Text of email sent to some friends on 5 Oct 2016
Should we refrain from talking politics? The obvious answer is No.

Should we become politicians? That of course is a different ballgame.

Eloquence and having the guts to speak out are the hall marks of an aptly qualified politician; however, this does not mean that a person who cannot speak well cannot be a politician. But to refuse to participate or to take an interest in politics is to risk having the wrong people in power. And having the wrong people in power can result in negative consequences for the nation and/or its people.

Should we refrain from discussing religion or religious issues/beliefs? The answer is No.

As with politics, which is not above criticism, religion, too, should be allowed to be discussed freely but should not be exempt from criticism. Whether a criticism is valid will itself be subject to further criticism if appropriate. Something may appear outlandish, but that’s OK; but if something is strikingly illogical or irrational, then it should be exposed for what it is. To be sure,  one cannot and should not be allowed to argue illogically or irrationally. To be relevant we have to be rational or logical in our approach.

And one illogicality or irrationality that seems prevalent in some people is the assuming of a belief as not just belief but as the absolute truth.

Arguably, what we believe or choose to believe, or what we do not believe or choose not to believe, will greatly influence our lives or the way we live and our attitudes toward ourselves and others. Hence we can never over-emphasize that believing, or having a desire or urge to believe, particularly the religious kind, can be a powerful force in the affairs of humanity, regardless of the fact that these beliefs are merely beliefs, with no empirical basis.

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