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what people believe inFor many people who live in small towns or isolated communities, it’s very easy to forget that there is a vast world out there full of people that have different beliefs, cultures and values. Prior to the Internet, there were very few windows to the outside world. People always had books and newspapers, but unfortunately in many rural communities across the world – even good reading material is scarce.

The advent of the Internet is blurring global borders. School children in Japan can converse with kids in the UK. A small-town housewife in the U.S. can get child-rearing advice from a mother in India. People are learning more about each other every day – and the more people learn about what people believe in, the more people realize that we aren’t very different after all.


After reading Tina’s fascinating article about 3 sites where you can meet complete strangers 3+ Sites To Chat With A Random Stranger 3+ Sites To Chat With A Random Stranger Read More , it struck me that there are so many avenues to learn about what different people believe. Therefore, I’d like to offer 4 websites that you can visit to learn more about what people around the world think and believe about any topic under the sun. You might even be tempted to join the discussion – and you may be surprised at what you learn.

Ask Others A Question Or Drop Some Knowledge

There are fewer ways to learn about what people throughout the world believe than to pose a question and see what people say. That’s exactly what you can do at Dropping Knowledge. Your question could be about anything from, “Why do people have to starve when there’s enough food in the world to go around?” to “Do Animals Have a Soul?”

what people believe in

I found myself mesmerized by the main page, as one stunning image after another flashed on the screen, with a related question. Some of these are mundane questions, but others really make you think about the world and everyone in it. When you click on the dialogue tab, you’ll see some of the most recent questions and resulting discussions. If you have a particular topic that you’re interested in, try the “browse themes” or “advanced search” features.

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opinions of others

Be prepared for powerful, emotional and sometimes even painful questions that really spark some fascinating comments from visitors. Cultural differences aside, a lot of these comments get right down to the heart of the matter.

What Did People Use To Believe?

I remember how interesting it was when I was younger to listen to my parent’s stories about the sort of strange and wild superstitions that people had back then. Well, now there’s a site called I Used To Believe where you can read about what people used to believe when they were kids – and you can share your own childhood superstitions and beliefs as well.

opinions of others

You can click any of the topics from the “sections” menu and browse through the childhood beliefs and superstitions that other visitors have posted.

opinions of others

If you have a few of your own you’d like to post, just click on “add your belief” in the top menu and fill out a simple form. Once it’s posted, other viewers will vote on the belief, and it might even get featured in the “best beliefs” section.

Let Other People Rank Your Top 10 Lists

Another great site that lets you gauge what people think is Unspun.  This is a “lists” site where the users get to rank the elements of the list simply by voting. It’s a great way to find out what the consensus is on the best gadgets or the best movies, and it’s also an awesome way you can gauge general public sentiment on any topic at all.

other cultures

Once you sign up with a new profile, you can type in a title for a new list in the right menu, and it’ll take you to the list entry form where you can select the appropriate category for it and then build your suggested list.

other cultures

Once you hit submit, just wait and see what the community decides is truly the “best” on your list. You may be surprised!

Listen To Interesting Talkgroups At VoxPop

I think that VoxPop is one of the most innovative communities that I’ve ever come across in a very long time. VoxPop is sort of like a forum, however each “thread” or topic is called a “talkgroup.” Each talkgroup contains a series of discussions on a specific subject.

other cultures

This doesn’t sound all that unique until you start exploring. Search for topics that interest you, click on the talkgroup and you’ll see why the site is so cool. The discussions are made up of a thread of audio comments. Just click “play” on the first, sit back and listen to each commenter speaking their views.

what people believe in

It’s like listening to a radio talkshow on any topic you like – and you can take part and add your own insight if you want to! It’s yet another very cool way to see what other people from all around the world think about different subjects.

Do you know of other useful online communities and websites where you can get insight about the beliefs and ideas from people around the world? Offer your own views in the comments section below.

  1. Ryan Dube
    September 24, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Thanks for your comment and I completely understand your concern. In hindsight, even though I based the comment upon my own experiences growing up in rural, small town in Northern Maine, it was still - as you correctly point out - narrow-minded. Even though my experiences showed me that many small towns do tend to be at least a few years behind larger cultural "norms" - that doesn't mean every small town like that. And even in towns that are - not every person.

    So your comment is well received and a lesson learned. As I writer I try to remember that there is a very wide audience reading these articles, from many different backgrounds - I will work harder at being more sensitive to that. Thank you for pointing this out.

  2. Guest
    September 23, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    I found the article adequate in directing users to sites for general curiosity and minutia but was greatly concerned by authors’ first statement;
    “For many people who live in small towns or isolated communities, it’s very easy to forget that there is a vast world out there full of people that have different beliefs, cultures and values.”
    This is an assumption and opinion by the author, yet it is submitted as a fact. On the contrary, small rural area populations are quite “in the know” of world events, other peoples and their cultures and in this “internet” age; are easily accessible. For myself as a reader of the article, it was very difficult to continue because author seemed very condescending and elitist in expressing opinion of any individual from a rural area. This is a common misconception made and very few try to correct their narrow minded perception.

  3. Guest
    September 23, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I found the article adequate in directing users to sites for general curiosity and minutia but was greatly concerned by authors’ first statement;
    “For many people who live in small towns or isolated communities, it’s very easy to forget that there is a vast world out there full of people that have different beliefs, cultures and values.”
    This is an assumption and opinion by the author, yet it is submitted as a fact. On the contrary, small rural area populations are quite “in the know” of world events, other peoples and their cultures and in this “internet” age; are easily accessible. For myself as a reader of the article, it was very difficult to continue because author seemed very condescending and elitist in expressing opinion of any individual from a rural area. This is a common misconception made and very few try to correct their narrow minded perception.

    • Ryan Dube
      September 23, 2010 at 10:45 pm

      Thanks for your comment and I completely understand your concern. In hindsight, even though I based the comment upon my own experiences growing up in rural, small town in Northern Maine, it was still - as you correctly point out - narrow-minded. Even though my experiences showed me that many small towns do tend to be at least a few years behind larger cultural "norms" - that doesn't mean every small town like that. And even in towns that are - not every person.

      So your comment is well received and a lesson learned. As I writer I try to remember that there is a very wide audience reading these articles, from many different backgrounds - I will work harder at being more sensitive to that. Thank you for pointing this out.

  4. Nat Jay
    September 17, 2010 at 8:34 am

    These sites are extensions of forums that have been around since the beginning of the internet. But I like the kind of focused, enlightening discussion that these sites have to offer. Among QnA sites, Yahoo Answers has a ton of users asking/answering questions on all topics imaginable.

  5. Yawnface
    September 17, 2010 at 9:36 am
  6. Yawnface
    September 17, 2010 at 7:36 am

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