I’m a loving human being… unless YOU are gay

(disclaimer: this is NOT a religion-bashing post, this is a post on human differences, obedience to authority and its consequences, irrespective of anything related to religion)

I’ve come across Dan Pearce’s blog entry titled “I’m Christian… Unless You’re Gay” a couple of days ago and a few things baffled me… For one, it is hard for me to understand how incredibly vested is the non-acceptance of differences in some cultures, and on what feeble foundations such non-acceptance is built up. It is hard for me to imagine what type of hell must the poor people who choose for themselves go through in dealing with this, although one ‘great’ example of what type of ‘loving regard’ one might have to put up with can be found in one of the responses to the original blog entry

There are a billion of reasons why in-group/out-group relations are bound to be complicated, or why we may not like those who are different to us… For example, here is just one of many videos tackling the subject of preference-holding (among other things):

It is exactly the understanding of why such tensions arise that allows us to deal with them rationally, to disperse them as a trick of the mind that they are, and to instead opt for a humane regard and treatment of other human beings…

We are afraid of the different, but only until it is unknown to us and holds no human face… Maybe we should strive to engage with people we think of as different, even reconcilable with ourselves – not in order to necessarily adopt their positions, but in order to UNDERSTAND. Understanding doesn’t imply agreement, it doesn’t even imply empathy – but it DOES make one a better human being when one understands where someone else is coming from, and it does make this world a much more enjoyable place for us all.

This isn’t to say that ALL views must be equally tolerated as having their right for existence (I don’t care, for example, how many people may hold an opinion that baby-rape is fine – it’s fucking wrong regardless), and I’ve written extensively on why such tolerance is, in fact, damaging to the society in “The Declaration of War on Global Terrorism“. However, we may still ‘invite the other side to lunch’, as Elizabeth Lesser suggests, if only to find out how to prevent certain rotten convictions from arising by understanding their underlying causes…

In addition, it may not always be the individual’s fault for acting a certain way. Group behavior and institutionalized behavior differ from individual behavior. Sometimes we do things we are told to do, and it ends up horribly… (You can watch Philip Zimbardo’s video on what a perfectly kind individual is capable of doing in an institutionalized setting here). When soldiers were executing Jews in Nazi Germany or anyone in Stalinist Russia, this is exactly what was going on…

Understanding is the key to avoid such horrors. Understanding and a specific mindset. Mindset that questions and never accepts authority ‘just because’. Such questioning allows us to exercise our own judgment of wrong-doing correctly, as the experiments on the subject show (below is a fun video by one great girl explaining the need for understanding).

Mindset that won’t allow anyone to resort to behaviors that drive people to suicide just because they feel ostracized for being different… Often so not just by their friends and community, but by their own families…

The end of the year is the time we look back and analyze, evaluate and plan for changes… Let’s all look back and analyze and evaluate whether our behaviors in any way were such that could harm the well-being of others just because they may be different from us, and let’s take concrete steps, starting with understanding, to eliminating such behaviors from our arsenal forever, shall we?

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About in shade

A cocktail of personality traits hard to digest for some but ultimately soothing for those who can. I observe, enjoy, travel, interact, photograph, dance, contemplate, write and love my way through this life's countless occurrences. This blog is a way to share with the world and its people some of the treasures they give me every day.
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