Politics and religion. Two hot topics gentlemen are advised to not bring up in social situations. Why? Because no two people see eye-to-eye on every moral issue, which is what makes them controversial.

That said, I can’t help but wonder if our well-meaning effort to avoid disagreements has hindered our generation from understanding what we believe about important cultural and controversial issues of our time?

Whether or not we enjoy debating about them, shouldn’t every man examine his convictions, his conscience, and his life experience to determine where he stands?  As the old saying goes, “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reexamine our views as we grow in wisdom, but knowing them will help us be stronger (and better informed) citizens who are not easily swayed by whoever shouts the loudest.

What follows is a list of ten controversial political and social issues you need to reflect on, decide where you stand, and know why you do. A word of caution: doing so will force you to think deeply about your beliefs and your politics. Then again, that might not be such a bad thing.

Let’s begin.

1. What role should the government play in society? Should it be more or less involved in your life?

2. Do you believe in the death penalty? If so, for what crimes?

3. Should citizens be allowed to carry guns? How much control should be placed on them?

4. Is there ever a time for war? If so, what would justify it?

5. Should abortion be legal? More to the point, when is a person a person?

6. Should homosexuals have the same right to marry as heterosexuals?

7. What role should religion play in government? What role should government play in religion?

8. How should the government handle illegal immigration?

9. Should the government provide health care for its citizens or should that be left to the individual?

10. Should we pursue human cloning for any reason? If so, for what reasons? What are your ethical concerns?

Wherever he lands on the social and political spectrum, a mature gentleman recognizes fellow citizens with opposing views aren’t usually his enemy. He also has the humility to understand he is probably wrong about something, so there’s no sense getting arrogant or oppressive about his point of view. Unfortunately, many folks do.

As best he can, a gentleman should extend grace and work for peace with his neighbor. All while holding a firm grasp to his ideals and living by them.

Yes, you should know where you stand. Just be careful not to step on anyone as you do.