If you’ve been on social media at all in the past two years, you know that people love to post their opinions, particularly as those opinions relate to controversial topics. Trump, Biden, Coronavirus (and the Vaccine), Tech-Censorship etc…etc…


And what does this spouting of opinion do? Usually, it results in a bunch of “Yeah that’s completely correct!” and “Boo, your view is bad and you should feel bad!”


Aren’t you glad for all of those helpful discussions? *insert heavy sarcasm*


Therefore, in order to help cut down on all of this posting silliness, allow me to share my Handy Guide for Posting About Controversial Topics:


 Welcome to having an opinion on a controversial topic! We’re glad you want to join in on the discourse. However, before you post, please consider the following steps:


Step 1: STOP!
Don’t post anything yet. Before you say/post anything, remember to apply the formula “Think/Filter/Speak.” This will cut down on many unnecessary words or posts!


Step 2: THINK!
The first part of the formula, and possibly the hardest. Really think about what you want to post. Need help? Here are a few points to consider:
  1. Do you really know much about this topic or do you simply like your conclusion? Before you say, “I really know!” ask the second question,
  2. Do you really really know?? Do you know all the facts surrounding your conclusion? Do you know if there are opposing facts? Do you know what the opposing facts are?  Do you know about the motives of those touting the facts that support your side?
  3. If your opinion is true, what would that mean for others? What would it require others to do? What would it require you to do?
  4. Have you considered that the people who disagree with you might have a good, well-intentioned reason for doing so?


Step 3: FILTER!

Filtering can be helpful even when it seems like what you have to say is true. Ask yourself, “Does this really add to the conversation or do I just want to feel right?

Is this actually going to change someone’s mind, or am I simply trying to “own” the other side of the argument? Is posting this an example of loving my neighbor?

If the answer is anything other than, “This is a helpful way to love my neighbor and I have no desire to be degrading to others,” you should skip posting your “hot take.”


Step 3a:
Go back and repeat Steps 2 and 3 a few more times


Step 4:
SPEAK! Congratulations! If you successfully completed the steps above, you are adding an important piece of information to the conversation while trying to genuinely love your neighbor. Good for you!

See Also:

The Danger of Meme Theology

Conversations, Nuance and Humility

Winsome Conviction

Tyler Bauer, MA is a high school teacher and speaker. He holds an MA in Apologetics from Biola University and is a Philosophy PhD student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.