1) size up the person for his openmindedness
2) draw upon your 'past experience' with this person's reactions to anything that is 'different'
3) and THEN, tempting as it may be to offer your 'honest opinion'... realize its a gamble you are taking.
4) (this one kinda makes me wince...) just play around a bit with the person and be ever so 'politically correct'... Or play dumb.... Because!-- they do NOT want your honest opinion...they want to be agreed with, validated, and perhaps even praised for their opinions.
This is pretty easy to do for people who don't have too many experienced brain cells clanging around in ye olde belfrey...they are 'safe' in being honest in their naivity --giving the party of the first part a golden opportunity to instill upon that person their 'opinion!' :)....which is not so much an opinion as it is their iron clad, steel girded, impenetrable version of (drum roll....!) The TRUTH.
In my case (if you will forgive a few exagerations just to color it up a smidgeon...) when someone asked me for my 'honest opinion' --before all was said and done, the whole situation took on an atmosphere found in the movie "Fatal Attraction" ...where the "one" who is obsessed with "I am right" simply won't...goooo awaaaay...!
The old saying: One should never argue politics or religion is true. In my case, it was unwise to respond to this Email with a polite: "I don't believe that is the truth." Additionally I added a link that expressed my views on this subject which, unfortunately, included BOTH religion and politics. I didn't get 'emotionally' involved in it -- just passed it on. To me, it wasn't a 'big deal.' The response I received to this was that he was "hurt and deeply offended by my 'hatred' of this religion" (never indicated that) and this person is now 'extremely disappointed in my outlook.' See wut ah mean, Vern? --about no one really wanting your 'honest' opinion. :) So... without apologizing for my 'opinion' (I hardly expected HIM to, either) I did sincerely offer my apologies for having hurt his feelings. I meant it. I had thought of this person as a friend for a few years.
The return response was that I need not offer any unnecessary apologies, but he was 'extremely concerned' about my views....and would 'like to discuss this with me sometime in person.' Heavy sigh, eye roll, a few expletives....(on my part..)
Trying my best to show forth a beauteous and shining example of the ultimate in Political Correctness... I simply responded with, 'just so you know my apology was sincere' (although it was beginningto lose its edge...) and added, 'please, do not worry or be concerned about my opinions...thats all they are...opinions...and we each have a right to our own.' I was hoping that would be end of discussion.
But, the saga continued with "Let's meet and discuss our spiritual paths"...He would be 'interested' in my spiritual path... Yeah...right.. This time I thought Enough is Enough...so I simply never responded. He had made some real digs at my newsletter blog saying he sees 'nothing spiritual' about it...so how could I use 'spiritual' in the title?...he wonders. Enough was definately enough...I didn't respond. I just wanted to drop it. However --Yesterday I get yet another Email that literally oozed and dripped with eloquence and ...yes ... with extreme political correctness.
Since he has been fair enough to offer to sit down with me to discuss our spiritual paths like 'two adults' (and I am obviously failing to recognize this)... its therefore best that we 'limit our correspondance' ...unless a death occurs within our group of friends, to advise the other of said death. (yup...he said that!!) Otherwise he suggested we should 'act as if we are happy to see each other' and be cordial amidst our coffee drinking buddies. So, he wants any further communication to come to an end. It's one of those incidents where you don't know whether to laugh...or what... Notice I have been politically correct in the writing of this in so far as I have carefully avoided naming said religion or its connection to the political arena. I have mixed feelings about this. Because I could justifiably be accused of 'playing into' that same phoniness, too. It's a strange high wire on which to keep one's balance.
The major difference (in my opinion :) between religion and spirituality is that religion is something you practice... and spirituality is something you live.Religious dogma tells you 'how to live and what to do' ... and spirituality encourages you to find your answers within yourself. I regard the Eastern philosophies as spiritual... I regard, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism as religions. Whatever works for anyone-- that is their choice, their right. Opinion and judgment ... pretty much the same thing... and --we all do both-- Its just the way it is... what is 'bad' about holding an opinion or judging is when we are convinced we have "THE" ultimate corner on "The Truth"... All truth is relative. And!--as the Buddha said -- "don't take the word of even the most enlightened teachers as your own opinion...find it out through your OWN experience and practice." So...to me...with that perilous topic that brought about the whole mish mash -- it was taken far too seriously.... All that does is support the Ego (which simply never gets enough of 'being right.')
I spent SO much of my life searching for 'religious answers' that were, of course, always 'out there someplace' and it was up to me to 'go and look for them'... This is challenging...and its difficult when you have been programmed with the idea that you are 'dirty, sinful, and unclean and in need of being saved' ... or told 'THIS is theeee way you must walk with God.'
It's nice to talk with those with whom you are in agreement... it can bolster us and give us a sort of 'high' ...but the real learning comes from 'how do I handle it when someone is totally contrary?' Am I politcally correct (and spout a bunch of carefully worded bullshit that I don't really believe?...) or am I quiet? ...or are their ways to say what I want to say without offending the other? Being politcally correct is usually about not wanting the 'other guy' to get mad at us; it 'feels better' (to the Ego) to have his approval and validation...so one can 'fit in with the group' and feel a false sense of security that one is accepted.
What I believe (and yes, it is my opinion) about the Occupy Protesters is that THEY believe they are doing the right thing...regardless of how many people disagree with them...even to the point of their own endangerment. May it always be peaceful ... and may all all be safe. It all comes down to 'what is right for US' when we hold an opinion or take an action. How does it really and truly make us FEEL in our hearts and souls... If we truly will ALLOW others their opinions...and follow our OWN intentions that what we do is for our Highest Good and the Highest Good of Others... then...come what may ...ALL will be well. We forever keep learning ...which is a good thing! :)