(note: Quotes have been taken form the discussion here and are form Mr. Theravada, the questioner)
For example if you try to explain the reason for the sudden rise of extremist terrorism it is hard to explain it without looking like an Anti-islamic explanation. As you can see these things are complicated and when asked we must answer too.
It is not always necessary to answer: i.e. "when asked we must answer too", does not apply.
For example there are various questions which the Buddha famously left unanswered because answers to those questions wouldn't have been helpful.
Sometimes "the only winning move is not to play".
So what is your thought on this?
Someone asked that question (about a reason for terrorism) on Parenting.SE and I tried to answer it there.
The people (teachers) who teach children are trained that the doctrines and teaching materials must be "age appropriate" or "developmentally appropriate".
I judged it better to not even try to explain (and inevitably mis-explain) "terrorists' motives" to school children.
For example when people believe something like this, "Killing a non believe is a good thing and they will have heaven for that" it is clearly dumb and it will only feed a genocide. But some religions have these in their core.
I classify that as "hate speech". I'm unwilling to believe it.
And these innocent people ask us what should be the reason they should believe otherwise we must answer in a way that would make them understand while remaining respectful for their own belief as they are not still out of it.
You can perhaps use an 'I-message', something like, "The Dhammapada says that, Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."
By doing that you might hope to talk about Buddhism, instead of talking about some hopelessly misunderstood version of something else.
People see with their ego and see everyone like themselves.
it is their own dilemma to deal with.
Buddhism teaches "a middle way between extremes"; so Buddhists can beware of engaging in so-called 'false dilemmas', for example:
- "Is it better to be starving, or to be a glutton?" -- no.
- "Is it better to kill or to be killed" -- no.
- "Is it better to attack or to defend" -- no.
- "What's the reason for the sudden rise in extremist terrorism?" -- no.
Another thing is that Buddhism is clever at identifying abstractions: abstractions like "aversion", "Taṇhā", etc. Applying (or not applying) those abstractions to real-world (or not-so-real-world) entities takes something else (some other kind of skill, experience, I'm not sure what).
Still I find that Buddhism when it talks about abstractions isn't very insulting or corrosive: so keeping the talk quite abstract or non-specific, can be helpful (although, to be honest, people may not want to hear even the first noble truth).
So (about abstraction), saying "hatred isn't proper" is quite abstract and not specifically insulting anyone. Saying "you hate and therefore you're hateful" would be a lot more specific and a lot worse; so keeping things abstract is one way to avoid offending.
Maybe it's non-corrosive to teach general tools, vocabulary, logic, practical behaviour, and let other people accept and apply it in their own mind/life/time.
Another thing though (i.e. the opposite extreme) is that people can get to arguing about abstractions when they would have no argument about more concrete subjects.
Someone once suggested that I could categorize topics of conversation according to how near or far, how personal or impersonal, they are:
- The distant past or distant future is further away than the present
- The far away (distant in space) is more impersonal than what's here
- Talking about other people is more impersonal than talking about ourselves (you and me, or our families)
Anything reported in the mass media tends to be very distant: it's reporting on events which aren't now, aren't here, and aren't you and me.
In a way it's easier to argue about what's impersonal than what's personal: for example we could argue about who has the better football team; or for example people say rude things on the internet because they think they're anonymous or because they don't know who they're talking to.
Also in a way we don't know things which aren't here and now (and because we don't know them we argue about them, like the sectarians can argue about the elephant).
Look at how the how the concept of "papañca" is kind of central in the essay, Non-violence
-- A Study Guide.
I'm quite fond of the suttas. Thanissaro Bhikkhu's article about non-violence (referenced above), for example, is nothing but quotations from the suttas. Many of the other articles too, on Access to Insight, quote extensively from and/or are based on the suttas.
So maybe that is another hint: one way to ensure that the articles you write aren't too corrosive could be to base them closely on suttas -- try to defer to, try to quote, the Buddha-vacana where possible. You said, "it is very easy to look wise while saying really wise quotes" as if that's a bad thing, but I think that's kind of the point: not to look wise, but to try to make wisdom, wise quotes available.
Lastly you may be writing some 'mixed messages' here, for example:
- i do not have any idea if i can do it without being a bit corrosive in certain topics
- what i meant was not that i'm a very furious person
These might be contradictory: can you be "a bit corrosive" and yet "not furious"?
- when asked we must answer too
Are you able to explain 'liberation' even if you feel 'compelled' to answer?
Returning to the subject of what's near and "personal", perhaps you're supposed to notice how you're feeling: if you're feeling angry, compelled, anxious, thirsty, (or a bit corrosive in certain topics) then that mightn't be an especially conducive state to be teaching.
Or maybe it's those "certain topics" which are better avoided.
Or maybe they're topics in investigate: do you know other teachings that are "a bit corrosive", do you understand why they have that effect, can you do or be the opposite (e.g. "non-hatred" instead of "hatred")? Or use impermanence: what is, after corrosiveness has come and gone?