The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Everyone Stop Being So Primitive: Judge Not!

Over the last week, conservatives and progressives alike (religious folks and atheists too) in one way or another have questioned my intelligence over some aspect of my beliefs that they just didn't much agree with, or worse, suspected they wouldn't agree with even though they refused to listen to (or accept if they did listen) what I actually had to say about my beliefs. Then came a "scientific" article shared on Facebook claiming those of an atheist belief system were actually smarter than those with a more God-oriented (religion oriented ... however you want to say it) way of perceiving the world. That was one step too far. Come on folks. Do you really believe this? What has experience showed you (not TV, not YouTube, not Facebook, not talk radio but actually boots on the ground experience)? As for me, I've met brilliant people who hold all the different belief systems humanity has to offer that I've run across so far (yeah, that's all inclusive guys as I've met A LOT of people in my business).

Now look folks, it's way past time to stop using our primitive, caveman minds to order our relations with others. The old way of doing things, the primitive approach to social dynamics, that we seem unable to shake, is to assume that everyone outside our own little group (our brains are happiest with groups of under 150 people that we communicate with directly ... this doesn't include copious Facebook "friends" or others in social media land) is the "other" and the "other" is alien, never to be trusted, and perhaps downright stupid for not believing as the members of our own little band believe. This is the twenty-first century. Don't you thinks it's a little past time we put this primitive way of thinking to bed once and for all and try (struggle, grapple with, and force our stubborn minds if need be) to see people who believe differently from ourselves as competent human beings from whom we might actually learn something?!

Let me paint us all a picture. If we don't, then every time we dismiss someone or some other group and label them in some way inferior, they WILL return the favor and treat us in kind. I don't think that's what we really want, is it? I can't imagine we really want to spend the rest of time on the primitive mind merry-go-round of suspicion, distrust, and denigration of all the BILLIONS of people outside of our tidy little 150 member group, can you? (As it says in MY belief system, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. [Matthew 7:1-5] That's Jesus, a really smart guy who lived way back when ... and liked to use humor to make his point from time to time as seen here.)

Now in my belief system, as a Christian, Protestant, American Baptist, the Bible (foundation upon which belief is informed and built) states in at least 70+ examples that we should be humble with each other and before God. We should show humility. Try Matthew 18:4: Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Perhaps if we all practiced a little humility, setting aside that notion that OUR little group has the inside track on all that is worth knowing, we just might get along a little better. We just might stop treating others with such disrespect ... and in turn all those other people just might return the favor. Who knows, it might be worth trying. I can't see that we are currently giving it much of a shot. What do we really have to lose? 

The early Christian monastics felt that other people were a sign of God's grace (i.e., God's love for us) in our lives. These monastics felt particularly strong signs of God's grace were people who actually didn't believe as the monks themselves believed. Why, you might ask. The reason was because these folks were people they felt God had sent their way so they could learn something NEW from them. And we think we have all the answers today. Pfft. These guys way back when had a much healthier view of those people outside of their own little tribes (monasteries) than we do today. 

So, what say you? Willing to give those people outside of your own little belief system (whatever that might be) the benefit of the doubt? I hope so. If we all do that ... well, we all just might learn something. 

For a challenging article on a scale of human spirituality that might give us all a dose of the humbles, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2013/08/challenging-stages-of-spirituality-by-m.html

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