“Jesus is not on the ballot.”
We can’t know an issue, or be educated about it, if we can’t discuss it. To discuss controversial topics effectively, we need two things: our hearts and our minds.
Start with the heart. To have a healthy, productive discussion, we first need to have some kind of genuine human connection that makes it possible to truly listen to each other.
According to a recent study by Dan Kahan at Yale, people, especially bright people, more often get the math wrong when the right answer goes against their political beliefs. Jonathan Haidt explains the same phenomenon in his book, “The Righteous Mind, Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.”
The soon-to-be released AllSides Dictionary takes on nearly 400 controversial terms from “abortion” to “Zionism.” This tool engages the heart and the mind as it describes how people across the political spectrum think and feel differently about the exact same words. It is a great tool for understanding and appreciating “those people” that are so different from us.
Social media, web site comments and Google do not provide any of those skills. They actually discourage open discussion and balanced review of issues by driving people into homogenous filter bubbles where all the content supports their prior beliefs, and all their friends are just like them.
If anything, this election cycle is showing us the dangers of hyper-polarization, one-sided information and division. Our school program is giving students the tools to break through that and build a better tomorrow.
John Gable is founder and CEO of AllSides, a media technology company that helps you see, understand and discuss multiple perspectives. The crowd-driven technologies at AllSides.com provide bias ratings, news, issues, search and civil dialogs that reveal a wide variety of perspectives and build bridges between conflicting ideas and people.