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 18 2013: Not wanting to single out any one religious for holding beliefs that need to be challenge I will add this note: there are 21 states in our country where corporal punishment in the classroom is legal, where it is legal for a teacher to beat a child with a wooden board, hard, and raising large bruises and blisters and even breaking the skin. And hundreds of thousands of children, incidentally, are subjected to this every year.
    Again Sam Harris weights in on the subject, "And the rationale for this behavior is explicitly religious. The creator of the universe himself has told us not to spare the rod, lest we spoil the child -- this is in Proverbs 13 and 20, and I believe, 23. But we can ask the obvious question: Is it a good idea, generally speaking, to subject children to pain and violence and public humiliation as a way of encouraging healthy emotional development
    and good behavior?"

    Shouldn't we be asking ourselves, "How can this be prevented?"
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      Feb 18 2013: I couln't agree more.
      What we should focus on is not necessarily how to prevent conversations about religion from turning into a fight as is it not the core of the problem. In my view, the core is the potentially harmful religious beliefs themselves, not the debate about them.
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        Feb 19 2013: Theodore and Anna,
        It is NOT acceptable to subject children to pain, violence and humiliation as a way to encourage healthy emotional development. It makes no sense, does not work, and in fact, encourages and reinforces the cycle of violence and abuse in our world. It is ESPECIALLY disgusting under the guise of religion, which often supposedly has a foundation of respect, compassion, kindness and love.

        I agee Anna, that it is the potentially harmful religious beliefs that are the problem...not the debate about them.
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      Feb 18 2013: Good morning Theodore,

      I was not aware that there were still 21 states which allowed corporal punishment.

      After reading your comment and Anna's, may I offer a thought?

      The scriptural principle you mentioned reads as follow: “The one holding back his rod is hating his son, but the one loving him is he that does look for him with discipline.”—Proverbs 13:24; see also Proverbs 23:13, 14.

      Note that the scripture is aimed at the parents, not adults in general. It is a terrible thing when sound scriptural principles are manipulated to suit the needs of those who want to control others. In this case control children in school.

      Look at the insight I found in an article: “Extremes of permissiveness are as bad as extremes of punishment,” so noted a professor of child psychology, “but the fact that remediation is easier with the overdisciplined than the underdisciplined child favors leaning on the side of discipline when in doubt.”

      The professor emphasizes that the motive for giving physical punishment should be loving concern for the child’s present and future welfare."

      This, in my opinion, is a balanced view, which is in harmony with the scriptural principle.

      A loving parent who communicates with their child, and has disciplined them by instructing them in the kind of behavior that is acceptable and the kind that is not, will seldom, if ever have to resort to the rod.

      This has been my personal experience.

      None the less, I am glad our state does not have corporal punishment in the schools.
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        Feb 18 2013: While I understand its intent, I question it application when the article also uses language like,
        "This is the "Spanking Proverb" now in much disuse and distaste by a permissive Pepsi Generation -- though more and more wonder if it ought to be reinstituted -- The Law of Moses as well as the Proverbs allowed for corporal punishment based on this principle: "Bruising wounds [KJ: blueness of a wound; NEB: a good beating] "

        ("Bruising wounds"?)

        "Spare the Rod, but Note the Consequences" was the title of an article appearing in The Natal Mercury, a South African newspaper, lamenting the modern trend of holding back physical punishment from children at home and in school. Who is responsible for this changed attitude toward spanking? Professor Smythe, a pediatrician at the University of Natal, South Africa, places the blame squarely on child psychologists. "Usually on delving into the roots of an emotional issue," Smythe explains, "one finds the change in attitude starting with psychological dogma. At first violently opposed to any form of physical punishment, then appalled by the consequences of the indiscipline resulting from a creed of no frustrations and no inhibitions."


        Smythe is a curious person to be quoting and there are more credible sources on this topic.


        "Parents who spank their children are more likely to use other unacceptable forms of corporal punishment." American Academy of Pediatrics

        My suggestion is that people view the modern scientific research instead of relying on ancient wisdoms and that we continue to abolish such abuse.
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          Feb 19 2013: I thoroughly understand your point of view.
          Unfortunately I don't think you understand mine.

          If hitting children was the only way to harm them permanently I would have to give in to your way of thinking.

          But, verbal abuse and also plain neglect do just as much harm. In neither case is the child struck by the parent, but the results are just as desastrous.

          I only remember being struck once by my mom. She struck me once in the arm.
          My actions that day were intolerable. I had done harm that was irreversible.

          I cried alot after she hit me. Not so much because her slap hurt me, but because I had done something to hurt her, and showed a lack or respect and consideration for her...my mom.

          I have never forgotten it. It caught me by total surprise that she would raise a hand to me.
          A stern look was all that she usually wore whenever we misbehaved, and sometimes she would verbally scold us.

          I know I will not change your thinking Theodore.

          But please understand, that when a parent hits a child under the right circumstances and for the right reasons, motivated by a love of the child and his future, the child somehow understands the the pain inflicted is not on him, but on the parent.
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      Feb 19 2013: American reality is schizoid; Capital punishment is legal in 35 state,yet you express indignation that corporal punishment is legal in 21 states.
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        Feb 19 2013: I oppose capital punishment also. There is however an interesting correlation between corporal punishment and violence and criminality in later life. We can stop the cycle starting with the abuse of innocent children.
        "The more children are spanked, the more anger they report as adults, the more likely they are to spank their own children, the more likely they are to approve of hitting a spouse, and the more marital conflict they experience as adults." Spanking has been associated with higher rates of physical aggression, more substance abuse, and increased risk of crime and violence when used with older children and adolescents."
        Wikipedia "Corporal punishment in the home

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