Your beliefs should be a light by which you see, not a substitute for seeing
I think for myself, because I realize I am influenced by other people and things. Now that may sound cuckoo- if I'm influenced by others then how am I thinking for myself?
Great question- glad you asked!
That's truly what awareness looks like; being aware of your limitations of thought, your bias, and all that other human-ness.
Turning that awareness around on others, sometimes simply asking why they believe the way they do, is often cause for a virtual fist-fight. Tweets-a-flying! Comments-a-blasting! We can type a million words per minute, and since discussion is happening at warp speed, we don't really use good ol' fashioned conversation skills.
Slow down and read the fine print before you get offended.
Beliefs are often personal, and if it's personal, it's bias. So you're bias and everyone around you is too. Congratulations!
But when you're walking around with the notion that your politics, for instance, just appeared out of thin air, by some divine right, or a personal experience (that screams bias), you'll trip on your own ignorance. It demonstrates a misunderstanding of yourself (Lesson #1: We're all human), and a perpetual misunderstanding of everyone else.
Nobody is right or wrong, which makes discussion so crucial.
Discussion is literally just tossing around a few ideas, not a war of thoughts, with one winner.
If you are not interested in civil discussion, walk away accusing others, throw your hands up in the air, or hand out personal insults like candy on Halloween night, then you must have bypassed the human thing (please see "Lesson #1"). Not understanding (or caring) where your beliefs arise from can get you a one-way ticket to LaLaLand where you'll spend the rest of your life being the village idiot.
People tend to place all their bets (and beliefs) on how they want to be seen by others- I call this the superficial social justice warrior:
'If I'm caring I must support all immigration'.
'If I'm a good and decent law abiding citizen, I support only legal immigration'.
Then people pull enough weight on their side so that they need not look over the wall of people they've surrounded themselves with.
When I see a protest, I see a wall of people ironically fighting against walls and some sh*t.
Sure, it feels good to surround yourself with those people who agree with you, but isn't that a wall too?
I believe the discussions need to happen. Here's what I think. Here's what you think. We don't have to agree, we just need to listen. Then reflect. Rinse and repeat.
We need to be exposed to people who do not think exactly like us. Asking for "safe spaces" is essentially another wall around someone that protects them from the real world.
I'm always open for discussion...
Everybody needs to express themselves in some form- mine happens to be written form...with an opinion. Strong opinions can be useful to others. Those who were undecided or ambivalent can just adopt your stance or gain an ability to formulate their own. Those who disagree can solidify, defend, and empower their stance.