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Controversial Discussion Topics: I need topics for a good, deep discussion in a group....

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dk13 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 26, 2009 at 3:18 AM via web

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Controversial Discussion Topics:

I need topics for a good, deep discussion in a group.

Something that is controversial where there will be opinions in favour and against -- something like racism, religions, sexualities, or something interesting of that sort.

Thanks for the help!

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muallen126 | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 26, 2009 at 3:34 AM (Answer #2)

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One topic that always leads to deep discussions is "Nature vs Nurture?" In other words - What has the greatest impact on the type of person we will become: The way our parents raised us (nurture) or the influence our surroundingenvironment has on us (nature)?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 26, 2009 at 4:36 PM (Answer #3)

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If it is a wide open discussion on the topics suggested, I think that there are some timely issues which can spark some passionate debate.  One topic on race which is quite relevant would be the recent uproar concerning Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and the Cambridge Police Department.  The debate here was whether the incidents in the case constituted an example of racial profiling or whether or the police department acted within standard protocol.  This debate will result from the belief of whether or not racial profiling exists or whether it is a construct of hyper- sensitivity.  Another topic that is timely and can discuss intense debate would be the release of the Pan Am Fiight 103 bomber on "compassionate grounds."  Does he, an individual who participated and executed the bombing of a commercial passenger aircraft, merit such treatment?  Did he afford his victims the same luxury?  This can be an interesting topic to the idea of justice and fairness.  While it is not directly related to the topics you present, I would think that an intense debate can center around the recent health care proposals and issue, itself.  Does government have a right or obligation to provide health care to all who are in need?  Does government have an equal obligation to leave such matters alone, allowing the marketplace to run its rightful course?  The death of Senator Ted Kennedy, a massive voice in this debate in his advocacy for nationalized health care, has catapulted this issue in even more greater light and, given recent the timbre of town hall meetings, can evoke powerful discussion.

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lmcfall | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 26, 2009 at 6:21 PM (Answer #4)

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A topic sure to generate heated discussion is the differences in today's modern religions, especially the differences between Christianity and Islam. There are many side topics that can be addressed as well. Do the bombings and murders of Muslim against Muslim have religious meaning? Is it true that Muslims will go to heaven if they kill an infidel (non-Muslim?) Does the face of Islam as we see it in the news every day really reflect what Islam is? How can groups such as the Taliban thrive? Do Muslim women really want to wear such confining clothing?

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 27, 2009 at 7:53 PM (Answer #5)

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Two other controversial topics that are very much in the news concern gay marriage and the adoption of children by gay couples. Should government have the authority to say who can and cannot be married? Is refusing to allow gay people to marry an act of discrimination that violates their civil rights? Does banning gay marriage benefit society? Is it a good idea to allow gay couples to adopt children? These topics should surely produce conflicting views in a group discussion, just as they do in our society at large.

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mcalnan | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted November 2, 2009 at 6:26 PM (Answer #6)

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The obvious answers are religion and politics, so the saying goes... On the first, questions I like to ask are: Why have most historical wars and modern day conflicts been over religious issues [Shia v. Sunni, Judaism v. Muslim, Catholic v. Protestant, Muslim v. Christian, Bosnia v. Serbia]? And, the follow-up question is how can religions have credibility in their teachings when it so often leads to violence? On the second topic, ask how anyone can identify with either political party's complete platform when there are clearly hypocritical philosophies underlying many of their positions [Democrats are pro-choice but anti-war; Republicans are pro-life but militaristic].

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted June 10, 2010 at 6:43 AM (Answer #7)

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There are many controversial topics out there. Another topic that is very controversial is euthanasia. People are usually for it or against it. Another very controversial topic is the United States involvement in the Middle East.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 28, 2011 at 10:14 AM (Answer #8)

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The key is to choose a topic that can be supported by facts on both sides, and won't be ruled by passionate convictions. There is a difference between deeply helped religious and political beliefs and backing up opinions with facts. Stick to topics that are controversial, but still debatable. These topics really depend on the group, but I would suggest things like extra taxes on junk food, uniforms in schools, selling violent video games to minors, and democracy in the middle east.

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