“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” -Aristotle
You need to keep that Facebook friend with those terrible beliefs. I’ve seen a couple articles being shared lately about deleting Facebook friends with different opinions. This is being touted as a righteous thing to do. It isn’t. It’s foolish, narrow minded, and hinders your own growth. Before you delete me, hear me out. Here are 3 reasons you should keep that morally repugnant Facebook friend:
1.For Diversity of Opinions’ Sake.
As Jacobim Mugatu would say, “Diversity, so hot right now.” “Diversity” is the buzz word of buzz words today. We pride ourselves on diversity of skin color in our friend groups, schools, jobs and even families. But when it comes to diversity of opinion we are a lot less tolerant. We have increasingly less tolerance for those who’s opinions differ from our own. Not all opinions are created equal, that’s obvious. There are plenty of opinions that are down right ridiculous, but those opinions should be throughly refuted and demonstrated to be foolish. Quashing opinions by force, ironically, gives them the power you wished to prevent. Exposing opinions to the light and examining them is the best way to show their bankruptcy. Facebook is a private social media entity and they can make their own choices on who they want to silence, but if you’re wise, you wont systematically silence opposing view points from your timeline. Exposure to other views is what school used to be about. Yeah it can be uncomfortable, but if you’re not in the mood you can continue scrolling and watch that video of frogs eating bugs and mice and come back to the offensive article when you’re in a better state of mind.
“It were not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse-races.” -Mark Twain
2. For the sake of the Idiot.
If the antagonist on your feed is so unbelievably wrong, then isn’t it your duty to show them and others like them just how wrong they are? Wouldn’t a good neighbor warn you that there’s egg on your face? Shouldn’t we tell the emperor that he’s got no clothes? If we are on the side of reason, science, and virtue isn’t it our duty to our neighbor to expose their error in a loving way? If their opinions are so awful, wouldn’t it be worth your time to try and help change their views with respectful dialogue? Think about the good of your cause, you didn’t come to that cause in a vacuum. You were persuaded by authors or reporters or parents or friends or professors. Someone helped you understand the positions you now hold. Now think back to that loud mouth idiot on Facebook, If you were so embarrassingly wrong about something wouldn’t you want someone to gently take you aside and explain it to you so that you can stop looking like an idiot everywhere you go? Take the toilet paper off your neighbors shoe, don’t flick them off as they walk by like a moron.
3. For your own sake, you Idiot.
“The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17)
Deleting people with opposing views stunts your own intellectual and emotional growth. Being confronted with views that stand in contradiction to your own is hard. It can scare you and shock you, it can hurt you and rock you… but that’s a part of life. It’s a very good thing. The more you experience the conflict, the easier it becomes. When your views have held up against scrutiny you have a greater sense of peace and a greater confidence that you’re holding onto precious truth.
When it comes to evaluating arguments, Facebook can be a great place to start. You’re most likely in the safety of your own home and you can read differing view points at your leisure. If someone responds critically to something you post you have time to gather your thoughts and respond however you want. It’s better to take some time while you’re in a comfortable environment to hash out your response then to wait until you’re put on the spot with a microphone in your face and the gotcha-cam rolling.
If their argument is really that ignorant it’ll only take a minute or two to refute it in toto and move on with your day, that much more confident that you’re on the right track.
But to hide yourself away from opposing views is to cripple yourself. Opposing views serve to sharpen your own. Don’t hide your opinions in a cave where no one can ever see them or hurt them, bring them out into the light and let them be tested, for as Paul Thomas Mann says, “opinions cannot survive if one has no chance to fight for them.”
Hiding from antithetical view points and deleting those who disagree with you is like hiding in your shell and refusing to hatch.
“Oh I am a chickie who lives in an egg,
But I will not hatch, I will not hatch.
The hens they all cackle, the roosters all beg,
But I will not hatch, I will not hatch.
For I hear all the talk of pollution and war
As the people all shout and the airplanes roar,
So I’m staying in here where it’s safe and it’s warm,
and I WILL NOT HATCH!” – Shel Silverstein
Don’t be the chickie who lives in an egg, bring your opinions into the warmth, let them hatch, and expose them to the other chickies.