Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

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.

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