Monday, April 13, 2015

On Being MEAN

One of the most frustrating things about communicating with believers is that when feeling pressed they revert to "stop being mean." In so many words, I should say. People who I have known for a very long time, or who in any other conversation would reason with me and communicate honestly, shut down and claim that I am calling them dumb.  They say things like "you must think I am silly because you think what I believe is silly." Nothing could be further from the truth.

I was a hardcore committed Christian for 20 years.  I would be calling myself dumb and silly. It is obvious to me that there are many "good" reasons to have faith. The only problem I have found is that they just aren't real or enough to justify it if given the evidence. So, that is why I communicate about this. Not to say someone is silly, but that I believe that they are reasonable enough to think critically.  All the more reason why I am so baffled when they wont do it.  It really shocks me when loving and kind people will turn on me in an instant as if they don't know my character just because I challenge their faith.

I definitely believe everyone should have the right to believe whatever they will.   I also agree that to harp on the topic can get very old very quickly if there is nothing else in the relationship.  But that being said, if we have a relationship and you just reject to consider my thoughts on this topic, it leads me to question the depth of these relationships.  Faith has a great ability to unite and divide.  I am getting pretty sick of the dividing.


3 comments:

fRED said...

The author Joseph Conrad wrote (in "A Personal Record" [http://www.bartleby.com/237/8.html]) "He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense."

You wrote "I was a hardcore committed Christian for 20 years. I would be calling myself dumb and silly."

Actually, you likely WERE 'dumb and silly." In fact, everyone of us was dumb and silly. Our thoughts during childhood were different than during adolescence than during the various phases of adulthood. I don't think there are many adults who truly believe in the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or Santa. Yet, there are aspects of each of these "concepts" that are real and worth perpetuating; the literal personification of such concepts help children grasp the larger idea and whimsy that exists behind the characters.

Parents understand that working with children requires patience, often times in huge quantities. And yet...there can be so much joy in dealing with children.

I think it is incredibly difficult to interact with other adults and simultaneously realize that each one of us remains stuck in our childhood in so many ways. If only we could treat others as gently as we do during the best times with our children.

fRED said...

Okay. I am sorry to write so much but I am bursting and I want to share. There are few that understand this stuff. I have been with the "kids" all week and need some "adult" time.

This week I came across a stunning interpretation of religion in the US (which also is related to our culture and, hence, the present state of our society): The juvenilization of American Christianity. [http://hppc.org/assets/1711/the_juvenilization_of_american_christianity-christianity_today.pdf]. The article (about a book about a study...) suggests that American Christianity has devolved into an adolescent (i.e., juvenile) state-permanently.

This has been described as "Moral Therapeutic Deism" where God is like a divine butler and cosmic therapist, always on call, takes care of any problems, and helps people feel better about themselves, etc.

A major criticism of this theory is that this condition is not merely limited to religion. Indeed, which came first, juvenile religion or a juvenile society?

The above is important to me bc the juvenile state of religion is a prime reason why I left "the church." Too many things just didn't add up. For example, if God supposedly loves us so much, then why would he allow any person to suffer ETERNAL damnation. As a parent, that makes no sense to me. (I'm not sure I would even wish that on my ex-wife).

For decades I have wanted to "grow up", to become an adult but society wants us to be permanent adolescents. This explains the state of marriage and the lack of children as well as the lack of desire to have children and be parents. People today don't have the vision of the joy of adulthood.

Finally (I hope), is the issue of relationships. The institution of marriage is KEY for me. Today, to remain married is a political act; and it is social defiance to raise children, especially ones that are independent, and capable of critical thinking.

What is most important is the ability to leverage the synergy of marriage. Marriage is much more than a mere partnership. I worry about your marriage bc of the religious differences present. I believe with all my heart and mind that you and your husband can grow together with time and patience. It is true that 'All you need is Love.' But it requires work (as does all great art).

I don't want others to end up like I have. I wish I had more concrete advice. But all I can offer is encouragement to go forward. When I used to bicycle, sometimes one of us would have to slow down in order to allow the other to keep up (or have to stop and wait for the other to catch up). Bicycling taught me that two cyclists are capable of so much more than an individual (most of the time). Keep pedaling.

AJL said...

Thanks fRED. I hear you. I am glad you come around and share these thoughts with me! I agree very much..... now can we do anything?