Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm Rubber and You're Glue...

"Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you."
"Well you're doodoo head!"
"Nuh uh, you're a doodoo

"I'm right and the rest of you are wrong." And in the online world there's always somebody there to make sure we are aware of our erroneous ways. Always. What is it that makes us want others to believe like we do? And what makes us assume that their belief system is flawed?

All across the internet in forums, message boards, and blogs, I see more words of exclusiveness, intolerance from ignorance, and religious pride than words of inclusiveness, tolerance from education, and humbleness in faith. Some sites keep to themselves by preaching a certain message and abstain from beating others into submission, while unfortunately others are on a mission to convert the whole world. The sad part is that the world is filled with such beautiful diversity that it would be a loss to humanity to replace all the world's diverse religious thoughts with just one.

I don't believe that ANY one religious belief system has ALL of the answers but that ANY religion which helps you work towards becoming a more loving, compassionate person MAY work for YOU and not for ME. Our difference in beliefs should not stir an urge to convert each other. Only you can change what you believe, BUT that choice is still human. Because humanity is capable of error there is no exact science into choosing the right religion (or even choosing none at all) because the right religion is the one that is right for you. You can not choose the right religion based on reason, theology, morality, or any scientific or archaeological evidence. Believe me I have tried and failed. Oh, you can try but in the end you will end up with the beliefs you feel comfortable with and not because it is the one true faith. I've learned that elements of a religious system CAN be supported or contradicted by any of the reasons listed above.

You are the final decider between Right and Wrong. When looking for the right church to attend YOU decide whether or not to stay. If you hear or feel something in the their message that contradicts with your personal beliefs it is you who decides to leave. Now when you finally feel comfortable with a church, its members, and their message you decide to stay not because it is Truth but because you agree with their message and feel at home. It is Truth to you. You grow spiritually in this new community and begin to transform yourself into a more loving and compassionate person. So why is it imperative for others to storm in and wreak your spiritual nest? Because others are comfortable in their nests and can't believe that there can be multiple paths to Truth and spiritual growth. 2+2=4. There's just no way around it.

There's only one path to Truth and if you don't got what I got then you're lost my friend.
I see no transcendent love in exclusivity, none whatsoever. The "you're with us or against us" (also reads "you're with God or against Him") mentality reeks too much of fear for it to be equated with love of any form. This is why I've come to accept that as long as your religion (or lack thereof) guides you to love then you are on YOUR right path. I believe this love can be found by accepting other people and their religions without trying to convert, demonize, or fear them. Multiple paths do not have to mean there are multiple destinations. What I am hoping for is a move from an isolated spiritual global society to at least a tolerant (live-and-let-live) society. (Click here for an interesting article by Cassandra at Love with the Hands Wide Open on a few statistics on religious tolerance across the pond.) If we can even come this far, humanity would collectively have made a tremendous leap. Although hoping for an integrated spiritual society seems like a pipe dream, I believe it has a better chance of succeeding from a tolerant globally society than an isolated one.

We can actively reach beyond loving those whom we are comfortable with and embrace the uncomfortable. We can continue to learn from our brothers so that we may enrich our collective spirituality. We can humble and internalize our faith so that our actions speak louder than our words of religious pride.


Paul Bahleda said...

I think Jesus said it best, Eruesso. I'm paraphrasing because I don't recall the exact words:
"What profit is there in loving those who love you? Don't the tax collectors and harlots do the same?"

Great post! Thanks

Eruesso said...

Going above and beyond your family, community, and religious circles. These verses are sadly so often overlooked which should inspire some Christians to swallow their hatred, fear, and intolerance of others. Instead they are more commonly used to help embrace fellow Christians who you may have struggled loving instead of loving all people from all walks. It's always good to hear from you Paul.

Don Rogers said...

This is the most important sentence in your post, IMO.

We can actively reach beyond loving those whom we are comfortable with and embrace the uncomfortable.</B

Nice post!

Eruesso said...

Thanks again Don for all of your comments. This is the heart of what I'm attempting to do in this blog. By reaching beyond into the unknown and alien we find that the unknown is not as different as we feared. Although this is a slow process (I have dealt with mostly Christian and monotheistic issues) I do wish to broaden my reach to areas that are completely unknown to me so that I may become familiar with that which I once feared.

Anonymous said...

Hey there, Eruesso, thanks for the shout-out! I published an article last year (in a book called "Campus Conversations" by Willamette University--I think it's online) about the power to LISTEN in freedom of expression, based on the premise that most complaints are about what people SAY and DO and not on how they RESPOND in context to one another. In it I said: "Listening is the main avenue to grasping the perspective and humanity of another person, even a person we don’t necessarily like or admire" (Farrin 193).

I think you are absolutely right that discomfort is a natural part of the process of connecting with others, and we've got to be willing to do that or else we will continue to isolate and polarize communities. This is so important it deserves repeating whenever and wherever we can!!

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