To me, they indicate that I am not simply willing to accept what I hear as fact.
They mean that I think for myself in an age where we have multiple cable channels that are incredibly popular simply because they tell people what they want to hear.
I'm always weary of 'group think', the dynamic where alternative perspectives are ignored for the sake of pseudo harmony.
If you put me in a situation where everybody is agreeing, I'm going to start playing counter point just to force everyone to examine their own belief or opinion.
Sometimes, I may go a bit far and start arguing just because I like to argue, but the overall purpose is to make sure there is safety in sharing opposing viewpoints for anybody who wants to disagree.
Sometimes, I flat out disagree with commonly held viewpoints ("As an American, I have a duty to engage in the political process by voting"), and other times I feel it is important to explore nuances ("Does supporting troops mean that I support war?")
Now, I think that in order for an unpopular opinion to be valid, you must be able to defend your position. Taking a stance just to get a rise out of people isn't valuable in the least.
Anybody can say that they hold another viewpoint, but without the ability to intellectually defend a position using respectable grounds (logic, philosophy, theology, scientific, etc), you're demonstrating ignorance. On the internet, we call this 'trolling'. I'm not a fan of this.
We must be willing to drop our opposing viewpoints if facts or compelling arguments demand that we must do so.
I am willing to be proved wrong as I explore new concepts within frequently trod paths of understanding.
Our brains...our intellect...is a gift from God. I never turn it off. Not when I watch TV, not when I go to church, not in meetings or conferences.
As long as we know how to have respectful discussion around disagreements, sharing differing perspectives and viewpoints makes us stronger.
Oh, and I almost forgot:
Cats are better than dogs.
U2 is the best band of all-time (Coldplay is 2nd and rising fast).
Hawaii is overrated as a vacation destination.
35@35 is a blog series by Thomas Christianson which involves 35 blog posts in 2014 on 35 things he has learned at the age of 35.