In my time on HubPages, I have engaged in many discussions (some friendly, some not so) about religion. I've come to the understanding that there are simply people who will never agree on the subject. Shoot, some people see no need for religion at all - how can I (or anyone else) expect to convince them that one way is better than another?
So, I've made the efforts that I can to help them understand my thinking and in most cases, we have agreed to disagree...about religion. Often, though, we find ourselves in agreement about lots of other things. For my part, I'd rather have a friend with whom I disagree about religion than not have a friend at all because of that disagreement.
My question here is what is it that makes it such an imperative for some of us to cling to religion as the only topic of discussion - in some cases being so angry that others disagree that we can't see that these are human beings who have as much to add to our lives as those with whom we share beliefs? Why do we treat them as enemies? And, why do we get angry, and insult even, those believers who choose to treat them as friends?
Identity....., what you think form it, thus to find fault with your thoughts is to find fault with you.
So you think it's because people believe that those who disagree with them are finding fault with them personally, rather than with their beliefs?
Most do not fully understand so may not articulate it as such, but the reality remains.
Speak against Christianity, Atheism, homosexuality, feminism,what-ever-else-you-can -come-up-with....
You would soon find yourself in the midst of a war.
That much I understand quite well. What baffles me is the vehemence with which people will disagree with someone who even agrees with them on the majority of issues, while being kind to those who do not. We've all heard that the 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' but why must the friend of your enemy (who may agree with you) be your enemy?
I tend to think it has to do with feeling threatened by people who don't believe the same way as the person who's voicing a point of view. I find it interesting that this combative, judgmental and highly inflexible behavior has become so widely common after our country was attacked, and while we're mired in years'-long wars that we can't seem to truly end. That's why I tend to think of the combative people as feeling threatened. I used to see this scornful, finger-pointing attitude from only the most radical and the most fundamentalist sections of our society. Now I'm seeing it all over the place.
You know, HP, that's exactly what prompted me to post this thread. It's getting so common, it's sort of scary. It's disheartening to me to see how we're turning even our nearest neighbors into our enemies because they hold a different set of beliefs than we do. I understand that in some cases, that can indeed be threatening, but if everyone agrees to disagree on the minor details and actually acknowledges the humanity of the others, is that such a bad thing?
I think we need a movement to recapture our civility. Maybe that's how to do it. Let the extremists on either side punch it out as they always have. We need to relearn to keep our tongues under control and free speech - not hate speech - in mind.
Exactly, HP. My goal is to be kind enough to others that they feel comfortable expressing opposite views without becoming aggressive or defensive. It's amazing how much one can actually learn about another when they allow themselves to actually hear what others have to say.
You are right - and seem to have touched on a raw nerve for many people. Seems that for many people, they are unable to see beyond the confines of their own particular boxes. Their foundations are built upon a bedrock of ' religion' and cannot see beyond their own set of faith values.
Most, if not all, of the conflicts throughout history can be traced back to ethnic conflicts with 'religion' at their core. Without adding fuel to the fire, we get back to Freedom of Speech and Human Rights.
In an ideal world we would rely on our shared humanity to maintain peace and respect. However, it is the extremist who hijack these values to force hostile reactions where none exist.
Unfortunately ' religion' has become the means for controlling peoples by the power hungry. Once one can see the reality of how ' religion ' has been corrupted, one can focus on being truly spiritual. It takes a courage and a maturity to step out of the box, but the sense of freedom from the bonds and shackles of religious bigotry is truly enabling. Embrace the cultural diversity, celebrate the differences! Not everyone is ready to accept this reality, so as you rightly say, better to agree to disagree with a smile, than let these differing views fester into resentment.
Thanks for posting such an interesting and thought provoking topic.
Cheers to all,
I agree with you on so much of this, Christo. I noticed this behavior the other day, when someone I didn't know posted in a forum that my conversation with another was inane because we were 'atheists.' I found it comical at first, but then I thought how obnoxious it actually was to make that assumption because I was joking with someone he disagreed with. It happens that I'm a believer, but the person assumed that because I was friendly to someone who was not, I must not be. Regardless of whether a person is a believer or not, I hold that it is a must to be kind to others until they give me reason not to. Even then, rather than be unkind, I tend to just retreat. I've found that it's a much more effective way to open a dialogue with someone that's actually productive, rather than just throwing verbal bombs back and forth.
Thanks for the thoughtful response.
I would hope that no one considers someone they disagree with as the enemy here. But, most everyone wants to be right. Not many are here to listen, since they consider their opinions the correct ones. We are supposed to listen and agree. When we don't, it is viewed as an insult.
I don't see how the religious are any different from anyone else in this behavior.
Ultimately, it wasn't so much a question of religion as .... psychology maybe? I just couldn't find a suitable location for it under that category. I just have found it rather odd over time that the minute one becomes friendly with someone with whom they disagree frequently (for example, if you suddenly became friendly with Claire), others who disagree with Claire would suddenly begin to treat you as if you'd jumped ship and started, for lack of a better phrase, sleeping with the enemy.
I can't understand that mentality - especially among intelligent, articulate adults.
You and I don't always agree, but I enjoy discussing things with you. When it comes to certain topics, there are those with whom I never agree - but we can interact with a certain degree of respect and affection.
Well, I have no intention of being affectionate with a bunch of strangers. I find the conversations involving 'come to my house for cookies' types of comments decidedly creepy.
But, my observation has been people run in clicks here, like anywhere else. If you disagree with the pack you run the risk of being attacked by something akin to pack of rabid chihuahua puppies. Best make sure your shots are up to date, or you run the risk of being infected.
HAHA! True enough. I have become friendly with some of the folks around here. Just common interest sort of stuff. And I don't shy away immediately from online 'friendships.' I met my husband online, so it's easy to accept that I could make friends here as well.
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