Tuesday, 15 January 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt: Polite Company

"Its never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don't really know." Agree or disagree?

Amthaus 1, Solothurn
Local Government Building  - Law Courts

If I don’t really know the person I am speaking to then I could not imagine that my conversation would begin with “What religion are you?” or “Who did you vote for in the last election?” so we have another sort of silly subject to write a blog about. On the other hand, it depends on whether they are invited guests you do not know so well and the conversation turns to religion and politics.

I always have a thirst for knowledge. If my guests were hindu, buddist, islam or another religion then a conversation on their ideas would be interesting. I worked for many years as an export clerk and had a lot of contact, personally or by phone, with the whole world. I was also responsible for the apprentices in our office and they often had other origins. I learnt what Ramadan actually was, I learnt about living your life in a household that was based on another religion and if I wanted to know something more I asked. I found the feedback was interesting and helpful, but I would not actually discuss the basis of the religions. I, myself, am atheist and I never made a secret about it. I too was accepted with my “non-belief”. Tolerance is the basis for a mutual good relationship.

As far as politics are concerned, now that is another kettle of fish. We all have our ideas about the perfect government, but looking around the world, I have come to the conclusion that the perfect government does not yet exist and probably never will. In most Western countries we are striving for a balance, although each politician seems to believe that their way is the right way. If I am confronted with guests that are completely radically right wing, I just let them get on with it. If my guests are from the left side of politics then I also do not discuss with them their political ideas.

To discuss politics with my Swiss guests is not something I would not bother about. We are so neutral we even elect a new president every year in December. We have seven ministers in the government, 2 conserative, 2 liberal, 2 socialist and 1 something else, always from the same parties, so what is there to discuss. They take it in turns to become Prime Minister every year. The Swiss call it the magic formula and it is decreed by the country that it should be like this. Of course we have members of parliament from various parties that are voted for by the Swiss citizens, but as far as discussions on politics are concerned, it is  lost cause.

The Swiss system is such that if you have visitors that turn the conversation to politics, it usually develops into a conversation about the characters of various politicians, not liking him or her, and not a discussion about the actual political problems. 

I prefer discussion with my guests about the weather, perhaps sport, and health. Illness is always a good subject to bring up. Everyone wants to talk about their aches and pains or the weather. If the majority of the visitors are male, then sport is a good subject. 

And now to search for a suitable photo in my collection on politics and religion – I am more into animals and travel photos.

Einsiedelei, Rüttenen


  1. Having seen posts online about politics or religion erupt into very very nasty abuse, usually between people with very differing views but who often don't know each other even online, I think the original question has some validity. And of course, having seen those events, my natural answer is!! most definately NOT a good idea.

  2. I refuse to discuss either.

    Great post Pat.

  3. I consider myself open minded when it comes to religion. It's when people attempt to force their beliefs on others that bothers me.
    It's a different matter when it comes to politics. I seriously considered un-friending people in one social media site because of their views but I didn't. I've learned to not post a comment.