Religion, Law, and Politics: Why these are Good Topics for Dinner Parties
It is commonly understood that one should not bring up topics concerning religion or politics in certain settings. Why is that? I believe it is because we have embraced the 11th commandment; “Thou Shalt Not Offend!” Because believe these topics to be too inflammatory for chatting at parties with religiously and politically mixed company. Instead, we talk about the weather, sports, and the latest gossip. And if one does broach the subject, one’s wife might give him subtle looks that are not so subtle; as if to visually scream, “are you crazy? You can’t say that here!” Or perhaps one might receive the rolling of the eyes, communicating, “Here we go again.” In any case, it is common knowledge that the topics of religion and politics are not appropriate dinner party topics.
I believe that religion and politics are appropriate topics for social gatherings with mixed company. I believe this for several reasons. First, by speaking about religion and politics we reveal to others more of who we really are. What we believe about God speaks volumes about us. Much of our political endeavors originate from our religious beliefs. If I have a strong Christian faith, then I will more than likely put a strong emphasis on a strong Christian ethic. This is likely to show in how I vote, and on what political issues I stand. I have had thousands of conversations with different people about sports, and the weather, and remember neither the conversation nor those with whom I had the conversation. I will never forget those with whom I spoke, agreed, disagreed, and even argued with over the rich issues of religion and politics.
Second, religion and politics are things that are really worth talking about. What could be more valuable than contemplating eternity? Keeping the peace? I think not! If God exists, why should we not talk about Him? If He does not exist, why should I not hear your argument? This is not to say that a conversation that ends in a bar fight is valuable. It is merely to say that we should take off the gag order. While I am certainly anticipating some replies as to how I am wrong on this issue, I will wait to hear objections as not to attack straw men.
Third and finally, the topics of religion and politics are much more entertaining than talking about whether or not Brad and Angelina are actually going to breakup, or get back together, or whatever stage of the relationship they are in. While Brad and Angelina might get one’s blood pumping, religion and politics will get one’s blood boiling. Why? It is because nobody really cares about Brad and Angelina, and people really do care whether or not God exists, if abortion is truly murder, and if those who have one will face judgment. These types of conversations have to be turned off by an act of the will, lest they get out of hand. There will even be conversations about the conversations regarding religion and politics. It would be rare indeed to hear one recapping a conversation about Hollywood stars. However, we all remember telling others that we couldn’t believe that so and so said such and such to so and so at last night’s party. Hot topics such as religion and politics do this. Even sex is boring and passé. If you want to spice up a party, ask someone you just met if he believes prayer should be allowed in school. You will have an exciting substantive conversation with someone you will likely never forget.