People Who Flipped Their Opinions On Extremely Controversial Topics Explain Why They Did
People can have very strong opinions on certain subjects. But even though they may think they'll never change their minds about their deeply held beliefs, sometimes they do.
Reddit user morieu asked "People who 'switched sides' in a highly divided community (political, religious, pizza topping debate), what happened that changed your mind? How did it go?"
Here are the insights into people who jumped from one side of the fence to the other.
My family used to be middle income. I used to be super pissed about those "damn unions" when they were striking, called thise taking gov support "leeches" etc.
After the 2008 financial crisis ,my family lost a huge amount of their income due to no fault of their own, and my career took a huge downturn. Meanwhile workers rights were completely dismantled, trying to turn the country more "competitive" and as a result I had shitty wages and almost no protection from bosse's predation. The phrases "Just be happy I even pay you" or " There are thousands waiting at the door just like you" become the norm in pretty much every job. Work rights that are absolutely standard everywhere dissapeared overnight.
Since then the only thing that allowed us to keep our head above the water have been government support with health plans, free training trying to get back to the work force, protection from eviction etc.
I am hardcore social democrat now, and I can see were communists come from, even if I don't agree with a lot of stuff the philosophy entails.
Toilet paper over or under. I used to be in the IDGAF camp until I realized under was Satan's work.
Over all the way now.
Fishing. I used to an very avid catch and release angler, fished with some of the best, was in a few magazines etc etc. I started to look a bit closer as to what I was doing, how many fish survive after catching and releasing them and came to the conclusion that though it's fun for me (at the time) it probably wasn't all that much fun for the fish. My regular group of fishing friends who were a fun and very talented, knowledgable bunch, mostly conservation minded guys just couldn't understand my change of heart. I now fished only to keep, which they thought was wrong but I never over harvested and always kept to the limits allowed or just a couple for supper, freezer, whatever. I'm not sure what changed my mind but I just started feeling bad about how I was hurting another living being for nothing more than essentially bragging rights and my own pleasure.
Leaving Bigotry Behind
In 2006 in Tennessee I voted for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and I deeply regretted that later, and was very glad when SCOTUS overturned it.
The reason I voted that way is pretty simple though, religion. At the time I was a Christian, and thought being gay was a sin, and that as a result they shouldn't be allowed to marry. Later, when I deconverted, there wasn't any struggle about the gay marriage issue at all, because I never actually had anything against gay people, even when I was a Christian, but I was just following my belief system.
Without that belief system it was sort of a no-brainer that they should have the same rights as everyone else, and that there's no logical argument against being gay, and that I was the one who did that wrong thing when I helped to take away their rights, not them.
No Mo' GMO No
GMOs. I used to feel that they were "unnatural" and therefore bad. After getting a chemistry degree and spending a lot of my personal time studying food science, as well as working on farms and gardening, I think that genetic solutions to farming can be great.
I still think that big farming is rife with horrible practices, and some companies exploit GMOs and patents on GMOs to the detriment of humanity, but I can no longer subscribe to the GMOs=evil point of view.
Wisconsin had an election in 2006 where a ballot item called Referendum 1 would decide whether marriage between a man and a woman would constitutionally be the only legal form of marriage accepted and allowed in Wisconsin. It passed with 59% of the voters voting yes and the state Constitution was amended. I voted yes.
Shortly afterward, I started thinking. A lot. I started to realize that many of my friends were gay and I was friends with their partners. They were happy. They adopted kids. They volunteered for the fire department. They were nurses. I started realizing that their homosexuality didn't define their being. I was foolish and ashamed.
By 2011, I deeply regretted how I voted. Who was I to judge how people were supposed to live their lives and who they could marry? Within a 5 year period of time, I completely changed my mind. A new movement to get the amendment ruled unconstitutional was formed and I found myself supporting the group. In mid-2015, the US Supreme Court declared the referendum was illegal.
I was raised to believe in creationism. Specifically, young earth creationism. That's right, my parents taught me that the Earth was something like 6000 years old, and that concepts like speciation or human evolution were not true. I had the whole nine yards: Sunday school to reinforce it, the Discovery Institute to tell me science was wrong, pastors to re-enforce it.
The degree to which they controlled the information that I consumed was pretty f---- up as well. I remember my great grandparents giving us a bunch of those old Time-Life books, one of which was the Life Nature Library series. One of these books happened to be on evolution (my parents did not review the books before letting me at them), and being a 7 year old science geek I read it. I remember showing it to a friend of mine, and explaining the patterns associated with human evolution, and when my mother overheard this, she snatched the book from my hands. My parents later told that everything in that book was completely untrue, and I believed them.
Unfortunately for my parents, being a science geek, I eventually ended up in AP Biology. In that class I was totally ready and fired up to argue against the teacher whenever human evolution came up. What ended up happening was a reasonable explanation regarding our origins, with piles of evidence to back it up. That course changed my mind about evolution, and once that happened I started to question God's existence.
My conversion to atheism was a long and drawn out process, that ended with me moving out of my parents place. Things are better now, as my parents have decided that having me in their lives is more important than me believing in god.
Live & Let Live
I'm a conservative and used to be really homophobic until I realized I live in a country founded on personal freedoms and we shouldn't decide whoever someone wants to marry. Still a conservative but couldn't give 2 bits if you are gay or not.
Dungeons & Denominations
I used to be an active member of my church. (I'd experienced a near death experience when I was a child and was reaching out to try to better understand what happens to a person when they die.)
One thing my youth pastor was adamant about was that D&D was a gateway for the devil. He used to talk about his younger days when he was a teen and he tried D&D and how the devil would reach through him and act through him and his friends. He says he stopped when the devil tricked him into thinking his friend was a demon, and he tried to kill his friend.
My brother was getting into D&D at this time, so this was particularly worrisome. It lead to a great deal of fighting between me and my brother.
Over time I kept watching for signs of the devil in my brother and never really found any. I started taking a closer look at the books and trying to suss out what the threat was. But couldn't find one.
Then I started pressing my youth pastor and people who knew him for more information. Eventually my youth pastor slipped up and mentioned that he'd frequently drop acid while playing D&D.
Suddenly everything made a lot more sense.
The Last Straw
I've pretty much stopped using straws at/from restaurants.
I know it sounds stupid and small, but the plastic pollution stuff is getting to me and I am not a "green" type of person at all... so it's a big deal to me if for nothing else than personal growth. As time goes on, and pretty much every time I take out the trash, I'm reminded of how utterly wasteful everything is. Baby steps I guess...
Right to Life and Death
I used to think that it was awful that people ever died, or wanted to die. I thought that it was normal and natural to want to fight for ever last moment, every last breath, even if it wasn't quite great.
Then I got into medicine and nursing. Now I understand how valuable death is in life, how important it is that we have that choice and that option. There truly are some times where the life you are living is truly awful suffering, and it's cruel to expect people to continue on with it. It's cruel to ask somebody who will never move again to continue living that way just so we don't feel bad. Death is important sometimes. It saves us from when life goes very very bad.
I grew up in an uber-religious family. Church 3 times a week with classes and meetings in between. Everything we did was for the lord. When I started getting older, however, I started realizing that what was being taught wasn't quite what I believed in.
Love thy neighbor turned into Love thy neighbor as long as they're not gay.
Help the needy turned into I've got mine, so politely go f yourself.
Only God can judge you turned into everyone judging everyone about everything and church politics took over.
Do unto others? Lets go tattle to the preacher and complain until someone is kicked from the church.
Most people fell in line and never really looked into what was being taught vs what the bible said. It was seriously like a cult of like-minded beings and since I was critically thinking about it, they turned on me as well.
I couldn't see how horrible things were until I was away from it all. Its like getting lost in a maze and not being able to figure out where to turn. Once you get out, climb that cliff, and look back down, you realize every corner and wrong turn made and you can't believe how caught-up in that mess you were.
I moved out of state and married a wonderful guy. I don't talk to part of my family anymore.
I used to be against nuclear power, so I then decided to research it for school and it turned out it might be the best we've got until renewable resources get further in their development.
I don't think it's the best long term, but I don't think it's the devil no more. My parents who were green wavers during the seventies are very mad at me for this.
Certain themes of conversation
Resonate around the nation -
Small contentions oft repeated
Make for altercations heated.
Let us talk of all religions -
Add a dash or half a smidgen's
Pinch of doctrine hard to swallow -
Watch the chaos shortly follow.
Let us talk of state and power -
Add a drop of Donald's tower,
Daily news and contradiction -
Settle back and watch the friction.
Soon you'll find you're off debating,
Ranting, raving, raging, hating,
... let us talk of pizza topping.
I was a hardcore anti-theist since I was a teenager, basically a rebellion against my strict religious upbringing. When I was in college an older family friend of ours relapsed into drugs and started f*ing his life up, losing his family and house. My parents invited him to their church and he gradually turned his life around thanks to his spiritual "rebirth." I'm still not a believer, but I have a greater respect for the social utility of religion after seeing what a turnaround that dude made.
Cilantro. I absolutely could not stand the soap-like flavor for 20+ years. Entire stalks slapped on my Thai entrees, bits in the guacamole, haunted my dreams and damn near ruined Thanksgiving one year. Then one day, like magic, the soapy fog lifted. I have no idea what happened. I absolutely love the stuff now.
I used to think programming was dumb and computers were ridiculous for not being more intuitive. Then I spent 11 years working with people and realized they're worse. Now I'm stressed and can't remember how to program anymore.
Grammar Police Retiree
I used to be a die hard grammatical prescriptivist. There was a right way to talk and that was that. THERE ARE RULES!.
Over time I realized the rules are more or less arbitrary and the point of language is to communicate ideas, not follow strict rules. Whether you follow every rule in the MLA handbook or u talk liek dis all da tiem is irrelevant, as long as the listener understands the speaker's intent.
Anti-Vax No More
Used to be extremely anti-vaccination. Now quite in favor. What changed my mind? I had a baby and had to make that decision for someone other than myself. I dove into the research and did a lot of soul searching. It was really just a problem with ignorance on my part. We are all fully vaccinated now.
Expanding the Playlist
I used to hate country but then I discovered the banjo and bluegrass and turns out what I hate is modern country.