Friday, May 6, 2011

What Do You Pledge?

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I have beliefs, religious and personal. In my mind, my perspective on these subjects is the right one. (Logically, I wouldn't believe in something I thought was wrong.) My convictions are not the same as all the other people on the planet. There are many, many religions. There are countless other causes people support. Just like me, each person believes that their own personal values are the right ones.

My religion is Christianity. A part of that religion is the idea that God created human beings with free will. No one, not even God, can make us do anything. So why do people, oftentimes Christians, try so hard to force others to bend to their way of thinking?

We threaten, instead of explain.

We bully, instead of embrace.

Where there could be open dialogue, there is close-minded judgement.

Where there is the possibility for a myriad of personalities to interact in harmony, there is prejudice that says if you believe in something different than I do, you fall into a category, and I can't relate to you.

It's an all-or-nothing attitude. When an impasse is reached, we don't say, "Let's just agree to disagree," we continue to fight, wasting energy and resources to force compliance.

I remember being in Geography class in high school and a speaker addressing us about the Middle Eastern countries warring over the Gaza strip, different groups fighting for land because it holds religious significance to them. I raised my hand and asked, "Why can't they just share it? It's land - it's not a toy or a single thing that would have to be traded back and forth. Lots of people can live on it, or use it. Or they could just designate it as holy land for no one to use."

The speaker and the teacher traded an amused look. "If only it were that simple."

But does it really have to be that complicated? Why don't the rules that govern toddlers rule the world? Share. If you can't share, no one gets to play with it.

The reality is, they can't share. Because that would be admitting that it's possible that they aren't right. And they will never give up that fight. They will make the world see that their way is the right way.

This is me saying, I think my way is the right way, 
but I know I can't make you agree with me. 
And I don't want to try to force you to. 

I want you to chat with me. I want you to tell me what you believe and why. I want to get to know you - not make assumptions about who I think you are because you say you are a Democrat or a Republican. And if you disagree with me, great! The world would be a boring place if we all had the same opinions. Share your thoughts, and let's see what happens.

The Internet and social media are making the world a smaller and smaller place. Is it really that far-fetched to think that starting to treat others respectfully in these realms could carry over into real life? Imagine what that would look like. I can't wait to find out...


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