Ask Big Questions… and change the world?

The information below is taken from Ask Big Questions and explores the importance of questions.  ABQ releases a new “big question” each month to encourage and promote dialogue, self-reflection and community.  

Can we change the world through better conversation?
We believe we can.

We don’t have many opportunities today to develop relationships with people of different backgrounds who may hold different viewpoints. When we have those opportunities, we are able to see beyond our differences to discover what we have more deeply in common. By having conversations around life’s “Big Questions,” we can create understanding among people on campus, in our communities, and around the world.

“Big Questions” are concerned with the topics that matter to all of us, regardless of our religious traditions, cultural heritage, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and personal or political beliefs. Together, through these conversations, we can understand each other, understand ourselves, and make the world a better place.

November’s question* is, “How do we decide who to vote for?”  Read the responses of college students across the country via ABQ’s blog.

Can “big questions” change the world?  

What “big questions” do you think need to be asked to promote understanding, self-discovery, and community?

*This is not intended to serve as a political post, debate of specific issues or candidates.

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28 Responses to Ask Big Questions… and change the world?

  1. Jacob Melton says:

    Questioning anything always leads to new understand and change so asking “big questions” can definitely cause “change”. Whether they change the world is another question. I think asking questions will lead to new understanding and growth but it is not till we take action on these new beliefs and understandings that change happens. Many of the questions addressed in our classes are valuable for anyone to ask themselves. Things like what their personal beliefs are, what they value, and the like. These are some of the “big questions” that I think will help cause change in our communities and maybe if enough people take action it will also change the world.

    • Rachel E says:

      I completely agree with you Jacob. Asking questions is how we learn and grow. In order to make changes to our current world, someone has to stand up and question the way something works now. Questions are a great way to start a conversation but change only comes about based on actions. Making a change in a small town or city involves only a few people but to make a change in the world, it will require a large group of people that are willing to stand up for what they believe. The big questions that are asked can only be solved by action by the people.

      • Emily Hucks says:

        I agree with Rachel, and what she said about agreeing about “Big Questions” can lead to “change.” I also agree with Rachel when she says “In order to make changes to our current world, someone has to stand up and question the way something works now.” I think it’s important for people to challenge and question how things are working and if there is something that will make the thing they are questioning easier or more effective. Just like leadership, people need to question their leaders to make sure that they are steering the group in the right path, and that they know what the common goal of the group is to make sure they don’t lead the group to a place that none of them wanted to go in the first place.

  2. Daniel M says:

    Asking “Big Questions” is a good way to open the doors to mutual understanding of one another. We can’t expect change to occur naturally, as people like to stick to habits and routine. We have to consciously acknowledge the need for interaction and communication in order to make an effort to do it. Personally my Big Question is “Why do we naturally shy away from change?”

    • Grace Ellis says:

      I agree with Daniel; in general, people like to feel secure and want their lives to be predictable, so they shy away from change. But why is this? I believe that we should ask “Big Questions” about phenomena that we normally take for granted in order to see the world in a different way. We need to interrogate the hidden motives and institutions that are “normal” to us and uncover the problems. Once we expose the problems, we can use our leadership skills to change them for the good of society.

  3. Courtney says:

    I think big questions provoke thought, and then may eventually bring about change. We can ask why, how, where, when, etc. and everyone will have a different opinion. This question will provoke thought by everyone, hence the opinion. And although you may agree change may never happen, things may stay the same. The big question I have for people is. . .what do you base your opinions and beliefs on? For some it is religion, some their experiences, their careers, their families, or living conditions. All of these come in to play when answering big questions and can either promote or demote change in our world.

  4. Riley St. Pierre says:

    I think asking “big questions” challenges people more than anything. In Northouse Chapter 6 that we just read it talked about how a vision should challenge people to better something. Well I think “big questions” do the same thing. Not only do they challenge people but they make people think about certain things such as their own personal values. Like november’s question, “how do we decide who to vote for.” This question really forces someone to first figure out their own values and beliefs and then go from there to figure out who to vote for. So big questions might not be answered but they definitely have the capability of causing growth and as many people above me have said, change.

    • Kristen Fisher says:

      I agree with Riley. Questions challenge us and allow us to create a vision. They challenge what we believe. November’s question reminds me of how that even though one vote doesn’t seem like a lot, that it is part of our freedom and that we should use our values and personal beliefs to figure out who we think would be the best leader for the question. We need to ask ourselves smaller questions to answer the bigger questions. They aren’t always answered, but they allow us to think more and create “pictures” in our heads. Without asking questions, we wouldn’t grow, gain knowledge, or have visions. Asking questions is an essential part of leadership, but it also is essential in our daily lives.

  5. Allyson True says:

    I think asking questions is a way to gain a better understanding of the world, but what you do with that knowledge is how you will really change the world. For example, most people have taken a biology or chemistry class and learned about those fields of science. Some people will just pass the class with that new information, but others may go out and find the cure for cancer. I think asking a question will definitely help in changing the world but I think the answer is really what will make the change.

  6. Emma D says:

    When we ask questions, we broaden our understanding of the world around us and grow our ability to create visions. As stated in Northouse, Chapter 6, visions help to drive groups of people to create a better situation and better world. Asking challenging questions does the same thing. Even if a difficult question does not have a clear-cut answer (in my opinion the best questions do not have the easiest answers), it prompts people to think and create ideas on their own. These ideas then become plans, and subsequently these plans can lead they way to new visions. I don’t believe that it’s the question that is the most important thing, nor do I think that the answer is necessarily the most important component; I believe it’s the steps in between the two that really make a difference.

  7. Courtney Green says:

    By asking a “big question” your able to analyze and better understand the situation as a whole. I think that a big question indirectly leads to change. It shows where improvement and change could be made. I think it takes the determination and will power of the community to actually make change occur. I agree with Emma when she said asking questions help create visions.

  8. Jacob Clore says:

    By asking big questions, we definitely get a better understanding of situations. Sometimes we need to ask ourselves what we want to know and get the answers ourselves. If we want to learn about a particular issue, we need to research the answers to our questions rather than get our answers from the media. If we get our answers from others, we will get the same old views. We need to form our own views in order to fully understand a situation. For example, if we continue to take in what the media tells us about the middle east or third world countries, we will keep hearing the same thing. However, if we ask people of those cultures what it is really like over there, then we can hear a more accurate answer.

  9. Thomas Nave says:

    I feel that developing “Big Questions” in our everyday lives can definitely help us to dig deeper in our beliefs and thoughts. It gives us a much more thoughtful interpretation of our views. I think it can make us branch out and look at other cultures in a more broad perspective so that we do not make stereotypes.

  10. Shane Tolley says:

    Big questions can be very important to making progress in the world. Questions as simple as “Why do we do something the way we do it” can change people’s perspectives on the world. Big questions can often be something obvious we’ve overlooked in the past, but when it’s brought to our attention we immediately address it and wonder, “why didn’t we do that earlier?”

  11. Jasmine Porter says:

    I agree with majority of my peers. Big questions are essential to the progress of the world. Without questions, then direct action will never be taken. A lot of times questions leads to of solutions. They also can bring individuals to have deeper thoughts in their beliefs, lives and thoughts. It gives them a better view of life and how to live.

  12. Abigail Bartolome says:

    To be honest, I don’t fully agree with this post. Yes, big questions can absolutely lead to changing the world; there’s no doubt in my mind that it is true. My problem with this statement is that it hints to belittling the small questions. What about the children that question what we believe to be “social norms”? I truly believe that the simple questions that are asked from the innocence of a child expose things in the world that don’t quite make sense and can change the world.

  13. Lindsay DeMers says:

    I don’t think a question has to be big to change the world. Any question that makes people think or generates ideas has the potential to initiate pivotal events. Nevertheless, while asking questions gets people questioning their current situation, it does not mean they will rise to the occasion to rectify the world. Asking big questions might just lead to big talk, but will the people “walk the walk”? However, if I were to ask a “big question” I’d ask, do you listen?

    • Maggie D says:

      I completely agree with you Lindsay. A question, whether it’s big or small, can get people thinking about how to make a difference. Even though the “big questions” are designed to focus on the critical issues, I feel that the simple questions serve as a stepping stone to the more controversial topics.

  14. Francisco Gabitan says:

    Our world has evolved due to new revolutionary ways that changed our traditional methods into new ones. There will always be a norm, and there will always be something that can better that norm. To achieve this evolution, we must question the current status of things. Sometimes this leads to radical theories sometimes not, but what’s important here is the fact that we must always question our current states and ask “Is this really the best method?”.

  15. David Bohn says:

    It is important to ask “big questions”. Doing so makes us dig deep and really determine our values and what we believe in. Big questions lead to or stem from difficult decision making. A decision isn’t difficult to make unless it’s important. We must continue to make progress, and to do so we must question what is the norm.

  16. Alexander Jones says:

    Asking these “big questions” is without a doubt important. I feel like often in life, we don’t ask enough questions which sometimes leads into not doing the best we can. We should always complete a task to its fullest potential, and that can only be shown by asking questions and investigating a task as much as possible before completing the goal.

  17. Macy Kinder says:

    Asking big questions opens the door for change. Big questions get people talking and thinking together towards an answer. By working together, progress is made. When progress is made, things get done. Sometimes big questions get people out of their comfort zone, which isn’t a bad thing. By getting out of your comfort zone, you are able to get a clearer understanding of what you truly believe in and stand for. Big questions help define who we are not only as a group but also as an individual.

    • Kyla Mauro says:

      I agree with Macy, if people stay in their little bubble they will never experience situations that will put them out of their comfort zone and as a result learn new things. You comfort zone is what you know about your self and other people, but by getting out of it you can learn new things about yourself that can make you a better leader and make progress to the greater goal.

  18. Mariana Sa says:

    The other day we read Alinsky on the Kellerman book, and one of the things he cited as a characteristic “organizers” should have was curiosity aligned with irreverence. I found it so interesting and then started thinking about it. Most of the great revolutions the world has experienced started because some group questioned the power ruling. Thus, asking questions is the main key for change, not only on revolutionary cases, but in a daily basis. We have to experience pain, something need to disturb us so that we can ask what is wrong, and those questions are the ones that will move us forward. I definitely believe big questions, if taken seriously, can cause big changes in every little sense of life.

  19. Kyle Rushton says:

    Asking “Big Questions” allows us to expand our views and become less narrow-minded. By asking these questions, we are given the opportunity to receive insight from other people’s perspective. Change can be brought about by viewing things with a new perspective. New ideas can be brought to the table, and people can join together to form groups with diverse beliefs. As for voting, asking “Big Questions” is what gives us the opportunity to choose who we vote for. To each question, everyone has their own answer and someone to share that answer with. By voting, we are able to express these ideas to the “Big Questions” and eventually create change.

  20. Kristina Gallagher says:

    I think that asking “Big Questions” provoke people to figure out where they initially stand on issues, without any pressure from others to think a different way. When a “Big Question” is asked, everyone has an opinion that I believe they should stay true to. That initial thought is, what we truly believe and although our opinions may alter, it should be due to our own thoughts, not the influence of others.

  21. Haley Ward says:

    Asking “Big Questions” allows for us to stand out and in some way make a difference. When someone asks a “Big Question,” they may not be finding out the answer right then and there, but just as some people above me stated, they are definitely creating stepping stones to the answer. Asking these types of questions can also help people discover themselves and what they stand for. These types of questions are critical to creating a broader understanding of something and can even be a step towards change.

  22. Crista Watson says:

    I personally love asking questions. Teachers usually get annoyed by this but I think it is necessary for me in order to understand the material to a fuller extent. Asking big questions also help spark ideas in other people’s minds and that causes them to ask a question. The big question is like a chain reaction starter and I think that is what a slid discussion should consist of.

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