They say love is blind. What about hate? I’ve said this before, but it’s important enough to repeat on occasion: I try to love every person I meet. I am rarely unsuccessful. Some people would seem to make this effort more difficult than others. Still, if I can empathize with these people and recognize the divine within them, I can’t help but love them. I regularly have interactions with a man who has expressed perspectives many of us would identify as bigoted. He, on occasion, talks about those with darker skin in negative ways. He recently referred to a transgender woman as “it”. When I said “she” in reference to this woman, the man replied, “No. He”. I said that the person identified as a woman and wanted to be called a woman. To which he replied, “He was born a man and still is a man”. I saw no common ground in sight and decided to leave the conversation without letting it build into an argument. The next day, I found the man sitting next to another transgender woman, making conversation. It was clear the man was unaware the transgender woman next to him had been born with a penis. This, to me, illustrated how ignorance inspires perspectives of hate. He was unloving toward the first transgender woman as a result of his understanding that she represented something that made him uncomfortable. But when the man was unaware he was sitting next to a transgender woman, he was cordial and even a little flirty. When this threat of malleable sexual identity was removed, the man felt at ease. There was nothing particularly offensive to him about the two transgender women other than the fact that they had been born with penises. If this man could get past his preconceived notions about transgender people, he might find friendship in place of fear.
Why must we continue to place ourselves in predefined boxes? We are either “Christian” or “Muslim” or “Republican or “Democrat”. It would seem we tend to utilize semi-universal labels as a way of identifying our perspectives in simple format. After all, labels like “Christian” or “Republican” tend to hold implications regarding perspective on a wide variety of issues. “Do you believe in God?” – “I’m Christian.” – “Do you believe in an afterlife?” – “I’m Christian.” – “Do you believe Jesus died for your sins?” – “I’m Christian”. But assigning these labels to ourselves assigns perspectives we associate with these labels. This removes the need for us to use our own analytical abilities to define the world as we see it. While this might be easier than defining the world as we see it, via our own analyzation of it, this lack of analyzation gives absolute power to perspectives we’ve only claimed as our own as a result of our lack of effort to explore ideas of the world outside of these predefined constraints. As there are about as many different perspectives of the world as there are people in the world, this assigning of predefined labels, inevitably has one of two possible effects. Either the labels do not accurately define our unique perspectives or we blindly adhere to all perspectives attributed to these labels in spite of our natural tendency to form unique perspectives.
But we use these boxes to align ourselves with similarly minded people. We find companionship and affirmation in those who hold similar perspectives. So where are my people? Although I believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ, I would not consider myself “Christian”. I believe God is bigger than any one religion. I believe God would not punish us for doing what we think is right. This does not make me Agnostic. I believe I have personal knowledge of a higher power, but believe such knowledge is not universal. When it comes to politics, I believe in freedom. I believe we should be free to own weapons, even though I dislike the idea of having to use one. I believe we should be free to rule ourselves and not rely on large government to dictate our actions. But I am not a “Republican”. I support LGBT rights and caring for those in greatest need in our society. But I am not a “Democrat”.
Most of all, I believe in love’s power to change our world. I suppose my belief in the power of love is reason for my perspectives on other issues above. So in what box should I place myself? I suppose “Other” is most applicable. But more than that, “Other” is not defined. “Other” is flexible and can change as I change. I’d like to encourage you to do the same. Don’t let predefined labels define who you are. Be your own person and believe what makes sense to you.
Where does God stand on passive-aggressive behavior? I’ve yet to find anything in the Christian bible about this, so I guess it’s okay. It’s certainly not in the top 10. But do we really need the bible to tell us not to kill each other? It is my belief that morality comes from within. It comes from empathy. I’m sorry but I’m going to ask we use logic here a little bit. I know it is often easier just to say the bible says and this alleviates us of any obligation to use our minds. But, if you believe in a perfect creator, you must believe you were created with the ability to use logic and not blindly adhere to any doctrine, be it religious or other. When the bible is used to divide us, is it being used for God’s glory? In Mark 12:30-31of the New International Version (NIV) of the Christian bible, Jesus claims two commandments are to be held above all others. The second of these is to love each other.
In Mr. Huckabee’s recounting of his conversation with Neil Cavuto regarding God’s whereabouts during the Sandy Hook school shooting, he does not literally say God would have intervened if only those who wished to were allowed to pray in school. According to the article here (http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/12/15/huckabee-tries-to-walk-back-comments-on-god-and/191868), Mr. Huckabee was implying that it is our Godless culture that leads to things like the Sandy Hook shooting. Does religion really inspire us not to kill each other?
|Lowest estimate||Highest estimate||Event||Location||From||To||Religions involved||Percentage of the world population|
|3,000,000||11,500,000||Thirty Years’ War||Holy Roman Empire||1618||1648||Protestants and Catholics||0.5%–2.1%|
|2,000,000||4,000,000||French Wars of Religion||France||1562||1598||Protestants and Catholics||0.4%–0.8%|
|1,000,000||2,000,000||Second Sudanese Civil War||Sudan||1983||2005||Islam and Christian||0.02%|
|1,000,000||3,000,000||Crusades||Holy Land, Europe||1095||1291||Islam and Christian||0.3%–2.3%|
|130,000||250,000||Lebanese Civil War||Lebanon||1975||1990||Sunni, Shiite and Christian|
If Mr. Huckabee is simply calling for tolerance, he must understand that this is a two-way street. In the video linked above, Mr. Huckabee would seem to imply the means to a more peaceful world is to feature his ideas of the nature of the universe as profound truths. So we should pray to the Christian God in school and include the Christian God in public activities. As a largely christian society, this perspective is not easily dismissed. Would we be as hesitant to dismiss this perspective if he were of Islamic faith? What if he believed God is a flying spaghetti monster? The last of these might seem a little insulting. But what happens when we become the minority? Are we still going to stand by while the majority forces their perspective on us, on our kids?
The fact is, faith, by definition, lacks substantial, universally recognized evidence. Most proof when it comes to a higher power is anecdotal and personal. This why many of us would seem to disagree on the nature of God and/or the universe. We just don’t know. So, do we really want to live in a society where the majority’s perspective is forced onto the minority?
I: Would God send you to Hell for doing what you think is right?
U: God doesn’t send us to Hell. He saves us from Hell if we believe his son died for us.
I: Who sends us to Hell?
U: We do, by not accepting Jesus.
I: Who made that rule?
U: It’s not a rule. Jesus is like a life vest. If we are drowning and God throws us a life vest, then God saves us. But we have to grab the life vest. If we don’t grab the life vest, we can’t blame God.
I: Who created the ocean in which we are drowning?