Freedom comes with a responsibility.
The freedom of speech cuts both ways. Our freedom to express our honest opinion (especially in public forums like Facebook), is matched by the liberty of others to respond.
If we want our opinion to be respected, then we must also accept the consequence of our words and remain accountable for them. We must also acknowledge the freedom of others to challenge or question what we say.
Having a contrary opinion is not an offense, but simply a different point of view. The problem is that some people aren’t very good at expressing themselves, or have a strong emotional reaction that often presents as anger and aggression.
So how might we challenge someone’s opinion in ways that are respectful and productive?
Perhaps a good start is to avoid ad hominem arguments. When we comment about other people’s intellect or mental health, we are no longer discussing the issue at hand but attacking them personally.
Another thing to avoid is inflammatory language. If I refer to your opinion as ‘ridiculous’ or ‘absurd’, then you’re not going to feel like listening to me. If we disagree with a point of view, it’s better simply to say ‘I don’t agree’.
Discussing an issue on Facebook is an opportunity to refine and develop our powers of communication. We can still agree to disagree with someone, yet in a way that leaves neither party feeling insulted.
We can also seize the opportunity to test our own ideas. Being humble enough to listen and admit our ignorance of a particular subject is a strength, not a weakness. It is a means to learn and grow.