I agree with this link completely.
When we think we are right and good, we place ourselves above others, and that automatically suppresses dialogue and leads to binary thinking: I’m right, therefore you are wrong; I’m good, therefore you are bad. I would add to this article that the same thinking needs to apply to left- and right-wing political views.
“The people and environment around you may completely convince you that you are correct and that the rest of the world is wrong, and that’s something that we often take great consol[ation] in… knowing what we’re “supposed” to be doing. It gives us a sense of purpose, direction, reason. It makes us feel as though we’re on the right path. It’s important to have a fundamental understanding of what we will and will not do. However, part of everyone’s “code of conduct,” if you will, should be to revere others regardless of who and what they are.”
I think this is especially important in the internet era. We tend to “friend” people who have similar religious and political views, and de-friend people who go against our views. This only entrenches us further in our belief that we are right and good and others are wrong and bad. When we get into our “right and good” corners, we feel safe and righteous, but we completely stifle the kind of reflection and open-minded thinking that is necessary to solve our problems.
I am certainly guilty of this. I have a megaton crapload of friends on Facebook, but I can think of only a handful of them who openly express views that are significantly opposed to mine. Sometimes when I read posts that go against my beliefs, I feel an almost magnetic repulsion that makes me search for the defriending mechanism. But I try to resist that urge because I strongly believe that exposure to a wide range of views is important to my development as a person. Instead, I try to follow the links that they post to get a better idea of their worldview. I don’t like doing this, and I don’t do it all the time (I would much rather look at pictures of cats than read about abortion, gun control, and theism in my spare time), but I think of it as the spiritual equivalent of taking a teaspoon of cod liver oil in the morning. (I don’t actually do that, though.)
I think that Western culture has an obsession with good vs. evil and that forces us to feel like we need to keep what we perceive as “evil” at bay. Until we can open up our minds to the idea that there is more to the world than good vs. evil (God vs. Satan, hero vs. villain, terrorist vs. patriot, good vs. bad, right vs. wrong), we are doomed to continue our long and senseless history of “fighting the bad guys”.
Or, stated another way, a person who insists on this binary worldview, can’t also insist on being on the “good” side at all times.