Why Do Leaders Cancel Others’ Opinions?
By Mike Edwards
We must respect the opinions of rational people whether the topic is religion, science, or politics. It is not easy to discern people’s motives for shutting down discussion. Sometimes you can only look at the results of their actions, such as what gains are made by refusing debates. We reject controlling behaviors in our marriage or friendships, for they often lead to domestic violence or bullying. Church and public leaders must be held accountable to not always presume certainty. See the Sin of Certainty
“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.” — George R. R. Martin
Any opinion must have the right to debate
I believe judging one by the color of their skin than character is racist and immoral. But we must allow freedom to voice opinions, as long as one isn’t clearly promoting physical harm to others. I rather one’s racism be out in the open. Racism must be defeated in the battle of ideas and discussions. I like my chances! Did you know it is debatable if the covid vaccines have more benefits than risks? Do you know it is debatable whether God condemns gays according the Bible? I question one’s motives when unwilling to debate their beliefs. Personally, I desire to convince naysayers in something I am convinced I’m right about and feel strongly about.
Certainty rather than uncertainty helps individuals avoid anxiety
I wrote here how individuals avoid anxiety by not discussing their beliefs with others who believe differently. Individuals also prefer certainty from Leaders to avoid anxiety. I imagine most Leaders prefer being seen as knowing (certain) than “not knowing.” Most humans desire to integrate with a group, get along with its members, and benefit from them. Both disagreeing with the popular science narrative or disagreeing with church leadership about God’s character puts us in the land of uncertainty. Leaders though may have other motives than to just avoid anxiety.
Leaders fear lack of security
The most benign explanation for quashing the opinions of others is not necessarily the fear of losing power as much as the fear of losing security (one’s livelihood). In my counseling career, I often questioned the narrative concerning psychotropic medications. A client is owed a discussion of both the risks and benefits of such an intervention for mental healthiness. I didn’t always share my opinion with psychiatrists in charge. I don’t fear conflict. But I am sure I feared potential loss of a job because I was in the minority and low on the totem pole. In politics losing the perceived popular opinion might not lead to reelection. Pastors risk being kicked out of the pulpit.
Leaders fear losing power
The most evil explanation for quashing the opinions of others is one’s desire for control and power over others — whether motive is profit, etc. When only one side is presented, control and power often advance for a time at least. Control and power flourish when others are not allowed to discuss alternative opinions in the public arena. The only way we can judge if this is one’s motive is by demanding answers as to why one is refusing debate. Religion and science are playing God (Superior) in the lives of others by claiming they know the truth and we are too stupid to decide for ourselves!
It doesn’t matter if you think you are right!
You may be wrong! When universal agreement doesn’t exist, it should be obvious that one must be allowed to form their own opinions. Let’s stop labeling those who disagree with our biblical interpretations as heretics. Let’s stop calling those who disagree with our views of science as conspiracists. The bedrock of science use to be considered an educated guess based on the information we have currently have and could change in the future. Religious folks hide behind their interpretation of a Book. We don’t all agree if the Bible opposes women priests or preachers or condemns gays. Canceling the opinions of others must be stood up against and defeated!
Why Do Leaders Cancel Others’ Opinions?
Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like He can be contacted by email at: email@example.com