There is a feeling that no one wants to engage in discussion on those topics. And when discussion does happen, it seems to devolve at the first sign of disagreement. Where the hell are the heated arguments? Why can’t one friend tell another friend that he is completely and utterly wrong in his belief that, for example, the building of the Keystone XL pipeline will have a positive economic stimulus on the nation? You don’t have to have your facts straight either. You can just yell back and forth and learn in the process.
To me, a “passionate” discussion has to be a way of life. Whether you’re talking about heavy literature, personal triumph or tragedy, why not challenge ourselves, without name-calling or personal attacks, but a simple debate of the issues from the biggest to the most minute.
Of course, there are different personalities out there. Some love confrontation, some hate it, but I don’t see a statement like “interesting point, but I still disagree” as confrontational. I see it as invitational; it’s saying “let’s think and learn about this crap together”. But perhaps it is true, that the subjects of politics and religion are fundamentally plagued with emotional landmines and so as conversation topics they are breeding grounds for strong disagreement. So, for now maybe I’ll stick to philosophy, science, literature, and the weather.