Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Open Discussion

My boss and I disagree on many fronts. He's a staunch conservative, firmly entrenched with several right-wing political groups. I'm far more liberal, sympathetic to causes that would make my boss shiver (I would imagine). He has, over time grown much more deeply involved with his Catholic faith, and wears it like a badge of honor. I, as my entry from two days ago demonstrated, am a card-carrying atheist, about as far removed from any church or synagogue affiliation as you can get.

But one of the things I appreciate about my boss is that he welcomes free and open discussion. He wears his religion and his political beliefs on his sleeve, and he makes no apology for them. He's usually the initiator of discussion (who in their right mind makes a habit of instigating religious debates with the person that signs their paycheck.) He often forwards me emails he's received, pushing one or another facet of his worldview. He does this knowing I'll respond. He expects the response. In a sense I think he welcomes it. That, to me, is a very noble attribute. He has his faith, and he's firmly set on his path. Nothing I can say will dissuade him. Nor can he move me from my position. But we talk about it anyway. We never insult. We never get personal. Or try not to anyway. We just keep a dialogue going.

It's a very positive thing, from my perspective. Too often people on both sides of any debate will surround themselves with like-minded people and never test their beliefs against the foil of the other side. They make a decision about the world, and then cut themselves off from any further inquiry. That creates artificial barriers between all of us. Open discussion is required to find common ground. I'm happy that my boss is open to that.

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