by Kenneth Justice
~”Oh, so you’re one of those”
Ever hear that before? In the Western World we love to label people;
—) ‘You’re a conservative’
—) ‘You’re a liberal’
—) ‘You’re an atheist’
—) ‘You’re a fill-in-the-blank’
Is it just me or does it seem that more often than not people have a tendency to mislabel each other. If someone finds out that you don’t completely agree with them on a particular issue then they have the propensity of labeling you as the ‘enemy’.
The blogging world is no different than any other facet of life. When people find out that you don’t ‘preach the party line’ then they immediately go on the attack because surely you must be against them if you don’t 100% agree with them….right???
Yet the simple fact of the matter is that there is no perfect ideology, no perfect religion, and no perfect political philosophy; because humanity is involved in these realms we know there are going to be flaws.
One of the great failures of the modern era (and perhaps past era’s as well) is our tendency to build walls around our ideologies that prevent us from having positive interaction and communication with others. If you’re starting point is that your beliefs about everything are perfect; then you’ve successfully prevented any positive conversation from occurring that you could have had with others.
One of my close friends has jumped ship. He and I used to have very similar views on religion, economics, and life, but he has exchanged his views for a new way-of-thinking. I’m okay with it…..I’m not offended or mad that he now views life very differently than he had in past years. Unfortunately, his new beliefs have prevented him from continuing to have any positive interaction with me; because ‘his views are right’ and ‘Kenneth’s views are wrong’; any dialogue we have tends to break down because he has surrounded himself with people that ‘only agree with him’. The most bothersome aspect of my friend’s devotion to his new beliefs is his entire lack of study and reading on the issues; he doesn’t hold to his beliefs because of well researched study….he holds to his beliefs because he has been influenced by others to believe them.
When we put ourselves into an isolated sub-culture it causes us to be disconnected from the rest of the world. In fact, it seems that more and more ‘sects’ of society would be better referred to as ‘cults’ due to the excessive level of devotion people give to their ideologies.
Historically a cult has been used in a religious connotation and defined as, “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object“…..yet, with so many various sects holding to such intense devotion to their non-religious ideologies….in recent years I’ve been using the word ‘cult’ as a way of better expressing their devotion.
As a Christian I have had to face my own share of problems within my own subset of fellow Christians. Too often I will hear Christians say, “The answer to every problem in our culture is that people need to become Christians and put their faith in Jesus”….sound familiar? Unfortunately this overly-simplistic way of thinking is not only disconnected from traditional Christianity, its also a very destructive attitude to society.
If ‘believing in Jesus’ is all that a society needs to be perfect than what the hell is wrong with Christian Churches where we find;
—) Divorce rates higher among church goers
—) Promiscuity higher among church going teens
—) Pornography use extremely high among youth pastors
—) the Church’s almost total inability at making a positive impact in helping the poor, single mothers, widows, etc.
…..and many many more problems.
However, this article is not meant to bash my Christian faith; but merely to point out that in being a Christian; I can’t pretend that the religious elements connected to my faith are perfect….because they are not. Otherwise I would be guilty of being just another ignoramus who is locked into a sad way of thinking.
I have to also be willing to have an open and honest dialogue with people of other faiths and religions and if at any point I begin to believe that ‘my particular church’ or ‘my particular denomination’ is the only perfect one….then at that point I have stopped participating in a sect and I have clearly entered into the world of cults.
Labels can be good because they can help us to fast forward conversations; I can say ‘I’m generally a moderate’ which helps to give the reader a ‘general’ view of where I’m coming from….
However, if we label people only to be able to attack them, accuse them, or confuse them…..then we have used ‘labeling’ in a disrespectful manner.
For now I think I’ll have another coffee
Categories: Culture & Society