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Opposing Views: An Intriguing New Website

By Mark D. Roberts | Friday, April 24, 2009

I’ve recently become aware of a new website called Opposing Views. The headline of this site identifies it as in Beta mode, so I assume it’s very much a work in progress.

The main point of Opposing Views is . . . to present opposing views on a variety of contemporary issues, including: gun laws, condom distribution, U.S. foreign policy, child discipline, the power of prayer to heal, bottled water, the existence of God, same-sex marriage, and many more. Their major categories are: Politics, Society, Health, Money, and Religion. Under these categories they include a wide range of subjects.

Opposing Views gathers “Verified Experts” who weigh in on opposite sides of issues. They are required to express themselves in a civil manner. (See their page, “Civility 101″.) Readers are invited to add comments, who are also expected to adhere to the values of “Civility 101.”

The people producing Opposing Views are identified on the website.  I recognize a couple of their names, but am not familiar with them. I do recognize many of the organizations or individuals that have been identified as experts, including: Amnesty International, John Piper, Baptist Press, American Atheists, Focus on the Family, AFL-CIO,  the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights, and the National Right to Life Committee. As near as I can tell, the experts represent a genuine diversity of opinion on major issues, are are people who are articulate spokespersons for their cause.

Of course, being the suspicious person that I am, I wonder if Opposing Views has some sort of agenda besides facilitating authentic conversation about issues. If, for example, they utilized strong experts on one side of an issue and weak experts on the other side, then this would show some sort of bias. But I haven’t seen anything like this so far. In fact, I’ve been impressed by what seems to a balanced collection of voices.

I suppose a potential danger in Opposing Views approach is that it might over-emphasize differences on certain issues. In my experience, sometimes the people on the poles of an issue are less insightful than those who are more toward the center. I don’t know if Opposing Views will allow for moderate voices outside of the comments.

Nevertheless, I am impressed with the stated objectives of Opposing Views and with what they have managed to produce so far. I believe we desperately need places in our world today where people of differing opinions can discuss and disagree with intelligence, candor, and civility. It seems like Opposing Views seeks to be this sort of place. More power to them! I hope they succeed. And, needless to say at this point, I recommend that you check out this website. And if you’re able to give some feedback in my comments, that would be great.

Topics: Recommendations |

6 Responses to “Opposing Views: An Intriguing New Website”

  1. Stones Cry Out - If they keep silent… » Things Heard: e64v5 Says:
    April 24th, 2009 at 5:15 am

    […] interesting new website […]

  2. Peter Says:
    April 24th, 2009 at 5:32 am

    I think this new website may provide a wonderful service: intelligent discourse without stated utterances of contempt and hatred for people who dare to think differently. Any regular increase in civility is a big step forward: towards a “we” or an “us” instead of “they” and “them” awareness. This change has the opportunity to shift problem solving from a coercive mode to one of cooperation. “What are we going to do about this?” is a very different question from “what are you going to do?” with the often veiled threat of a consequence for a failure to either not act or to make a choice unacceptable to the person asking the question/demand.

  3. Mark Galli Says:
    April 24th, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Mark, thanks for this lead. We’re hoping to do something like this in CT.

  4. J Falconer Says:
    April 24th, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Rev. Roberts & Readers, Thanks for the tip on this website. Every person & issue can be viewed, analyzed & discussed in 2 or more formats-current issues & relevancy, conflicts & problems resolved, social problems & agendas-government, education, business, financial institutions, etc. Hopefully, scripture can be applied to some of the modern day situations & concerns. Alas, everyone’s feelings & thought processes will be unique. Individuality & the establishement is an interesting mix!! Thanks for everyone’s recent posts. Again, have a great week end & week ahead & Blessings!! People need encouragement & miracles for the present days & times we’re in. Love & prayers J & family

  5. Russell Fine Says:
    April 24th, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Thank you for stopping by Opposing Views and writing about us… we really appreciate it. In answer to your question — no, we don’t have an agenda. Well, that’s not completely accurate… our agenda is to provide an open platform for ALL sides of the truth to be expressed. Groups or people that meet our editorial standards as an expert with any perspective aren’t just allowed to voice their opinion… we actively seek them out. Please let me know if you would like to suggest a topic, expert, or anything. We’re still in Beta, always adding features, and it really helps to receive feedback.

    Thanks again for sharing us with your readers.

    Russell Fine
    Founder and CEO
    Opposing Views

  6. Todd Bartel Says:
    April 24th, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    One of the best things to come out of NPR is a program called “Intelligence Squared”. They get four experts on each side of an issue like “Is Aid to Africa Doing More Harm than Good?”. It started in 2006 and have about two dozen audio debates to download. Funny thing is they used to have a debate called “Is America Too Religious?” that is missing from their lineup. Glad to see other groups having civil discourse on subjects of the day. I think more people are getting tired of the obvious spinning done by both sides of the political spectrum.


Thanks for your willingness to make a comment. Note: I do not moderate comments before they are posted, though they are automatically screened for profanities, spam, etc., and sometimes the screening program holds comments for moderation even though they're not offensive. I encourage open dialogue and serious disagreement, and am always willing to learn from my mistakes. I will not delete comments unless they are extraordinarily rude or irrelevant to the topic at hand. You do need to login in order to make a comment, because this cuts down on spam. You are free to use a nickname if you wish. Finally, I will eventually read all comments, but I don't have the time to respond to them on a consistent basis because I've got a few other demands on my time, like my "day job," my family, sleep, etc.

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