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I realize, after rereading the preceding post a few times, that there are a couple of ideas presented that are ill-developed and somewhat un...
So, I saw someone do something like this on Facebook, and thought it would be a good idea. 1. Washing my hands 2. Long show...
“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” Exodus 20:7...
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Today, we’re going to be talking about religion. Kind of. But we’re looking at the topic from two sides. Hear me out: if you’re one of those people that are instantly turned off by the idea of discussing religion, then this post is for you. If you’re one of those people that read the preceding statement and became troubled and upset merely at the thought of people who dislike religion, then please, keep reading. This is more for you than anyone.
One thing I shall never understand is how ridiculous people can be. Laughably open, I know, but for this discussion this statement refers to the judgment and hate passed upon those of different groups; specifically between Christians and atheists (for this post, these two groups will be the easiest to talk about; however, this surely applies to other groups as well).
There are plenty of atheists who have no respect for Christians or believers in any faith, for that matter. Understandable. But let’s think about this for a moment. One of the biggest reasons why Christians are hated is because they are seen as hypocritical and judgmental. In essence, intolerant. Many people who are not Christians dislike, or even hate, Christians because of the hate they show. It’s like a brother and sister who refuse to be nice to each other because the other one won’t be nice first; neither is willing to be the bigger person. And that is the issue of true hypocrisy. Being a hypocrite against hypocrites, both parties just as bad as the other.
Please understand that I am not stereotyping here. I am speaking about trends of individuals who share these negative character traits. But unfortunately, it is the negative individuals in the groups that often are the face of the group. Negativity gains more attention. If you are buying strawberries and one or two in the package are spoiled, you will pass it up and look for another, right? Of course, people are much more complicated than strawberries, but the same concept remains intact.
I am a Christian, proudly and openly. But I am neither too proud nor too blind to see the problems that exist within Christian culture and modern, fabricated views of the Christian belief system. Reading the Bible apart from the way most Christians observe it is a separate experience. Ignoring context is both foolish and dangerous. The words of the Bible exist(ed) in both the context of the time period and culture of where they were written as well as through the filter of the writers. Much of contemporary church culture is disconnected from the culture of the early church. For the most part, this is not a bad thing. But when this disconnect fosters negative actions and mindsets, that is where the issue lies. Surely, passing judgment is not exclusive to a modern-day context. Jesus spoke of its dangers. But the issue becomes exacerbated by the largeness of today’s Christian community. Much of the way modern Western church culture acts is not directly the result of Christian teachings, but rather groupthink and the accepted interpretations of the teachings. There are good Christians out there; just because someone believes something strongly does not make them narrow-minded or hypocritical. It may make it easier if one is not careful, but the beliefs and mindsets/actions are far from inseparable.
So here is my challenge to you, the reader. In you are a believer in Christianity, do not allow yourself to tarnish the face of yourself, and your brothers and sisters. Be sure to observe the essential, core teachings of Christianity that teach love, acceptance, reaching out, community, and charity. These things are the epitome of what a Christian should observe, and you are not a Christian if you cannot observe them (the Bible says so; I will not quote them, but rather let you find them yourself so maybe, if you don’t agree with me already, you can find it in yourself to learn something). Or if you are not, whether a nonbeliever or believer in another faith, please realize a few things. One, I, as a human and as one following the teachings of Christianity, accept and respect you, even if I do not agree with your beliefs. And I am not the only one; we are few but we are out there. Also, never let yourself stoop to the same low level as the misguided Christians who would judge you and look down upon you. Everyone is better off when we can learn to respect each other and coexist.
After all, we are all observers of Faith. Whether your faith is in monotheism, polytheism, science, logic, or yourself, no one exists with no measure of faith. Faith is simply a belief or trust/confidence in something. It takes faith to not believe in something just as it takes faith to believe in it.
Semi-sidenote: Most of the disputes over religion are not over religion, but rather the underlying issues. And that’s what we are dealing with here. The issue is not simply belief. But rather the issues are intolerance, misunderstanding, narrow-mindedness, and sometimes, immaturity. Religion just makes it easier to find things to disagree about. But that is a complex topic for another time…
Friday, June 24, 2011
So, it has been quite a while since I have posted anyone on this blog. Quite a while, in fact; much more time that I had hoped.
But in theory, today will be fixing this issue. It is nice to be consistent, which I think it a more-than-perfect topic for this post.
But first, a quick update for those who care and/or happen to stumble across this and would like to know what’s going on in the life of this blogger (if I can, yet, call myself a blogger): As a college student, this is my summer—one that I had hoped would be filled with reading, writing, and a summer job. Fortunately, two of those things have been happening. I have been reading some fantastic stuff, most of it for the first time. In the last month, I have finished books/collections by Billy Collins, Heather Sellers, Ciaran Carson, Maya Angelou, and Carolyn Forche. I also have been reading a fantastic book by Rita Dove, as well as a lot of work by Ernest Hemingway, and I should be completely Jean Toomer’s Cane within the next week. I love reading, especially when it’s on my own time and of my own want to read. I also have been doing some writing. Not as much as I would like, and I’ve actually been doing more editing and revising of work than actual writing, but it has been enough to keep my going strong over the summer. Hopefully, this blogging thing will help me to keep up practice of writing craft.
And that leads us directly into the topic for this post: consistency. I am finding more and more how gravely important it is. It what makes our habits, actions, and hobbies act in a way that’s adhesive. It keeps us going and keeps us steady. Even looking at the word itself helps us get a truer understanding of its essentiality. CONSISTancy. What do your days consist of? Your thoughts? Your actions? What makes up the fabric of what makes you you? It is not the individual acts of whim or will, but the character traits, the actions, the outlook properties that recur.
This is one of my goals for this summer and for the rest of my life. Let those things that are important be ones that repeat, constantly. Let the things that are passions not fade or fizzle.
It will be terribly ironic for me to post this and not maintain the content of what I’m discussing through this blog itself. But to that I say: I am going to try, and often, that is all that I can do. For the most part, at least.