Here are the key features of organizations I say NO to, will free myself from, and am loath to support, in quick bullet points. Such organizations are:
- Founded on fear: fear of any interpretation of reality other than their own, fear of deviation from that particular interpretation and even the knowledge of other interpretations, fear of others, fear of the world, the universe, of ideas ... the list goes on.
- Driven by authority flowing from that fear: with leaders rarely questioned and their power considered absolute (until they are proved to be human by making mistakes).
- Living with a "my way or the highway" mindset: often required to keep such fear-based organizations running--particularly if that mindset leads to the belief that others who do not see the world your way are either doomed or stupid.
- Closed and static systems: loath to change and threatened by new ideas or changing social realities.
- Relying on a very narrow interpretation of reality: that stubbornly refuses to entertain even the idea there might be other useful interpretations out there generated today that might actually benefit the organization in some way.
- Are threatened by new discoveries: especially those who react to such discoveries with violence in any form.
- Denying that humans make mistakes: especially if that organization thinks people who DO make mistakes are evil or mentally deficient or irredeemable.
- Denying we live on a fragile world: refusing to take an interest in and care for all who live here (fauna and flora) ... or refusing to help any who live here who do not believe as they believe.
- Repressive of half the world's population.
- Defending themselves by rote recitation of circular arguments, especially if those arguments are provided by opinion makers supporting their beliefs, whether those opinion makers work in the broadcast media or in print.
- Either demanding there is only one meaning and truth as interpreted by its central authority figure(s) or that there are an infinite number of meanings and truths and therefore anything goes, no matter who is injured or dies in the process.
- Demanding of loyalty to interpretation over thought.
- Prone to conflict and dismissive of social issues.
- Using "truth" as they see it as a bludgeon.
- Withdrawing from others who think differently.
- Solving problems with violence.
I'm striving to divest myself of the pernicious impacts such organizations and their often stridently stated beliefs have had in my own life over the decades. I find I have scars myself from run ins with such groups over time ... some quite recent and from opposite extremes. This delineation of the attributes of organizations I choose not to support and declare my freedom from has helped me to pull away from their more toxic teachings. I do admit that some of these organizations do mean well and some of their ideas have merit, once stripped away from their more dangerous teachings. It makes navigating the world a challenge, but a challenge well worth grappling with in my humble opinion.
I actively work to promote organizations that have what I believe is a positive, healthy outlook on the world, an outlook that replace fear with joy, works with others to protect life in its great diversity on this planet, grapples with ideas as best they can while maintaining core values that promote the above. I'll support leaders who seek to bring out the best in others, accept that we all fail, that we are redeemable, that we can learn from our mistakes, that we can and should compromise, and that we benefit most when we move onward together. I will help those who promote peace, who choose the path of meekness in this life, who want to help those who struggle rather than condemn them, and who are willing to change with the times in necessary ways to remain relevant.
What do you think? Am I on the right track or completely wrong?