The internet is full of blogs and forums for people with various interests and perspectives. There are sites for conservative perspectives, and for liberal perspectives. Sites for religious people, and sites for non-religious people. Sites for building community, and sites for debating and arguing. The variety and number of sites out there can be quite overwhelming.
Why, then, did I set up Wrest In Peace? Why am I doing this?
Because there’s something that I found missing from all those sites out there. I place great value on understanding different perspectives, rather than just listening to people repeat the same things I believe. I believe strongly that people’s beliefs should be formed based on a comprehensive understanding of the different perspectives, not just because that’s what they’ve been taught. And I think that it is possible for people with even radically opposed perspectives and beliefs to interact with each other civilly, without resorting to personal attacks, profanity, or threats.
And that’s what Wrest In Peace is about. To build a community that is bound not by the commonality of their beliefs, but rather by a common desire to interact with and understand people with different beliefs.
I also believe that there are some truly reprehensible perspectives and ideas out there. Racists. Bigots. People who promote intolerance and hatred, who thrive in an atmosphere of ignorance and fear.
Some people try to shut up such perspectives, to deny them any kind of public platform. And I can understand why…it seems indefensible to allow such hatred and intolerance to be promoted publicly. Doesn’t the mere act of giving them a voice imply at least some level of legitimacy to their arguments? Isn’t there a danger that by giving them a public voice, they will attract others to follow them?
I understand this perspective — but I disagree with it. Certainly, it is wrong to give such people a public voice where they can speak unopposed, where there is no voice to counter their claims, and to present an alternative perspective. But if we seek to remove them from all public debate and discussion, then the only result is that every time they do talk to others, they will do so in private, where nobody will know what they are saying, who they are talking to, or have a chance to show why their beliefs and arguments are wrong.
So here at Wrest In Peace, we’ll be inviting participants who hold beliefs that others will find disgusting, whose perspectives will be condemned by most people. But whenever they participate, we will have others with specific expertise and knowledge in this field to counter their claims and arguments. We don’t grant legitimacy to their arguments…we demonstrate, for everyone who reads them, the exact reasons why their arguments are wrong.
If you disagree with such perspectives, but don’t know how to counter their arguments…we’ll show you. If you unsure what to think of their perspectives, if you think that their arguments seem convincing…we’ll help you recognize the errors and weaknesses in their claims, and to reach your own conclusion based on full understanding of the different perspectives, rather than on a one-sided and biased claim.
Our society focuses too much on teaching people what to think — that is, authority figures such as parents, teachers, and religious/political/social leaders determine what they think is right/wrong, and then teach everyone to believe that.
I believe that this is fundamentally wrong, and that we need to shift from teaching people what to think, to teaching them how to think for themselves. Instead of presenting them with one perspective, and telling them, “You should believe this”, we should present them with a variety of perspectives, and the evidence for each…and then let them make their own decisions.
And that, ultimately, is what Wrest In Peace is about.
I am the founder of Wrest In Peace, arising from my passion to create a greater opportunity for people of different beliefs and backgrounds to better understand and communicate with each other.
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