TED Conversations

Farokh Shahabi Nezhad

CEO & Co-Founder at Idearun, TEDxTehran


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Is there any way to prevent religious debates from turning into a big fight?

People discuss lots of things, politics, sports, anything
But when they discuss religious opinions, most of the time, they get all angry and try to win even with fight.
why is that? why that can't be a normal subject?
and more important, How can we prevent this?


Closing Statement from Farokh Shahabi Nezhad

Tnx everyone for their replies. I enjoyed learning from different aspect for this problem.

I can only conclude this : Don't argue with someone unless they are open minded and ready to be changed and challenged.

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  • Feb 13 2013: Dialogues must have people who doubt their ideas on both sides. If one side is 100% sure of what he or she thinks, even if it is incorrect, the situation we have could not be called a debate. Religion often sinks deep in people's way of thinking. So when they talk, they are thinking in a system of religious thought. It is consequently very hard to get to their core and show them that there is a tiny probability that god (broad definition) does not exist. Also, hardcore atheists, who insist on the nonexistence of god, and are sure that there is no god, are unable to debate. The worst kinds of fight are seen when both sides are inflexible, and opposing. Two people cannot be both sure and right if they are opposing each other.

    There are times we are after the answer to simple questions, like "what", which is gaining definitions or new words for new concepts. Sometimes we are after harder questions, like "how", which is gaining mechanisms and relationships between the definitions and concepts we already have. Some people, take it to the next level by asking questions in the form "why", which is actually not that different from "how", but demands a humane purpose behind the phenomenon. When we ask "why" question about nature, we usually have to dump our lack of knowledge in words like energy minimization, entropy, etc. which are by the efforts of some brilliant minds, partly formulated and somehow structured. Still people demand "why", not knowing that they are actually still demanding "how". Religion comes in and gives them an answer "why" and wins their heart (metaphor). Science says "I don't know" and people are disappointed. Now, most people cannot bear the weight of "IGNORANCE", and rather have some answer, than no answer, regardless of what the answer signifies, because it gives them peace of mind. So religion is actually a powerful tool to satisfy the thirst of knowledge, only temporarily.

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