Monday, September 29, 2008

A Word

Thanks to all of you who commented to my previous post about having “words” with a friend. I appreciate the input and you all made very valid points.

I got a response from my old friend with the different political viewpoints. I was glad to see he read (I think) my whole message. I hope he wouldn’t mind if I share a bit of our exchange with you.

He wrote:

“...and your first paragraph was all that I needed to read. I appreciate the fact that your opinions are well researched, and I am certain that every day you read things that support your beliefs. All I ask is that you respect mine.”

I answered:

It’s a good thing to “conserve” a friendship with a “liberal” amount of understanding.

I think I see from this experience what it all boils down to. It’s that word, “beliefs”.

He said, “...I am certain that every day you read things that support your beliefs.”

I’m sure I do, but I would tell him, if the subject could be discussed, I also read a lot that does not support my beliefs. I’m glad he understood my opinions are based on research. That would give them at least some grounding in verifiable reality. Then he mentioned respecting each other’s beliefs.

Hey, wait a second. There’s that word again.

Ok, let’s see what that word means.

According to my American Heritage Dictionary:

Belief –1. The mental act, condition or habit of placing trust or confidence in a person or thing. Faith. 2. Mental acceptance or conviction in the truth or actuality of something.
3. Something believed or accepted as true; especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets, accepted by a group.

I don’t think I have any beliefs when it comes to politics and politicians. That would mean I have trust, confidence, or faith in the “truth” in politics. And that whole element of faith would be terribly misplaced. I may have faith in friendship, faith in love, faith in my wife and faith in God. But I do not have faith in economics, politics, parties, government, politicians, and media. For them I have opinions, and plenty of them.

Here is what I believe. I believe people hold onto beliefs in a party or politician in a way similar to someone who has accepted a particular religion, or leader, or even a religious cult leader. It could be like someone’s desperate belief in their abusive spouse.

At one point in their life they decided to believe in someone or something, and they cannot reflect back on the decision. Like authoritarian followers whose decision to embrace the leader is irrevocable. It would be like doubting their purpose in life.

You could have a family member who joins a cult or marries a liar and cheater, and you may try to plead with them about the mistake they are making. They would only turn from you and follow their own misguided beliefs.

Someone may start out voting republican because their parents did. And that’s it; end of all consideration. They will support the party while being oblivious to the radical course it has taken. They just don’t pay it any thought or attention.

It is somehow wired into certain human brains. Their own beliefs are never questioned. It is up to our judgment whether we accept the person into our lives or not. If they accept us, we owe it to be there for them. Some lucky souls out there eventually see the light.


billie said...

imho- beliefs versus facts are the reasons we have such an insurmountable debacle going on in this country right now- and that it has spread globally. we live in strange times dave- ultimately, the relationship is yours and your friend's- and it will be up to ya'll how you proceed. at this time in history, we have a president in the oval office who wants to usurp civil liberties for americans and concentrate power in the executive branch- based on his beliefs of what right and wrong are. we have a vice presidential candidate who believes that the earth is 6,000 years old and people co-existed with dinosaurs. i do not have to respect another's belief system when it so directly effects the lives of millions. i reserve the right to tell those people- you are flat out wrong.

and if you believe in those people mentioned above- i feel the same way.

Unknown said...

Faith; trust; beliefs, are all necessary for a healthy state of mind. A person who is void of these qualities lives a sorry existence. But one should also understand that these qualities are fluid. The human mind is not infallible, and when one applies rigidity to these things, it affects all they come in contact with. It's like the old saw, 'You can't judge a book by it's cover'. One must continually strive for knowledge, and not be intimidated by finding out they have erred in judgement. Wisdom is a learned trait.

I have a deep faith in God, but even that faith is fluid, and subject to subtle changes as time progresses.

When the Evangelicals accused me of preaching heresy, they told me, "The Bible is NOT to be debated". I shared this with several fellow preachers and theologians, and their response was almost unanimous: 'Anyone who would say that is either insecure in their knowledge of Scripture, or they're a fool'. All of the early Canonizing Councils were nothing more than Scriptural debates. Cementing your faith, trust, or beliefs, in a man, be he your minister, pastor, or the Pope, himself, is ludicrous at best, foolhardy at worst. And the same can be said about politicians; they are all flesh and bone, and subject to error. Holding on to a belief, when there is abundant proof to the contrary, is lethal. Pig-headedness is not an admirable trait, as witnessed by George W Bush.

Excellent post, by the way!

Anonymous said...

There is a video on youTube. The video is of a soldier in Iraq, who says things like "things here are a LOT better than they were in 2002," "we want to stay until we have victory," and "everybody here in Iraq is supporting John McCain for President."

I saw this video on a wingtard's blog. Since I knew that the things the soldier was averring were patently false, I produced 3 links. One of them was a poll taken in late 2007 in Iraq where 90% of the Iraqis questioned said things were better under Saddam than they are now. One of them showed that 3/4 of all serving members of the military want the Iraqi Oedipal Crusade brought to an end. And last but not least, one of them showed that soldierd serving in Iraq were donating to Obama at a rate of 6 to 1 favoring Obama over McCavein.

The wingtard actually sent me a email. "I appreciate your information, but those are your beliefs. You have yours and I have mine."

BELIEFS?!? WTF?!? No.... this wasn't something I believed; this was FACT. I cannot win an argument with anyone who refuses to believe facts when presented.

Oh, and I got banned from the wingtard's blog, of course, so I can't even answer.

Robert Rouse said...

Dave, we all have beliefs. I think most people believe we should have clean air and water. I believe most people think war is bad. I firmly believe that every man has a good side - although sometimes we really have to do some digging to get to it. Even Hitler was an artist. However, as a Christian, I find the majority of Conservatives have forgotten the words of Christ, the Prince of Peace. They forget that he asked us to love our enemy as we love ourselves. He asked us to turn the other cheek. He reminded us that "blessed are the peacemakers." So when it comes to faith and belief, if many conservatives would actually read the Bible they claim to love so much they would do as much for the least of us as they would do for Christ.

jmsjoin said...

You are a good one and like you I respect others beliefs but not when they are beliefs in spoon fed lies. I would much rather slap them and wake them up but have to settle for agree to disagree!