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Guest billmc

I have an honest question about the subject of respect and would welcome everyone’s input on this question.

 

How does one respectfully disagree with someone else, share the reasons why there is disagreement, and have the disagreement not come across as disrespect for the people holding the different views?

 

A bit of context: my mother-in-law…oops, I better not use that one…many Christian forums, including this one, stress that people deserve and must be respected, an ideal I agree with 100%. This, of course, doesn’t mean that we have to agree with what they think, what they believe, or how they live their lives. But it seems to be the nature of religion and worldviews that criticizing or attacking a belief is synonymous with attacking that holds to that belief or worldview. As humans, we seem to be ontologically bound up with our belief systems. This being the case, how do two or more people state their differing points-of-view without it coming across as a personal attack upon the others?

 

In a semi-related question, do you think Jesus always showed respect for others who held to other views than he did? What about Paul? Were they always respectful of other beliefs or do you think they put their understanding of truth above relationships?

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Bill,

 

Haven't heard from you in a awhile.

 

But it seems to be the nature of religion and worldviews that criticizing or attacking a belief is synonymous with attacking that holds to that belief or worldview. As humans, we seem to be ontologically bound up with our belief systems. This being the case, how do two or more people state their differing points-of-view without it coming across as a personal attack upon the others?

 

Personally I think we do have to start from the position that our beliefs are ontologically different. And then perhaps move to a phenomenological view of our beliefs if appropriate. It may not be this simple but couldn't one make a statement about one's belief and listen to other. That's sufficient, isn't it? If the other person says that I am not going to heaven. My response: "That's okay. My beliefs don't include your heaven. Tell me what your heaven is like."

 

I have crossed line here occasionally and made personal attacks but that's not best practice. The need to feel special, chosen, to be right and feel in control is powerful. Your different beliefs take something away from me. They make me think about my beliefs and threaten the certain truth of my beliefs, my world, my very self.

 

Fortunately we have alternative ways of relating to our beliefs and those of others. We could see that the our sense of wholeness is not dependent on the certain truth of our beliefs.

 

Good to talk with you again

 

Dutch

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(snip)

Fortunately we have alternative ways of relating to our beliefs and those of others. We could see that the our sense of wholeness is not dependent on the certain truth of our beliefs.

 

Good to talk with you again

 

Dutch

 

Dutch,

 

I really like that, as it does, to me, have a certain ring of truth. Participation on these forums to me has a lot of potential for individual growth. Each time we see that we are emotionally moved by a disagreeing opinion, there is the potential to recognize that and transcend its influence. It seems it is when we identify with our beliefs as me that the ego is strengthened and it makes it difficult to respect the right of the other to see things differently.

 

Joseph

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Well, notice, for example, in my thread about The Resurrection Being Spiritual, Physical or Mythical? I did not claim or indicate that I thought you ever viewed the resurrection as mythical was "Unsaved", "eternally lost" or "Not A Real christian"...nor did those who held the opposite view on this suggest anything like this to me? That is the differnnce with Progressive and Moderate Christianity..verses the fundamental far right kind...Or at least I think.

 

We may not understand someone else' view that differes from our own..but just because we don't understand we don't view each other as doomed or unsaved,ect.

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Admittedly, except on a fairly few occassions, this particular forum stays pretty good-natured and "respectful." This is probably due to the concepts found in the 8 Points and the way those Points are reminded to us as a way of gently keeping some of us in line. :) In theory, I believe in stating one's beliefs and then essentially saying, "This is how I see it, take it or leave it, and I reserve the right to do the same with your viewpoints." It definately makes things smoother if/when we can all do that.

 

But the demeanor of this forum seldom lines up with other public discourses, whether other Christian forums, political meetings, or social town-halls. Is it possible or desirable to respect another Christian who believes that AIDS is God's punishment upon homosexuals? Is it possible to respect other Christians who won't engage in rebuilding locations of natural disasters because their theology tells them that God is punishing those locals? Is it possible to respect a President who claims to be a Christian and then sends our children to fight a war for causes that never existed?

 

In other words, does Progressive Christianity want so badly to just "get along" that it has given up any notion of truth or speaking truth to power or evil? Does stressing the love of God in Christ mean that we seek to never offended anyone, no matter their beliefs or actions?

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(snip)

But the demeanor of this forum seldom lines up with other public discourses, whether other Christian forums, political meetings, or social town-halls. Is it possible or desirable to respect another Christian who believes that AIDS is God's punishment upon homosexuals? Is it possible to respect other Christians who won't engage in rebuilding locations of natural disasters because their theology tells them that God is punishing those locals? Is it possible to respect a President who claims to be a Christian and then sends our children to fight a war for causes that never existed?

 

In other words, does Progressive Christianity want so badly to just "get along" that it has given up any notion of truth or speaking truth to power or evil? Does stressing the love of God in Christ mean that we seek to never offended anyone, no matter their beliefs or actions?

 

It seems to me that it is good we respect others not for their individual beliefs but rather as a fellow 'human being' on a journey. If one identifies and confuses another's personal beliefs and actions with who they really are then yes, it seems to me perhaps it is not possible to respect them.

 

Jesus is recorded saying "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do". Perhaps if they really 'knew' what they were doing, they would not. The same with those of beliefs such as you have mentioned above. Perhaps it is done in an ignorance, even as Saul (Paul) as though he was doing God a favor stoning Christians. Respect doesn't mean to me that one is in agreement with the other, but rather regards or honors the other (not their temporal belief system). Buddhists say it best when they meet and say "Namaste" which is basically Sanskrit for “The God in me honors the God in you. That is the meaning of respect in my view.

 

It seems to me that respect doesn't command us as PC's to be silent in matters of concern. Yet, to me, intentionally offending another does very little to effect change in them while wisdom in actions, words and love can perhaps do more than offensive words which only serve to attack the 'other' and strenghten our identity with beliefs and our egos which separates us further.

 

Anyway, that is only my view as i see it now.

Joseph

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Is it possible or desirable to respect another Christian who believes that AIDS is God's punishment upon homosexuals?

 

I think the question is, "Can we behave respectfully towards the Phelps family?" And use any legal means to bring their behavior under control. Al Snyder had one victory in his suit against them for targeting his son's funeral; the appellate court overturned it on free speech issue. I hope the Supreme court finds that their behavior falls under stalking or harassment or some other limit to their freedom to be obnoxious.

 

A motorcycle club in the Denver area provides a barrier between the Phelps and whatever event the Phelps have targeted.

 

I think Christian/Christian groups should take every opportunity to say the the Phelp's behavior doesn't seem to be in line with the teaching of Jesus. I think there is a lot agreement on that so ignoring them might also be a good way to go. That may be the limit of our respectful behavior.

 

Dutch

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I think it is especially easy to get mad at, and look down on, people you meet on the Internet. That's because the medium is very impersonal and anonymous. You don't have to look the person in the eye, or disclose your identity to him or her. One can react in any way his whims dictate, because the other person is seen as less than human. She is more of an object to attack than a living subject. Of course this happens in 'real life' as well, but the Internet brings this out in all its unsubtle reality.

 

I can tell you I've found some things people say frustrating and annoying, and have just wanted to tell them off. Some times I have, and when I did, I didn't really feel any better. I think the way to show respect to people of different views is to stop this process of objectification and see the person as a true subject. My parents are fundamentalists whose beliefs mean a lot to them. Other people are just the same - fundamentalists, whose faith is important, maybe even essential, to their lives. I would really feel awful if my parents ever lost their faith through an argument I had with them, and much more awful if I was disrespectful, insulting, and downright mean in my conversations with them. When I think that every person I encounter is potentially a father or a mother not unlike my own, it takes a lot of the wind out of my sails.

 

Another point is that we tend to hate what we see in other people when we have the exact same thing going on in ourselves. Take for instance the feeling you get when you've been ignored or insulted by a snobby or arrogant person. We think, 'What an ego! He should be more humble, like me!' When I catch myself thinking like this I have to chuckle at the irony.

 

Peace to you,

Mike

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I think what it comes down to is..people especially those of the religious far right..do not practice putting kindness BEFORE Creeds. If people REALLY pratcied the Golden Rule then THIS WOULD BE..Putting Kindness BEFORE CREEDS.

 

Just to be the devil's advocate, I would point out that from their perspective, the religious right is doing just that. They firmly believe that to disregard their creeds would itself be unkind, because it is the creeds which present saving knowledge. It would not be kind at all, then, to not present the truth, but rather either selfish or spineless, because one is caring more about not offending someone than rescuing that person's eternal soul. This ethic does have direct correlation to more sensible situations. Should we sugar coat the truth or shield someone from truth, that is, directly or indirectly lie, in order to not risk hurting someone's feelings, or do we believe in tough love - that honesty is the best medicine, that people should rather be reproved than left on with illusions that, while for the present make them happy (and, perhaps, you happy for avoiding the unsavory task of getting involved), but in the long run will turn to greater harm? Obviously, in real life these are not simply yes or no, black and white questions. We shouldn't expect blanket answers, because life is much more complicated than that.

 

But what I would say is that the thought processes of the religious right are subtle. I have known some very good and caring people who are fundamentalists, and who would not compromise their creeds for kindness, but see the two bound together. They would surely want someone to tell them the gospel were they unsaved. But I have also witnessed a great deal of cognitive dissonance, where they do in fact make such a compromise and can't quite reconcile the two mindsets in their own life.

 

Peace to you,

Mike

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Guest billmc

That's an interesting reply to BOE, Mike. It triggered in me another topic that is, I think, relevant to this subject, and that is the topic of epistomology. What do we believe is truth? How do we recognize or know truth? When does the truth that we hold to call for action?

 

I have a friend who is a die-hard 5 Point (or more) Calvinist. Because he holds to what he believes to be the truth about election/predestination, he doesn't witness to anyone, at least not in the typical evangelical way. He says his life is his witness (a view I respect) and that if there is someone around him that God has fore-ordained to be saved, this person will see the light of Christ in him and will have no choice but to respond to it with faith (a view I disagree with). Nevertheless, he is convinced of his theology and lives his life accordingly. Although I disagree with his theology, I have to admire and respect that he lives it.

 

In contrast are many evangelicals who hold to the view that the unsaved will burn in hell and should be given every opportunity to hear the gospel, but they remain silent. Most are Arminian (whether they know it or not), so salvation depends on one's response to the gospel presentation, not so much on election/predestination. And yet they are hesitant to actively evangelize outside of what they do on Sunday mornings. While I disagree with the "turn or burn" approach, I also don't respect that those that hold to this approach aren't more active in their witness.

 

My 2c on this is that the more my epistomology makes sense and has solid evidence behind it, the more vocal I can afford to be about it and willing to hold my ground. What I mean by this is best served through a brief illustration:

 

Let's say I was absolutely convinced of the future judgment of humanity before God or Jesus' throne. I believed this with all my heart. Now, what evidence is there, besides the scriptures that this view is really a future event? Has it happened yet? No. Is there any reason besides faith that I would accept that this is a reality, that it is true? Not for me. I might believe it, but it is a belief born of faith, not of evidence.

 

But let's say that I am absolutely convinced that doing good works for the sake of other's benefit helps us progress as human beings. I believe this with all my heart. Now, is there evidence that this is ontological true? I believe there is. We are better individually and socially when we are connected with each other and help each other out. In this case, while my faith might inform or motivate my actions, there is evidence that my belief system is worthy of me standing firm about it. I can afford to be firmer about this because if other people did the same, they would see the truth of this approach borne out in their lives also.

 

So I think we need a great deal of wisdom to know where we need to stand firm and where we can compromise. And also when to just shutup. :) I'm not very discerning.

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Hi Bill,

 

You bring up some good points. It's certainly not the case in my view that fundamentalists have a good case for what they believe in, and that is probably the reason for the cognitive dissonance mentioned. It may be that many fundamentalists know very well in their bones that their claims simply don't have the epistemological stature to stand, or they hold to the hope that somehow it does even if it doesn't make sense to them, and that is why, while professing to believe the whole world is going to hell, they are often too timid to do witness to this belief. I like what Alan Watts once said, that if people really believed what they teach at church, everybody would be running stark raving mad - so perhaps a lot of the time people don't really believe this stuff, it's more like they believe they ought to believe it. They believe in believing it, but they don't actually believe it.

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(snip)

 

My 2c on this is that the more my epistomology makes sense and has solid evidence behind it, the more vocal I can afford to be about it and willing to hold my ground. What I mean by this is best served through a brief illustration:

 

Let's say I was absolutely convinced of the future judgment of humanity before God or Jesus' throne. I believed this with all my heart. Now, what evidence is there, besides the scriptures that this view is really a future event? Has it happened yet? No. Is there any reason besides faith that I would accept that this is a reality, that it is true? Not for me. I might believe it, but it is a belief born of faith, not of evidence.

 

But let's say that I am absolutely convinced that doing good works for the sake of other's benefit helps us progress as human beings. I believe this with all my heart. Now, is there evidence that this is ontological true? I believe there is. We are better individually and socially when we are connected with each other and help each other out. In this case, while my faith might inform or motivate my actions, there is evidence that my belief system is worthy of me standing firm about it. I can afford to be firmer about this because if other people did the same, they would see the truth of this approach borne out in their lives also.

 

So I think we need a great deal of wisdom to know where we need to stand firm and where we can compromise. And also when to just shutup. smile.gif I'm not very discerning.

 

Bill,

Interesting....

 

Just some questions it brings to my mind. Exactly what do you mean by the words " the more vocal I can afford to be about it and hold my ground" ? How vocal can you afford to be ? What is 'it' ? And what does it mean 'to hold my ground' ? Are we speaking of being more vocal of your beliefs and not wavering from your beliefs because you are convinced they are ontologically true? If so, Isn't ontology philosophical in nature and presupposed? Is the one that stands on his faith in the book just as convinced that he also should be more vocal and stand firm? Where does that leave us?

 

I certainly agree that we need a great deal of wisdom in dealing with others but i don't think i understand how being more vocal and firmer in ones beliefs will make other people "see the truth". It seems to me they would first have to become less firm in their conditioned beliefs to effect change and see the evidence borne out in their lives. But i could be mistaken in my thinking.

 

Just some thoughts on your comments,

Joseph

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My mom is devote JW and though she is more moderate than most..still she says things as do other JWs that reminds me alot of far right Evangelicals. Like she the J-dubs say they take their faith seriously and others don;t and that is why they go door-to-to-door and others are simply apathelic. The problem they can not see that what they 'think' is real zeal for witnessing for God..is..in reality an unhealthy FEAR. With the far right Evangelicals it FEAR of hellfire and others getting "Left Behind" and with the J-Jubs it's FEAR of Armageddon and FEAR people not getting into paradise.

 

There is two other things they also have in common..both the far right Evangelical protestants and J-dubs think they ALONE are right and are saved and everyyone else is not and doomed. In turn this also breeds a very annoying result...which is nagging family memebers and friends to come attend 'their' Revivals, Easter services, meetings, Christ Memorials,ect. Excuse my french but I endure this annoying bull--- every years about this time. My devote JW mother pesters the hell out of me to attend 'their' Christ Memorial. If I go there just to silence her I end up getting mad at what i hear. "We are right and saved and everyone else is going to Armageddon in a handbasket and if you REALLY appreciate Christ's ransom then you'll join us and attend our boring and fundamental meetings...blah, blah, blah and this is really so unproductive and I wonder why this keeps being repeated every damn year. The JWs pester their members to pester their family to come to their thing. The non-J-dub family go there just to oppease their overly zealous JW family members..they leave and think to themselves, "God, I am glad that is over!" And then the next year the whole thing starts all over again.

 

Likewise up here in Ojai this neo-Penecostal church does a easter in the Park service every year and invites the public. At the end they speak of Jesus coming back one day and hoping to be counted amoung those saved and I rember this one time the pastor told the crowd to come on up to the front and get saved and confuse Jesus Christ as Lord before all as a witness the people in the crowd just looked at each other like, "What the hell?" And no one came forward and then the next year they did not ask anyone to do this. I don;t think these far right fundamental faith groups realize how invasive they come off as. :huh::(

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The problem they can not see that what they 'think' is real zeal for witnessing for God..is..in reality an unhealthy FEAR.

 

I think you've nailed it here, BOE. Fear causes us to be irrational. And, to me, eschatological events such as hell, Armageddon, the Rapture, etc. are irrational. None of my family is devotely religious. But my wife's side comes in Baskin-Robbins flavors and it makes family reunions difficult, mainly because many of them are on the latest kick of what event is a sure sign that Jesus is almost here and what do we really need to do to make sure that we go with him. My wife's aunt and uncle actually sold their house in 1999 because they believed with all their hearts that the Y2k bug would cause nuclear reactors to melt down, setting in motion the beginning of the Tribulation, and Jesus would come just before that to get his church. To me, this is just plain wacky and I want no part of this kind of religion based in fear and irrationality.

 

While I might admire the JW zeal born out of their devotion to their beliefs, to me, such beliefs don't deserve such zeal. This is where I think the paradigm of personal religion makes a difference. If we see our religion as ULTIMATELY about us, about our salvation from hell or the earth, then devotion to that belief system makes us selfish. But if we see our religion as ULTIMATELY about connecting with others to make the world better, then devotion to that belief system makes us less selfish.

 

Hope you enjoy your Easter.

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Just some questions it brings to my mind. Exactly what do you mean by the words " the more vocal I can afford to be about it and hold my ground" ?

 

Good questions, Joseph. I think I'll answer through example rather than through prose. Let's say one of my relatives says, "Why bother to care for the earth? Jesus is going to return and destroy it anyway." I can be vocal about responding, "That isn't my belief. I believe God wants us to treasure and care for the earth." I don't have to capitulate to her views. I won't argue with her. But neither will I take the view sometimes presented as Progressive that beliefs don't matter, that we are all on the same road, and that her view is just as rational as mine.

 

How vocal can you afford to be ?

 

It depends on if I am being listened to. If I'm not, then it does me no good to be vocal, and it certainly does me no good to get louder. :D

 

What is 'it' ?

 

The subject being discussed.

 

And what does it mean 'to hold my ground' ?

 

To not give just because the other has a scripture to quote at me or a threat of hellfire for my "wrong" beliefs or threaten to not speak to me anymore because I don't believe in the Rapture.

 

Are we speaking of being more vocal of your beliefs and not wavering from your beliefs because you are convinced they are ontologically true? If so, Isn't ontology philosophical in nature and presupposed? Is the one that stands on his faith in the book just as convinced that he also should be more vocal and stand firm?

 

Yes. But I suspect, Joseph, that you miss my point, perhaps? Faith does not always reflect what we call reality or ontology. Faith is often fearful or reward/punishment based. I don't think that reality is philosophy based. My faith, if you want to call it that, leads to measurable results (people are fed, clothed, sheltered, etc.). Other's faith leads to something immeasurable like "God is worshipped." How do we know that? I am not bragging, but my kind of faith shows good fruits. The most vocal fundie faith depends upon unmeasurable things such as sin being removed or Jesus dwelling in a heart or God being worshipped - things which may be experiences, but which have no evidence to the outsider.

 

I certainly agree that we need a great deal of wisdom in dealing with others but i don't think i understand how being more vocal and firmer in ones beliefs will make other people "see the truth".

 

It doesn't. Anymore than talking English louder and slower would make a Frenchman understand. :) But if the Frenchman saw me unloading bread off a cart and distributing it to the poor, he would know what I believed and would, hopefully, join in.

 

Thanks for the input. I hope you know that I am not suggesting that we all wear megaphones. But I am a bit concerned that the Progressive movement sometimes wants us to wear muzzles so that we don't offend anyone.

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I think you've nailed it here, BOE. Fear causes us to be irrational.

 

Well, author Leo Booth (Former Catholic Priest, Former Episopalin priest and now in Unity Church) says this is due to an unhealthy view of God.

 

 

 

And, to me, eschatological events such as hell, Armageddon, the Rapture, etc. are irrational. None of my family is devotely religious. Well, it's all about cosic fear tacticts to maintain A.I.S =Asses In SeatsHowever, I think though it is more often than not the case that Millennialism is always viewed as negative and threatening...It can be viewed as positive such as with the Hopi Indians who hold a vision of The Great Spirit Restoring the earth rather than unleashing His Wrath on it in some sort of "Rapture" idea.

 

But my wife's side comes in Baskin-Robbins flavors and it makes family reunions difficult, mainly because many of them are on the latest kick of what event is a sure sign that Jesus is almost here and what do we really need to do to make sure that we go with him. My wife's aunt and uncle actually sold their house in 1999 because they believed with all their hearts that the Y2k bug would cause nuclear reactors to melt down, setting in motion the beginning of the Tribulation, and Jesus would come just before that to get his church. To me, this is just plain wacky and I want no part of this kind of religion based in fear and irrationality.

 

Yeap. I know what you mean. There was a famous The End Is Nighn! Alert that was set off in 1975 in which a bunch of JW's sold their houses thinking that Armageddon was "Just Around The Corner".

 

While I might admire the JW zeal born out of their devotion to their beliefs, to me, such beliefs don't deserve such zeal. This is where I think the paradigm of personal religion makes a difference. If we see our religion as ULTIMATELY about us, about our salvation from hell or the earth, then devotion to that belief system makes us selfish. But if we see our religion as ULTIMATELY about connecting with others to make the world better, then devotion to that belief system makes us less selfish.

 

Yes, the ulta conservatives must gid over this "My God is Better Than Your God!" And "We Are Special And Everyone Else Is NOT!" Mind-set. Kindness MUST Come BEFORE Creeds.;)

 

Both Evangelicals & JW's believe that "We Are In The Last Days...-" Well, the Bible also says that 1,000 years is like ONE DAY TO GOD and thus as such what if the Last Days Were to mean we are in the LAST 1,000 years..then you better learn to be nice to all your liberal family, friends and neighbors cause you might be stuck with all of us for a VERY long time!... :D

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Bill,

 

Thanks for the clarifications Bill. Definitely more clearer to me with your examples rather than prose.

 

Personally i don't think PC's in general want us to put a muzzle on though i agree it may seem that way. It seems to me that in general PC's are more understanding of those remaining with what you refer to as fundamental views since many came out from among it and participated in it in the past. ( the lyrics "Take a look at yourself and you will look at others differently" has meaning to me when dealing with those of non progressive views.) I believe many PC's instead see the fruitlessness in attacking the others position.

 

Also i might mention that i still have many friends who preach and share those fundamental Christian taught views quite vocally yet they are also big in fruits such as giving to the poor, feeding the hungry and the like. They are not my enemies and i personally have no ground that needs standing. What i do need more is always to be more understanding which doesn't mean they have persuaded me to change my view. Perhaps i am not so moved by their vocals and i respect them as fellow humans that are on a sometimes difficult journey to truth. It is okay with me if they still think i am headed to hell.

 

Just one mans view to consider,

Joseph

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Guest billmc

It seems to me that in general PC's are more understanding of those remaining with what you refer to as fundamental views since many came out from among it and participated in it in the past. ( the lyrics "Take a look at yourself and you will look at others differently" has meaning to me when dealing with those of non progressive views.)

 

That seems like good advice, Joseph. Often the splinter in the eyes of others that I rail against is a mere reflection of the log in my own eye. ;)

 

I believe many PC's instead see the fruitlessness in attacking the others position.

 

Perhaps so. And maybe there is some wisdom in that, especially when timing is a consideration or others simply don't have "ears to hear".

 

At the same time, I wonder where we would be if prior generations of progressives thought it fruitless or disrepectful to attack the position of others on issues such as slavery, women's rights, segregation, or aparthied? Does being progressive mean abandoning being prophetic (calling people to justice and compassion)? Perhaps, as Ecclesiastes reminds us, there is a time and a season for everything?

Edited by billmc
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(snip)

 

At the same time, I wonder where we would be if prior generations of progressives thought it fruitless or disrepectful to attack the position of others on issues such as slavery, women's rights, segregation, or aparthied? Does being progressive mean abandoning being prophetic (calling people to justice and compassion)? Perhaps, as Ecclesiastes reminds us, there is a time and a season for everything?

 

It seems to me that being progressive doesn't forbid being disrespectful or attacking people and their beliefs that they identify with. However, having said that i believe a PC strives to be a Christian " who knows that the way we behave toward one another and towards other people is the fullest expression of what we believe". Vocalization and attacking with words didn't bring about an end to slavery. Unfortunately that resulted in the negative effects of war and killing to bring it to a conclusion here.

 

It is my view that people such as Mahatma Gandhi and others like him showed us a better way and balance. It seems to me a progressive would speak for women's rights and other worthy causes and give it ones best yet in doing so remember what Gandhi taught. "Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love." I also like 3 other of his quotes...

"Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

"Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong" and

"We must become the change we want to see."

 

Just my 5 cents,

Joseph

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Guest billmc

Good thoughts, Joseph.

 

My use of the word "attack" is probably too strong. If I could do a rewrite, I would say that sometimes all of us need to be "confronted" or "made aware" of how our attitudes and actions hurt others. I need it. It's just that, being human, we don't enjoy it. :D

 

Namaste

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I think it is good to trade dialogue, but I really think we see our own thoughts being reflected back to us. Hopefully we gain insight from them. Here is a Zen story that says it better.

 

Wandering monks can debate Buddhism at different temples and stay if they win, but if defeated they must move on. In one temple there were two brother monks. The elder brother was a scholar, but the younger brother was crude, not intelligent and had only one eye. A wandering monk came and asked for lodging and properly challenged them to a debate. The elderly brother was tired from his studies and asked the younger brother to debate, but advised his brother to dialogue in silence. The young monk and the stranger went to the meditation room and sat down. In a little while the traveler got up and went to the elder brother and said, "Your younger brother is a great Buddhist and enlightened." The elder brother asked him about the debate. The traveler explained, "First I held up one finger, representing Buddha, your brilliant brother held up two fingers signifying Buddha and his teachings. I held up three fingers, representing Buddha, his teaching, and his followers in harmony. You brother the genius that he is shook his clenched fist in my face, indicating that all three come from one realization. He won so I have no right to remain here." With that said, he left.

 

The younger brother came in asking where the wandering monk was that he wanted to beat him up. The elder brother said,"I understand you won the debate, congratulations what happened?" The crude monk said, "The first minute he saw me he held up one finger, insulting me by insinuating that I have only one eye. Since he was a stranger I was polite and I held up two fingers, congratulating him that he has two eyes. That impolite wretch held up tree fingers, suggesting that between us we only have three eyes. I got mad and tried to punch him, but he ran out and that ended the debate.

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This thread is really important.

The Scriptures teach us to consider others "better than ourselves." How many Fundamentalists have such an approach? Every group declares itself to be the "right" group! So how do we walk?

Love is not being selfish, or striving for personal ends. Yet so much of preaching is about getting more members.

Can we be happy with loving others, and seeing that Love grow? To me, Love is God. Jesus is a word for Love.

 

Blessings to all,

Brian

Edited by a higher way
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The issue of "respect" becomes muddied when we consider theconsequences of giving respect to the wrong people for the wrong reasons. I believe we should respect thehumanity of all people, but that doesn't mean we need to respect theirbeliefs. Unfortunately, peopleidentify with their belief systems, and therefore it is not truly possible torespect the person while disrespecting the belief (just like it's not possibleto "love the sinner and hate the sin"). Postmodern culture seems to understand that we are naturallyincarnational creatures, and that it is not possible to cleanly divide aspectsof who we are.

 

The issue comes to a head when we begin to deal withpower. When people act in waysthat are harmful to others because they allow their beliefs to guide them, itmay require us to "disrespect" them in order to stop the damage beingdone. In fact, if we choose not toact in a disrespectful way (such as disrespecting authority), then we actuallydisrespect the victims, granting even greater power to those who are bringingabout the harm.

 

Admittedly, most conversations will probably not put us inpositions in which we need to make a choice. Most normal and healthy conversations can fall into "you have your wayof seeing things, and I have mine." Still, some situations require (dare I say it) choosing a side. This is not to say I advocateviolence. I do argue, though, thatchoosing to "respect" those who do harm over standing up for the well-being of peoplebeing harmed would effectively be an act that turns "Respect" into anidol.

 

(And now, we'll see how long time constraints can occupy mytime before I'm able to get back in here. rolleyes.gif)

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