This happened to me on Thursday in Ethics class. I am easily the most outspoken person in the class (Ha!), but to my great surprise this so far has not resulted in the class shunning me or labeling me, but instead has shockingly increased my popularity. Why this is, I don’t know, despite my new-found interest in Game. Something to do with confidence maybe? Whatever it is, I’m quite happy with it.
Of course, I dread when we get to the “difficult” stuff, like abortion and gay marriage. I did get a little taste of it on Thursday though, and interestingly it wasn’t so bad. Two girls sitting in front of me were chatting. I can’t recall how, but I managed to insert myself into the conversation. I explained that, whatever my views seemed like (I’d made it clear I was against the bombings in Japan and I was against torture), I was an extremely conservative Catholic to the point that most people would consider radical. I said I wasn’t looking forward to the discussion on abortion for this reason, and one of the girls asked me what my views really WERE on abortion.
I explained that most would consider me extreme on the issue, as I am against abortion in every circumstance. One of the girls said that a lot of guys who were against abortion couldn’t really make a judgment like girls could because guys can’t get pregnant.
I was very careful in the way I responded. I’m not going to go into details both to preserve my privacy and to preserve the subject of the story’s privacy, but I told a story about somebody I know who had a very personal experience involving abortion to help explain my views.
The other girl, who up to now hadn’t said much, said that she knew a woman who was against abortion but worked for an abortion clinic because “It was a job”. When she was asked to assist in the abortion, she couldn’t handle it (she specifically mentioned the woman finding a dead fetus in a trash can, in case you were wondering if those stories are pro-life propaganda). So she quit. I nodded and agreed that it was easier for people to accept abortion when they don’t need to really accept what’s going on. There are other stories of women who work for clinics who quit when they see what happens, or even abortionists who repent. That’s real life.
We were interrupted when class started, but I honestly thought I got both girls thinking and came off looking pretty well. When dealing with the real world, discuss things about the real world. Real stories about real people have more of an effect than philosophical arguments. They humanize things. Philosophy has its place, but distanced from life it becomes cold, lifeless, and uncaring.
I’m not sure exactly how to articulate the lesson here. I think that whole incident might have helped clarify things for me a bit. If nothing else, it gives me something (else) to mull over and consider for the future.