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Top 10 Most Controversial Topics

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Shane Fraser These are the topics that can tear a friendship, relationship - or a good conversation - apart. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Controversial Topics. For this list, we're exploring the most conflicting subjects that pervade humanity. Special thanks to our user Oyajitchi for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Most Controversial Topics


These are the topics that can tear a friendship, relationship - or a good conversation - apart. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Controversial Topics.

For this list, we’re exploring the most conflicting subjects that pervade humanity. These may hit close to home, make you angry or uncomfortable, or release your inner activist, but what they won’t do is fail to elicit an opinion. The topics we are focusing on are broad, so they encompass tons of additional subtopics. For example, if animal rights were a category, but hunting was not, it would be because animal rights is an umbrella topic that contains hunting. So consider that point if you think you’ve thought of a subject that we didn’t include.

#10: Stem Cells

Embryonic stem cells are microscopic miracles. Their potential healing power is limitless; from regenerating limbs and burned skin, to reversing the effects of strokes and heart disease. This world of tissue restoration could only be a reality, however, if science had the license to produce them—which would mean the destruction of human embryos. These types of cells can only be retrieved after death, so the raising of any embryo to be slaughtered can be construed as unethical, playing God, or just plain murder. Is an embryo a human being, and is its sacrifice permissible if it saves the lives of many? These are polarizing questions.

#9: Drug Legalization

Would the control and legalization of drugs make the recreation safer, or would it create a generation of unmotivated and unhealthy stoners? While marijuana is the most prominent drug in this debate, its risk is low because its health effects are minimal. But there are many who see the benefit of legalizing harder drugs as well, both for the economic value and for the eradication of most organized crime. Of course, this would come at a price. In the drug debate, it’s all about weighing the bad against the good.

#8: Abortion

It may be the most famous of the ethical debates. The killing of a fetus for no lawful reason just leaves a sour taste in people’s mouths. But, just like the stem-cell topic - if a fetus is not developed, does not have a brain, is not conscious, or is not self-aware, should it be considered a person? And if it is destroyed without ever knowing it was alive, can the act really be considered murder? It’s like the fallen tree in the forest problem, only with more serious consequences.

#7: Gun Control

With gun violence and mass shootings at an all-time high in the United States, where guns and the right to own them are considered sacred, it is no wonder this topic is so contentious. As a second amendment right, bearing arms is as quintessentially American as burgers and apple pie. But when it results in an inordinate number of violent deaths and people who are afraid to leave their homes, it changes the scope and gravity of the issue. Should guns be outlawed? Would it make America safer or would the illegal market boom in their absence? And would it deter lunatics - or does crazy always find a way?

#6: Immigration

In light of the Syrian refugee crisis and the collective Western uneasiness towards Muslims, the topic of immigration is as serious and relevant as ever in the 21st century. With throngs of displaced foreigners seeking refuge in countries they perceive as utopic, the world is at odds on how to remedy this. On the one hand, there’s the idea that a benevolent nation should reach out to help those who desperately need it. But on the other hand, a practical nation should put the safety of its citizens first and shield them from potential danger. It’s hard to unwaveringly stand on either side of the debate, although some people have less trouble than others.

#5: LGBT Rights

From marriage equality to gender reassignment surgery, this category certainly runs the gamut of controversial topics. Since much of western culture has accepted gay marriage, and most basic rights of LGBs are secure, it is the transgender community that’s seeking society’s acceptance these days. While many believe that biology dictates a person’s gender, some regard it as an identity, just as one views his or her sexual preference. Wherever and however this debate resolves, it will be a bumpy ride getting there, as some view the current line between “mental illness” and “personal choice” as extremely thin.

#4: Race Relations

Unless you walk a mile in a person’s shoes - or skin, in this instance - you cannot understand him or her. That seems to be the philosophy binding all ethnicities, and any person of a differing race who attempts this comprehension is deemed a racist. In the midst of this issue are the highly controversial buzzwords “guilt” and “privilege,” which have been applied very liberally in recent years. Should a person be guilty for what he or she can’t control, and should he or she be part of the blame for his or her race’s transgressions? It’s hard to know and even harder to talk about.

#3: The Death Penalty

Who can decide if a person should die? That is the question surrounding this long-standing debate on the morality of the death penalty. Some take an eye for an eye approach on crime, others believe that life in prison is a far more suitable punishment, while a substantial percentage thinks that only God should decide who lives and who dies. Considering that 31 U.S. states have the death penalty, and 19 do not— almost half of which abolished it in the last ten years—the debate is becoming much more even sided.

#2: Politics

Every topic on this list can fall under the umbrella of politics in one way or another. It’s the government; it controls the world, it can control media, and, within reason, it controls you. Any change can have a profound effect on your quality of life. Your own political ideologies are always at odds with someone else’s, as people seem to be pigeonholed into the right or left wing. Believing in one thing instead of another can land you on either side of the spectrum, and can occur entirely without your knowledge. What about the issue of whether the Church and the State should be separate? Politics is a debate you have no choice participating in.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Euthanasia
- Sex Education for Children
- Police Brutality
- Prostitution
- Immunization

#1: Religion

Religion - or lack thereof - determines how a person lives his or her life, and – potentially - how they will spend his or her afterlife. There is no doubt that this is a touchy subject - the threat of infringing upon one’s eternal happiness can turn a sane person mad. Since the first hominid prayed to an unknown force thousands of years ago, the number of lives lost from wars, genocides, crusades, and sacrifices has been astronomical - and religion has been a catalyst for many of these. There are few decisions made without the influence of religion. Like it or not, spirituality and religious involvement are as much a part of humanity as bipedalism, and we must contend with their discrepancies.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the most controversial topic? For more debatable top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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