Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Do I Offend?

Religion is a touchy subject, it has its pitfalls but it also has those beautiful awe inspiring moments found in the stories they tell. When I speak about those stories I do so with full respect to the people who place their faith in them.  I'm not here to pull the rug from under anyone's feet, that's counter productive. I do however shine a light on the evils caused by men using religion to carry out their unjust deeds. Even Agnostics have morals and values, we're just as human as everyone else. Every now and then I'll write a post or make a passing comment related to religion which causes a Facebook friend to "delete" me, or I find myself on the receiving end of a long winded speech as to how I'm going to Hell. These don't phase me anymore I just find it curious as to why people find it necessary to act this way. First,  I do become a bit discouraged that a long time friend would sever our digital friendship over a difference of opinion/belief since social networking sites is the main way I keep in touch with many of my friends. (A busy stay at home dad working to finish a M.S. on a tight budget doesn't get out to socialize much.) So unless I run into them by chance at the grocery store I may never see them again. (By this point I realize that if they get THAT offended over a string of words we weren't very good friends to begin with.) Second, threatening me with eternal torment in Hell is like threatening me with a flock of evil, flying (but decently dressed) monkeys. I'd just find it amusing.

So I asked myself, how did I offend others? Was it my choice in words? Was it the method in which they were delivered? Was it the message itself? Or was it simply because I'm on the "wrong team"? I'm a fairly friendly person, so much so that my wife says I'd be friendly to Hitler. I don't go around spouting hate either. What I've concluded ( those offended please correct me if I'm wrong) is that I'm simply batting for the wrong team. Once you're seen as the "enemy" all sorts of walls go up. Some will try to convince you to come over to their team so that they won't have to view you as the enemy. Others will cut off all interaction so that they don't become infected with your beliefs. Either way things change, people change. And as we enter into a new year let us ask ourselves how we will change? Will your changes make a difference in the lives of others? Or will your walls seclude yourself from others causing you to fear them?


Doug B said...

You may not believe this but sometimes I have offended atheists because I still consider myself religious (or spiritual) - just on my own terms. I tend to seek common ground with others who are full-fledged religionists (as in believing in special revelations and orthodoxies and such). I find myself in No man's land because I'm too religious for the nonbelievers and too non-believing for the orthodox believers! Ah, well. What is wrong with agreeing to disagree and just loving everyone as fellow humans? If everyone just embraced their ignorance and the difficulty of being able to know everything in the first place, it would make for a more peaceful environment. Okay, so think I.

For my part, I wouldn't stop fellowshipping with anyone who tried to live a decent, moral life and make the world a better place for everyone. Any such person is a brother or sister of mine.

Kay said...

I've been guilty of "disassociating" myself from online friends in the past when I've tried to squish myself into the Christian mindset. I did so because my so called faith couldn't handle the things that my ex-Christian or atheist friends said. Their words made me uncomfortable - and I hated being uncomfortable, so I ran away.

I was a coward.

Heck, I'm still a bit of a coward that way, but I'm working on it. :)

I'm like Doug in that I'm too "woo" for the atheists and way way way too doubting for the believers.

Sabio Lantz said...

I think we all tend to support approaches that match our personality types. Thus I put little credit to the virtues of any purported method of relating because those purporting it are usually just trying to justify their own tendencies.

I see all methods as useful depending on the situation, the person and the moment.

Don said...

being ourselves is sometimes a delicate balance, but being ourselves, warts and all (I have many), is essential for of "spiritual" health.

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