Please Discuss

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6 Responses to Please Discuss

  1. Lanf says:

    I respect a person’s right to believe anything they want. I don’t have to respect the content of said belief. I also don’t have to respect the person holding any given belief. And I certainly don’t have to allow my life to be impacted by a belief I think is foolish or dangerous. Past that, who cares what other people believe?

  2. Having been on both sides of the American religious fence, I can simultaneously respect a person different from myself (and their beliefs), and not have much respect for their belief system itself. It can be a challenge when those you are close to (e.g., spouse) are opposite you in their religious/mythology viewpoints.

    Personally, I think any religion is tomorrow’s myth and today’s folly. I will not necessarily go around sharing that with religious folks unprompted though. If people need religion as a coping mechanisms and/or their way to make order out of chaos, I have no problem with that. When the differing viewpoints clash and one side takes action that harms others, physically or in bodies of law, then my “respect? goes out the window. Still, while some become energized by strife, I am not one of them, and prefer mutual respect to the best of my ability where feasible.

  3. Lanf says:

    Allow me to be touchy for a moment.

    CP, the suggestion that my spiritual beliefs are “a coping mechanism and/or a way to make order out of chaos” is extremely shallow. You don’t really think those are the only two options, do you? I’m rather put out by the suggestion that I even NEED a coping mechanism. And chaos? My life is anything but.

    My spirituality (and choice of religion as it happens) comes from a need to express how grateful I am for what I’ve been given in life. That gratitude has been enhanced and widened by the spiritual experiences I’ve had, experiences that, for me, have erased any doubt that God exists. Not everyone has had experiences like these, and there’s no way my experiences can translate into “proof” for anyone else, and that’s fine. This is just one example of spirituality/religion that isn’t encapsulated in your simple scenario above.

    You of course can decide that religion is folly, it’s your perogative. For my opinion of that, you can read comment #1.

  4. Lanf, While I can see how you might think I was implying that one’s spiritual experience can be oversimplified to coping/order, I was not meaning to say that that’s all religion is all about. It’s been my experience though that these are fundamentals at the core of many people I have known, along with fear of eternal damnation for imperfection, which I didn’t even want to mention above. Most religious people I personally know are pretty cool people. The folly is for the mouthpieces you see in the media and those that refuse to even process viewpoints different from theirs and try to impose that view through laws or social ostracism on others who want no part of it.

    I assume we just have different filters. Your viewpoint steers your thought processes into assimilating every day events and happenings to have an occasionally spiritually real meaning to you, and mine filter everyday events into just that, without supernatural undertones (yes, I am making a big assumption here, that when you refer to spiritual things, you are referring to a major religion with deity(s), and not something spiritual like Buddhism). I’ve been there (my wife and I used to co-lead a Christian singles ministry at our ‘church’ which turned more cultish than churchish, long story), and I remember my actual thought process as different than what it is today. It seems to me that the conflicts between camps largely fall out from these different filter sets we all apply. And so if we differ on that, that’s fine with me, as long as it doesn’t escalate into verbal rants, which it doesn’t seem like it would at all.

  5. Lanf says:

    This may just be semantics, but I don’t think I’d use “filters.” The implication there (to me anyhow) is that we ignore certain things that the world presents to us, or adjust it in some way to fit with what we WANT to see.

    Rather, I’d use the “map” analogy, with the clear understanding that the map is not the terrain. The “map” is the abstracted, zoomed-out version of reality – it is a set of beliefs that provide a “big picture” and a framework for seeing the details as they relate to each other.

    Why this is important to me is that when people have filters, they become blind to reality. The evangelical movement, so far as I can tell, have filters. What doesn’t fit into their (narrow?) worldview is discarded or ignored, even though it’s grounded in reality.

    When reality seems to contradict the map, however, what must change is the map.

  6. Interesting points, Lanf – enjoying the discussion. Funny thing about blogs/emails is that you can’t read tone/body language in the verbiage. I say that as a precursor to the following, so you know it is not meant condescendingly. You said filters imply we see what we want to see, and I say, indeed they do for both of us. You see spiritual meanings where I do not. What then follows as “reality? differs because of those filters. Does each one of us believe we are correct in our assessment of reality? Probably, and they both cannot hold true in their simplest sense.

    With those filters/maps, it is unlikely that through simple discourse, either one of us will change our religious viewpoint, or frame of reference. You want to believe in a god, and I’ve been there, and no longer do, so I want science to explain away all that which seems supernatural, as I think that is not reality. Your reality, as influenced by the experiences you mention as having proven to you the existence of god, cannot be disproved to you, as they are your experiences. I can respect that, that you are where you are because of those experiences. Not my viewpoint, but I can respect that, and with our very brief discussion, respect what you have to say on this topic. Again, not the folly I was speaking of above. My wife and I have these kinds of discussions all the time, out in the open and always interesting. While she thankfully goes to a different church, she still goes and is very serious about her spirituality. Keeps my egocentrism somewhat in check…… ;)