“Is it possible to be so intrenched in your values that you become immune…yes, immune to the ability to understand another’s intrenched views rooted in what they deem morality. Or if you don’t want to go that far or deep, ethics?”
“I hear your question, and yet don’t really understand the moral conflict, unless the person is not entirely sure of the beliefs they claim they hold. I see it all the time. Just look at the variety of religions that surround us, and the lack of diversity based on exactly the same premise, “That God provides. You ever think about what that means? What does God provide? What is expected in return?”
We have arguments, not really arguments, discussions. Well, we talked about varying subjects mainly to kill time, but also to fortify our own devotion to our particular causes. It is easy to proclaim your stance, put up your sign, draw your line in the sand, but when it comes down to defending it in the light of another’s challenges, beliefs, it isn’t so easy.
You really have to practice debating yourself to find out how to defend and justify the rationale for your beliefs. We function in generalities. We belong to this group or that, the faction who believes this or that, but that is just the easy way of staking a claim without having to defend or prove it.
I am amazed by those who proclaim to be against this thing, or that person, but when asked why, they fall back into the generic response someone put on TV news or on the internet. That way they don’t have to really think about what they are promoting, as truth. They are content to let someone else do that for them, and pretend to agree, give it their blessing, even when they don't understand what they are blessing.
Rufus Johns is a neighbor of mine. I enjoy talking with him because his world view is the opposite of mine. I know a lot of people avoid people who believe differently than they do themselves, but you don’t learn anything by belonging to a choir that all have the same song book.
Rufus is a flat earth advocate, believes in white supremacy, is convinced only a predetermined number of people are going to get into heaven. Where to start? But that is the point. He has, and I know because I’ve asked him, a reasoned defense for his positions. I listen, I ask questions, and I allow him to attempt to convince me that what he is telling me, is what he believes.
I draw the line at conversion though. I’ve made it clear to Rufus that I’m interested in his beliefs and his reasoning behind them, but that he need not make it a goal in his life to convert me to his beliefs. I believe it is essential when exploring the radically different beliefs people hold to have ground rules. If you cannot defend your position without becoming violent, or using epitaphs to promote your cause, then you need to rethink your presentation. If you can’t, you don’t have one.
I do not debate Rufus, as that would be futile. I do however throw him a left jab now and again, metaphorically of course, just to see if he’s paying attention to what he’s preaching, or has fallen into the old worn habit of repetition. Not of his beliefs, but by using other’s examples as his own without having thoroughly investigated their premise, and how he actually feels about what he is advocating for.
Rufus is not opposed to exploring options, or I should say things that contradict his beliefs. That is how we got off on the question of “God will provide.” I asked him what he thought that meant?
I am reluctant to allow a God, thee God, or any combinations of Gods to be responsible for my life. I believe that is the impetus for so much of the confusion in people today, and always has been. The idea that God has nothing better to do than follow you around looking for a way to improve your lot, or punish you for not adhering to His or Her or Its principles, seems like you are looking for an ending to a story that hasn’t been written yet. But that is just me.
Rufus believes God put us here for a reason. He doesn’t know what that reason is, or what purpose it would serve, but is satisfied if God wants it that way, then who is he to question God’s intentions.
I couldn't see his conclusion was based on the theory that consequences of and for actions, should occur for a reason; teach us a lesson in one form or another. I find that reasoning questionable because many of life’s blessings and tragedies have no foundation in reality. A person who gets drunk and smashes into a car killing everyone including himself, you could say has learned a lesson, although a tragic one, that is of no value to him if he is dead.
I attempt to keep our conversations directed away from religion because there is no rational explanation for why or why not, to believe one thing or another. Everything, including reason is based on faith. And faith is a whole nother realm.
I prefer to investigate the more practical conflicts concerning the earth being the object of neglect and beginning to take its revenge, or the fact that it is flat has so many more advantages than it being technologically projected as being round.
What I find to be most interesting are the theories that grow from the enticement of personal gain, the more intense the objections to alternate views become, the more radical they are.
I have found that Shakespeare had displayed the dichotomy perfectly. Those that protest the loudest and most often are usually guilty of the very things they condemn. Their strategy only works however if we allow them to play that game without pointing out and questioning their agenda. "Me thinks thou protests too loudly," something like that.
I have been suspicious for a long while about the agendas that are based on doubt, suspicion, and alternate truth. Those that stand against everything, and stand for nothing, have little to offer as once the horse has left the barn, arguing about who left the door open is not going to bring the horse back.
As our world heats up, our water disappears, our democracies melt into a self-serving mold of unsustainability, perhaps we should spend our time looking at the problems we face, and not engendering problems that do not exist. Perhaps designing a barn door that is self-closing is time better spent, than wasting time developing a better buggy whip.