Choices. Part 2 -the conclusion.

Take pride in your beliefs, but be tolerant of those of others.


Now, I would never seriously ask someone, "How can you not like olives? They are the best thing ever!" Or, "How in the world can you read Conrad? He's awful!" These are my personal choices, and I recognize them as such. I know some people like to read Conrad, and I know some hate to eat olives. We can debate these choices- indeed, that's part of the re-examination we constantly engage in. It's important to convey our feelings to others, just as it is they convey theirs to us. We consider others' opinions, and we justify our own.

Still, some questions don't always engender friendly debate: Do you believe in God? Are you a Republican or a Democrat? Do you prefer the free market system to socialism? Are you pro-life or pro-choice? Rather than examine those decisions we have made which have led us to whatever positions we have taken, and rather than consider those of others, we objectify our position as "right" and the opposite as "wrong."

We have to remember, though, that each individual has made his decisions the same way we made ours. Who is to say that his way is "right," and another's "wrong?" If there were an objective truth everyone (or, at least, nearly everyone) would agree! The fact that others believe so differently from you doesn't make either of you wrong or right: it means, instead, that you should come together to discuss your differences and examine your and each other's positions, just as if you were talking about liver and onions.

Take pride in your beliefs, but be tolerant of those of others. If there is disagreement, try to resolve it through mutual examination and respect.

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Ralph Schatzki and Pradichaya Poonyarit are the main writers for articles in this section.

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