be fair I should research (without having enough conviction to do it). To answer the second, I feel that many people (consciously or subconsciously) think America does afford us the freedom to not care. However, that’s not the case. If apathy continues, we’ll eventually destroy ourselves.

kirsten austin said...

To remain ignorant is the choice of the individual… America affords us the freedom to remain in ignorance only do to the fact that they cannot influence each individual mind. Many politicians in my opinion are ignorant themselves. People take sides and hold hateful beliefs because they choose not to look at the other side of things. When you are raised in a family who hates people of other religions, ethnicity, sexual orientation… When you are raised to believe something so strongly about a group of people different than your own, the most difficult thing to do is to find the strength to acknowledge them as human beings who are struggling through life just as you are; to look past the stereotype and recognize them as not something evil or sinful but a person who holds beliefs just as you do, even if they are different than your own. America cannot control the fact that people allow themselves to remain ignorant. We have the freedom to be ignorant, absolutely. But that also doesn’t mean that America supports it. If America supported ignorance, we wouldn’t have the term “hate crime”. America affords us the freedom to be ignorant in the same way that they afford us the freedom to look deeper into things and discern right from wrong and truth from falsity for ourselves. It’s when ignorance leads to these “hate crimes” and acts of violence that America has to step in and clean up the mess, and turn to the suppression of the ignorant who impose harm upon others. This does not mean that they can change the opinions of those people, they can only try to stop any harmful actions being committed. Also, we have to look at the influence of the media on the masses. Critics are paid to be biased. Talk show hosts who take sides, so strongly, do so in many cases because it makes a better show. Conflict sells. Anyone can get on the radio. Anyone can post their opinions online. But you can’t just listen to anyone. Before forming an opinion that is logical, you have to look at every side of the situation. Just because I am attracted to girls, just because I do not worship any God or religious entities, doesn’t mean that I hate people who don’t like me for doing so. It doesn’t mean that I am going to shun their beliefs, even if they are against me. The key is to be understanding of their opinions and beliefs, even if they are against your own. They’re only people. I am proud of who I am and what I believe, and that is all I need. I don’t need people to accept me, and if they don’t, I will still accept them for who they are, for I know how unfair it is to be disliked for your beliefs, to be hated; and I would never put another person through such hatred myself. Always research every side to a story before formulating your opinion, especially before going and posting it online, or shouting hateful words through radio waves, on tv stations, in newspaper print... It’s only fair. Besides, to do so is to only make yourself look stupid to those who know better. And who wants that?

msjessi said...

Any time I discuss a very controversial issue I always try my best to find out as much information as possible that supports both sides of an argument. I always give my opinion but at the same time list why I lean towards one way or the other. I agree, it is never best to put one group down just because one feels that his or her way is the best way. Who is to say one is better than another? I also believe that here in America the media is somewhat the blame for different beliefs and segregations due to religion and other groups. Many people get a vibe from media that they only portray the negative side of things and try to cover the positive. Due to high interest in what media has to say now and days, many people think that if media says one is better than another or puts one group down, then media must be right. Maybe it's time to find another more reliable source of information. Even though people in the field of media are trained to just relay information, they are human as well and will in some way try to persuade others to think like them. I believe that no one is perfect and that everyone will lack research at sometime in life dealing with a specific topic.

Athena Smith said...

Kirsten
Very true....
Your comment was very sensitive. Like many other comments of course. I think this post "extracetd" the best out of many of you!

gjones17 said...

I also have researched many things before voicing my opinion. It allows for a much better argument or speech to be much better prepared with correct information. I agree with stevie d, that sometimes I also believe everything that I hear on the radio or on tv; however, a lot of times those people don't even know what they are talking about. America was not meant to allow it's citizens to be ignorant either. There are plenty of sources of information; however, you have to make sure the information is facts, not someones opinion. Also, there are plenty of books to allow America to be less biased or ignorant.

gator_girl26 said...

I have often found myself listening to the opinions of others on controversial topics before voicing my own opinions. If the topic is something I know nothing about, I either ask my parents or look it up myself. I also fall into believing things I hear on the radio before I look into it to find out more. It is very common for the majority of us to do. I believe it is very important for us to be fully aware of what we are talking about to avoid putting our foot in our mouth, so to speak. Personally, I would rather know what I am talking about and sound smart on the topic then to not have a clue what I am saying.

chiquita5 said...

Americans who are ignorant are due to the lack of research. I hear the news in the radio and in the television; however, something not what you hear or even what you read is always true. For example, there are plenty of advertising in the T.V about different vitamins we can take to get healthier, but some are more expensive than others, so I ask why one is more expensive than other, making me ignorance to the answer. Once I research the answer and get different source of information I will no longer be ignorance to why some vitamins are more expensive than other. That goes the same with anything in life. From illness, food, line of work even how to deal with your own children. We need to read more and do research about what is in from of us so we can stop being ignorant. About the article in religion, well we all have our opinions. But, I do agree we need to compare apple to apple, not apple to orange.

Ashley Marie said...

So I must say it is hard for me to be intollerant and I do not like it when people are ignorant of the truth. I have always grown up knowing to be tollerant of other people and their cultures. Also, I learned on many different occasions that you should always double check your sources, and to almost never believe what you see on tv. I use the same logic when it comes to surfing the web, the internet is so public and everyone has access to it. When we watched the movie about 911 from the view of the muslim community it was very shocking how people were so misinformed and how they insisted the information was true because of where it came from. I think everyone should have freedom of speech and should be able to search for information freely, yet I think there should be something to test the validity of what information is being posted.

idreamofcali said...

I feel that in most issues or controversies i usually stay out of voicing my opinions upon others. There will always be someone that feels differently then i do and will want to argue his or her side of the topic, so i choose to stay out of the conversation. I do think that it would be wise for people to do some research on what that feel before they speak their mind and i do believe that America is somewhat ignorant of most of today’s controversies. However, I think that most of today’s informational sources are mostly biased and some of the information that you find will be opinionated and incorrect.

Jeremy Marshall said...

Its wrong to ask what the odds are of Obama being the antichrist but its not wrong to call George Bush a Fascist or the devil?

hurricanes520 said...

When I listen to the news or talk radio I think that everyone passes some sort of judgment before actually researching the subject. The biggest thing that comes to mind is the Iraq War and 9/11 once those planes striked the World Trade Centers, I’m sure that many Americans were saying bomb those who did this to us. Americans started passing judgment so quickly before they even know why we were bombed. People in America became so judgmental of people wearing shawls betraying them all as terrorists but that is not the case at all. I think that judgment is passed everyday by everyone.

I think that America allows us to remain ignorant. For example, watching the news is an example of ignorance some news corp. on television is extremely conservative this being bias to those who are liberal. Some news stations will bash a conservative candidate so he/she looks better than a liberal one. What I am trying to say is that ignorance and judgment are being spread all the time through media, internet, and books it is all around us.

googleit@yahoo said...

I have researched a lot controversial issues before voicing my opinions on them and I think that it helps to know what your talking about on a lot of issues. I also think it depends on the magnitude of the issue and how much it matters to me. I do know however that I have talked about a lot of stuff I didn't research and I know that I was bias. I feel a lot of people are ignorant including myself at times but as long as people can accept new ideas then they can learn. I believe when a controversial issues arises, people should respect the opinions of others involved and not push their view as being 100% correct. I believe people have been ignorant since the beginning of time and will continue to be but it had improved with people being more open minded in the past decades.

catlvr42 said...

I try to research information on a controversial topic before voicing my opinion. By this I try to find information for and against that issue, possibly talk to someone who has knowledge of the subject first hand, or research through the internet. This way I feel like I have made an informed opinion.

There is ignorance in America. I don't believe it affords us the freedom to remain ignorant. People remain ignorant because they choose to. I is the responsibility of each individual to become educated on the matters of the world, other people, and other cultures on their own. Because we cannot just sit back and believe everything we hear. As an American I feel we should take the opportunity,every chance we get, to find out something new to encourage the act of being informed.

Athena Smith said...

Jeremy
Of course it is wrong to belittle or denigrate anyone on TV or elsewhere. I would like the media to behave the way one behaves in a court. Do you have solid proof for something? Then go ahead. You don't? Keep your peace.

Needless to say, there will never be proof for anyone being the "devil" or the "AntiChrist" or "Christ" for this matter. So when they treat the audience as idiots, I am afraid that slowly we become a bit dumber.
The other thing that I find outrageous is when they expose personal information. The latest I saw was about Patrick Swayze and his having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.The blonde newscaster was hollering about how low the National Enquirer had stooped to by releasing medical information before the actor had even a chance to tell his family. And then, flushed with indignation asked one of her honourable guests: "How appropriate is it for anyone to learn from a newspaper that he is probably dying?"

I suggest they do us a favor and close shop!

bassprodigy said...

I do not voice my opinion if I do not know what I am talking about. I something comes up and I have only heard things on television or the radio, I do not think that I know what is going on. If I am going to voice my opinion, I make sure that I have researched the topic and I know it very well. I do not like it when people make ignorant comments. I do not think that America affords us the freedom to be ignorant. I agree with "missmeliss" on that topic.

EUrban said...

There are many instances where I have researched controversial topics, and there are also other times where I have voiced by opinion before researching a topic. When I recently wrote a paper on illegal immigration for one of my classes I already had my opinion on the subject before I began to research information on the topic. After I wrote my paper I realized that my paper was extremely biased and one sided. I should have shown both sides of the topic and not just my side and then made my decision on how I felt about immigration. People are human and make many mistakes on doing this sort of uninformed opinions all the time, when half of the time they don’t know both sides of a topic. This is something I think Americans really do need to work on.

Steve Overton said...

Ignorance is in the minds of millions of people from all over the world who either have little information about what they hate or do not care to find the truth. These people are very dangerous especially when these people are leaders in a society because they spread false rumors about a certain religion, which can lead to violence on a large scale such as a war on religion. This is very ironic because it has been going on for a very long time. Some examples are the crusades and the thirty years war. If everyone ever dispells all ignorance of everyone else than this world could possibly be a utopia with a long period of peace.

dwtc said...

more often than not people in the United States and even aroudn the world do not think for themselves. We are lead blindly through the world only listening to what we are told. We follow the publications of the media and are blatently told many one-sided details to a story. Without thought or effort we soak in what we see before our eyes. I believe this argument stems back to laziness in the human race. It would simply require too much effort to think new ideas or to challenge pre-existing ones. People might as well be robots with their lack of selfmotivation.

tennispro said...

I like to voice my opinon when it is on a topic that i think is important to me, and also a topic that i know alot about. There are people that just like to say things to get an argument going even if they do not know anything about the topic. For istance, politics, I think people that know politics will never have their mind changed on a topic that is brought up. That is why i never even bother arguing about it when it is ever brought up. Then tehre is people that argue about politics that know nothing about it, like saying commnents about a person that is in the campaign that shouldnt mean anything to pursway someones opinion.

Ro-twin said...

Before i make a statement on an issue i get to know the facts first because I know there are two sides to a story always. The reason i do this is because growing up i always listened to what other people say without researching for myself.

To answer the other question, I do not believe America let us be ignorant because it is a country of freedom. This country provides us with a lot of sources about every topic known to men. So, if an individual makes an ignorant statement it is there opinion because America tries its best to supply us with the information we need to judge for are self. So you can be as ignorant as you want because it is only making you the individual STUPID!!!!!!!

brandi said...

Intolerance is largely a factor of unintelligence, maybe close-mindedness also. Although, even educated people are very capable of being biased. I have researched many different topics before voicing my opinion on them. Unfortunately, I am human and with that said, sometimes I let my opinion be a reflection of what I do hear on television, talk radio, and read in magazines or the newspaper. We constantly say “don’t believe everything you hear (or read)”, but what it boils down to is, if we can't believe the information from those resources, where else are we suppose to research it from? It's almost impossible to get the honest correct answer when there are so many sides to a story. I think ignorance, researched or not, overall comes from what you decide to believe.

Girl_in_the_Front said...

i would have to say that i do research on controversial issue before stating my opinion, because if i am going to talk about an issue i would perfer to have some hardcore facts. and to know exactly what i am talking about. but a good way to do that that is to go by good facts and not what you may hear about about on the radio or read on the magazines.
there is a lot of people out there who do voice there opinon bases on non-true facts for example i was talking to one of my class mates and i asked them who were they votng for and they said they would vote for hillary before obuma because he is arab LOL! and as far as people being ignorant goes i think people choose to be ignorant on there own.

JR8 said...

I always try and do research before I get into a controversial issue because before I state something I want to make sure that I am right and if the person has something to argue back about I at least will have something to back it up with. Also when I hear something that I might not think is true that I’ve heard on the radio or in the media. Then I like to do some research to see if the topic actually might be true.
Ignorance in America is everywhere and to be honest with you I find it quite annoying when somebody thinks they know what they are saying and really don’t and on top of that they are being very ignorant. IT DRIVES ME NUTS. But I think people do it because America has a freedom of speech and some people out there are stubborn and ignorant.

RockyRikoko said...

I would like to say I don’t take anything at face value, but then I would be a nut with years of newspapers stacked up in my house preaching about conspiracies. In my career field I analyze and interpret information. With every piece of information I uncover, I have to evaluate the quality of the source. I believe I take that same logic I use day to day at work, and apply it to how I judge non-work related information. Just because someone isn’t of a certain religion doesn’t mean they don’t have any knowledge of its principles. Personal experience is just one way we learn. I’m sure an art enthusiast would be able to factually educate any of us on Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel, even if he had never been there. I have seen these paintings with my own eyes, yet I know little to nothing about their history.

APhilibert said...

I am always skeptical of the things that I hear. While I generally take the ideas into consideration, I usually don't pass them around. A good example of ignorance in other countries is in Iraq. While I was in Iraq I read a newspaper article about how the Iraqis think that Americans eat children, have x-ray sunglasses to see through women's clothes, and take a pill to stay cool in the summer heat. I didn't believe what I read, until an Iraqi actually asked me if I was taking a cooling pill while I was taking an aspirin. People are afraid to find things out for themselves, so they are apt to believe everything they hear or read about something unknown.

Sam Shukla said...

I try to research a topic a topic before forming an opinion because I know that many news shows and newspapers say and print false statements many times. I also try to research a topic before making an opinion because it is ignorant to form an opinion base solely on one’s personal beliefs. I believe that ignorance among the American population is very prevalent because many individuals (including myself) would rather form an opinion on very controversial topics based on their personal beliefs rather than getting the facts because people are given a false sense of security into believing what the newspapers print and what is said on television must be true.

AlyssaBeene said...

Everyone seems to think that because we live in the United States that we have a higher level of tolerance than other parts of the world. I personally think that because we live in such a great country sometimes we think too highly of ourselves and fail to realize that we have so many hate groups, radicals, and hate crimes. It is time to wake up and look around, the only way we will be able to diffuse intolerance is to accept that it surrounds us. As for ignorance; it is apparent that people will believe what seems safe to them and if being able to blame or hate a certain group can fulfill that feeling of "safeness" then they will do it no matter how stupid their ideas are.

foXyE77 said...

I will admit that i don't research every single issue before i accurately judge a situation because of the fact the 8 times out of 10 i will hear something in the media and believe mostly what i hear unless it is completely ridiculous.But i do believe that a lot of america does that and i mean we are all human and have the option to believe what we hear but is that necessarily ignorance if we dont always take sides on the issue? I think if we keep an open mind and wait to hear more opinions on the topic it is totally different.I dont believe it is ignorance when you have an open mind because you hear every side of everyones opinion and even if the other person is completely against your belief if you leave with that little thought in your head that well you know maybe that person did have a good point about so and so you start to consider everyones point it is just the best way to be. Sooner or later hopefully more people around the globe will have the ability to just stop sticking to exactly what they hear and exactly what they think is right and listen to all the views of the situation and learn the abolity to be open minded about everything.

max said...

I do research topics before I voice my opinion. If I want my voice to be taken serious in a conversation about the topic I want to be able to put out the facts that back up my point of view. I do, however, look at many news websites and different sources because I do realize that most news station is bias towards the left or the right. I do believe that America has given us the freedom to be ignorant because if we are not forced to watch the news or read a newspaper. I still can’t believe that there are people out there that have no idea what’s going on in the world.

Tara Johnson said...

Everybody passes judgment it’s just human. I will disclose that I don't really look up or research every issue before I make an opinion of it because I tend to always believe the media. I believe that most Americans would agree with me that you don’t go researching every story you hear whether it be from a magazine to the news. I like to say what is every on my mind when it come to certain topics and especially if I believe a lot in the subject and if I have a lot of background on the issue. If I feel strongly on a problem I might go look up on it but, that does not make me want to go run to the computer every time this society has a issue.

Steelers88 said...

Generally, I don't get into any debates without actually knowing full facts. There are many times when I come into a conversation believing something actually happened only to find out I did not know what actually happened. This may appear ignorant to other, but in truth, if you apologize and show the fact that you were wrong and own up to it. Most time you gain a lot of respect from this.

arlaince said...

I believe that ignorance is everywhere and can go so fare as a method in American and across seas.I define these people as silly fools. I believe ignorance can only last for so long. People tend to believe the beliefs of others because that’s what they are thought and that may be the main issue. A lot of people are not open minded. It is because of a lack of knowledge, a lack of information. The background of one culture and what they are expose to really charterize the preference of ignorance because that alone can rule out everything else.

mike b said...

I believe that ignorance is everywhere in the world no matter where you go.I myself always try to find out all the facts before entering a debate i no nothing about.Its kind of like trying to play a sport blindfolded its just not gonna work.There are so mant controversial issues that there is no way to get the full facts on every issue so there fore me personally i only follow an try to gain knowledge from issues that hold my interest.

habitualdoodler said...

I believe that it is always necessary to research topics before voicing an opinion. Proper research is always necessary because the majority of your sources are often times biased and sometimes even false in some of its facts. I believe that it is also necessary to research a topic before voicing your opinion, because its YOUR opinion and therefore you cannot just read/listen to one source and be able to have formed your own opinion.
I believe that intolerance is also a result of unintelligence, laziness, and close-mindedness. Often times people are too lazy to take the time to do proper research before forming their opinion, and just take the opinion of those around them….or the media they allow influence them. I believe that America’s media, for the majority is biased. Often times the media is trying to steer their viewers into having similar opinions as they do—for obvious reasons.

pcgirl said...

I believe ignorance is found in everyday conversation. People believe everything that they hear on the radio, read on the Internet, and hear from a friend. I have heard many times people say completely incorrect things about subjects. When people are ignorant it makes them look uneducated and most of the time if you ask them how do you know that or prove it they simply reply with well that’s what I heard. It’s a simple game of telephone, you start with a factual statement and by the end it has been turned completely around. The best advice I can give is to research the subject yourself. That way you have facts to support and back your statements up.

brasilenamorena said...

I think the most ironic thing about ignorance is that people don’t realize they are ignorant of whatever act until someone tells them differently. When a person goes though life only believing what is heard from their relatives and peers then one cannot help if they are. But the only way to overcome ignorance is of course education. But the willingness to remain ignorant is one’s own fault. People cannot help if they were ignorant of a certain matter, but if they have a chance to gain knowledge of the fact then that is good. But if they decide to remain in the dark because then they choose to be ignorant.

phildo888 said...

I haven't really researched controversial issues, but i do believe that america lets us remain ignorant if we want to. I can't say that i agree with that because it makes you look very stupid but america does believe in free speech and a perfect example is the kkk. they are extremely ignorant but america does nothing about them because they can't; it is perfectly legal for them to protest and rally. All we have to do is tone out the ignorance and ignore it. There will always be ignorance, but it is up to you to determine if you will be ignorant or not.

khester2 said...

Sadly, I have voiced my opinion on many occasions without first doing the necessary research to be sure that what I am saying is true. However, through those mistakes I have learned that it is not wise to create opinions of issues that I have only one side on. In a way I believe that America does give us an opportunity to remain ignorant. Many Americans either don’t have time, are not aware, or just simple do not care about the other side of the story. Although we have many resources that will help us to research controversial issues we are not encouraged to use them on a regular basis. When we watch the news they do not give a statement and tell u to use certain websites and books to be sure it is true. They simply state it as fact, we believe it and move on. This is unfortunate.

khester2 said...

Sadly, I have voiced my opinion on many occasions without first doing the necessary research to be sure that what I am saying is true. However, through those mistakes I have learned that it is not wise to create opinions of issues that I have only one side on. In a way I believe that America does give us an opportunity to remain ignorant. Many Americans either don’t have time, are not aware, or just simple do not care about the other side of the story. Although we have many resources that will help us to research controversial issues we are not encouraged to use them on a regular basis. When we watch the news they do not give a statement and tell u to use certain websites and books to be sure it is true. They simply state it as fact, we believe it and move on. This is unfortunate.

Petit Monde said...

Ignorance can be observed on countless subject matters that we deal with on a daily basis. Discussion of religion, politics, sexual orientation, and cultural roots are just some of the topics that can easily go wrong when lack of knowledge is present. In class, it was mentioned that fear and perhaps ignorance causes isolation and prejudice. I personally try my best to be aware of things around me to avoid misunderstanding. I am more of a listener than a talker because I want to hear or learn further of the issue before I act in response, whether engaging into a conversation or writing a response. I tend to be conscious for the reason that I would not want to offend anybody. I think that it is more upsetting when your views and personal choices are attacked especially by someone who does not have the facts and worst --- without even having an idea at all about what they are talking about; I see that as being irresponsible and very disrespectful. I observed and experienced how people voluntarily voice their opinions with disregard of accurate information. My guess is that they chose to agree on the side of the matter that is more popular and more “culturally fitting norms”. I can’t say that America necessarily affords us the freedom to remain ignorance as we are responsible for our actions, but I see that we have this pride and hint of arrogance to think what we want when it comes to other cultures.

mndz05 said...

I hear a lot of things on the radio, television, and on the Internet and I sometimes don’t research it unless it’s something that catches my attention, or that I know nothing about and want to learn about it. Although it would be good to research it that way when it gets down to voicing your opinion on the topic you know what to talk about. Also if it comes to a topic I don’t know anything about I just stay quiet and listen to other people’s opinions and then make my own from what they say and then of course do some research on the that topic.

Britt said...

There are controversial subjects I have researched before I voice my opinion and, I'm sure, just as anyone else would agree, there are times when I have not. It makes more sense to be knowledgeable about what you're talking about and what you’re trying to argue before speaking on a subject you don’t know well. However, even when you do research on an issue you may not even realize you’re doing it from a biased standpoint. Unfortunately it’s sometimes difficult to research an issue when there are so many sides to a story and there are different ways at seeing one subject. When researching sometimes you may find answers that are opposite of your standpoint. When researched or not I feel ignorance overall comes from what your personal view point of the subject is and how you feel about it.

the fear said...

I feel America is strongly giving us that freedom. With all the TV shows, movies, commercials, and advertisements that use stereotypes or slurs against a race or religion in this country how could they not be? I will use women for an example. Being a blonde haired person myself I know that being dumb is associated with that color. So when an ad or billboard is released to sell anything from food to jewelry to alcohol to cars it usually has a “sexy” looking blonde woman in the picture somewhere. The advertisement company is using this to help attract people to their product by showing them a supposedly “dumb” blonde woman who wants them to buy whatever she’s standing next to. Now about speaking before I think or not researching an issue; I have a few of those stories. Just a few weeks ago at the skating rink I work at a large group of people came in to throw their young daughter a birthday party. Now these parents and their friends had said nothing to me yet but as they left the ticket window I leaned over to a co-worker and mentioned the problems I knew we were going to have with those “white trash”. As it turned out they were all nice people and the father was from Chicago to and we actually had a long talk about the Chicago Bears pitiful season. So that showed me firsthand you can’t judge a book by the cover.

diana25 said...

I think that is true and important to ask someone what they believe in instead of just assuming something or like it was said in the article asking their enemies. I do not know very much about Muslim people but sometimes my views may get fogged or distorted by what I view in the media such as the news, television, and internet they try and show them as crazy people or very radical suicide bombers. Where in reality they are not like that at all they are just religious people worshipping and serving the god they believe in. Before I fully judge someone I to find out more about the whole situation or just peoples environment and the morals they are raised with can have a lot to do with their decisions.

Tink1213 said...

I do a lot of research about controversial topics before voicing my opinion. I think it is important to have a better understanding of topic, rather than speaking your mind without knowing the other side of the story. I do so because there are so many ignorant one-sided people out in the world and I don’t want to be one of them. Religion (among other things) is a very touchy topic for so many people and I may ask questions to better understand someone’s religion, but I do so in a way not to offend them. Personally, I think that if you have heard the other side of a topic and you still don’t agree with it, why not agree to disagree.

TMyers1087 said...

I believe ignorance is all over the world. As for me, I do not voice my opinion until I am completely sure of what I am talking about. I tend to be the listener and quiet one most of the time. On the other hand, I have observed a lot of ignorance in the minds of people from all around the world. This can include understanding of religions, issues of politics, or even the interpretation of ones way of living, as in Aphilberts comment. As for open-mindedness, I think can be somewhat helpful in certain situations and can help resolve conflicts. I agree with Krister Stendahl in the article about his idea of open-mindedness and understanding. We should directly ask others about their opinions instead of criticizing them behind their backs.