Informed Reasons – Facing The Dismissive Spirit

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
Mark Twain

This topsy-turvy social climate we are in makes it rather disgusting to discuss much of anything.

I am a rather conservative person. I arrived at my current beliefs with time, education, life experience, cross-cultural experience, copious reading, studying, and, believe it or not, thinking.
We all have our opinions, usually for a reason. I highlighted “for a reason”, as I will explain this in further detail.

What I have been growing rather tired of the last few years is people talking down to me. I like to think I do better at avoiding the very same thing, but I am sadly doubtful.

It takes effort to step outside of the ideology handed to us in our upbringing or education.

  1. Some of us coast through life following that inherited ideology, content to not challenge it very deeply. We don’t ask “Why?” about much of anything. It is what it is.
  2. Some of us examine our inherited culture ideologies, and upon examination,  have decided we actually believe this for ourselves. We are in fact by choice, and in full understanding, holding to these ideas and principles, after examination.
  3. Others challenged their handed down beliefs, and came to make some modifications, or even very serious overhauls, and forming heir own  conclusions. These conclusions reflect very little of their past thinking.

My point is that many people live and believe as they do, for a reason.

From the religiously ultra- conservative direction I get the impression they feel I have not studied the sacred texts well because I differ on a few conclusions. I am broadly read in that field, and have done much textual exegesis, using the Greek language texts too; for over twenty eight years now.

I will be honest, that like most young people, I parroted the party platform (theological, ideological, political, or worldview) I was handed in my younger days from the history of my place of upbringing.  We all began there.

However, with life experience, time, and more study, one sometimes realizes our rigidity and insistence on certain views was arrogant. Yet, other ideas, with time and study, have been affirmed to me that my immovability is totally necessary, because it is true, it’s the best position.

The fact that one moves on anything in the “handed to you theological system “, leaves the left eye twitching on many a Christian. See for them it’s a package deal – their denominations line – All or nothing! It is very easy to get kicked out of their club. However, in some texts there is enough ambiguity that I can see how others might arrive at another point of view. What I am not in line with is church leaders condemning people or denominations over a text that does leave room for some gracious ambiguity. It’s called sectarianismMy tribe is the most correct all the time. I already pretty much know what a Baptist, Pentecostal, Reformed, Catholic, Calvinist, Lutheran, Wesleyan, or Ana-Baptist has to say about certain doctrines and the sacred text they use to defend it.  I have their commentaries and I read them. I have a degree in theology, it’s my job to know the nuances.

But be assured of this, I believe what I do for a reason, and if it has changed, it changed for a reason – Not because of cultural fads,  a swanky Priest or preacher, nor because of new pop i read recently book. Give me a break!

I am still learning, but I am not uninformed.

“I am fully culpable in where I have landed.”

These days, I really have little time for talking to Christian people who think their denomination is “the” God ordained denomination. There is no real conversation, it is settled you see.

Politically, I am rather conservative too (Not as in “Conservative Party”). More Liberal people seem to believe they are superior in their thinking, smarter, more informed, better read, or better people. They think they would never make the same mistakes previous generations have made. They have a great gift at talk down to you and they don’t even know they are doing it. I find it rather tedious. See, the other opinion is the uninformed one.

I am active on social media, so progressive folks talk to me as if I get my news and information from FaceBook trolls, bot posts, or Fox news (Or god only knows what source). They actually think that I don’t know what SNOPES is (As if SNOPES is infallible on all subjects – though I have found it pretty decent). The City progressives are the worst. If you happened to live in a rural area, they talk to us rural folks  as if we are uneducated, or unread in these subjects.

I understand their confusion. I was a clergymen, grew up in a rural area, live in a rural area once again, a fisherman, a Christian by choice, and a white heterosexual man, married at nineteen years of age. I certainly could not have a well read opinion with those credentials. Lot’s of assumptions are made.

I read news. I read history, I read a lot! I have an above average IQ. Have a degree, started a Masters Degree,  I have leaned several languages and a smattering of two more after that, and immersed myself for years in different cultures (Animist and Muslim cultures) and communities in Africa. I am not stupid.

About fifteen years ago I set out to reading more sources. I read science (Biology is a deep interest of mine and I wanted to be a Biologist. Check out http://www.phys.org) history, original communist and socialist documents, every major sacred text of every religion on earth, feminist documents (Especially early feminists), Greek to modern philosophers, and I do understand worldview studies.

You know what I have consistently discovered? Most stories passed off to us second hand are often simplistic, overly heroic, or in some rare cases, total misinformation. I really don’t trust media and pop articles on subjects. The authors might be noticed and skilled writers who write them,  but I have learned that we need not assume a journalist is any more informed on the subjects they write about than we might be. Writers and journalists are writers first, that is their area of training. They often have no training or serious study in history, theology, psychology, ideology, or worldviews etc. They are writers, not necessarily experts in the subjects they write about at all.  In fact assume that the majority are not any more knowledgeable on many subjects than you are, and you would not be overly mistaken. I have often enough went to the source and found writers have indeed misrepresented things, exaggerated the story to serve their ideology and it goes right and left. Having said this, some writers after time and experience do gain a keen eye, and I appreciate them when I encounter them. When media begin to really bash a person, they hope to shew us away form them. However, I am drawn to read their material more and more. And rarely have I felt the media been unbiased in these instances.  Journalist activism on the right and the left.

Just go to the sources. Forget their bullshit.

My learning is ongoing. But I am not uninformed. I believe what I believe “For A Reason”.

I have read things (written or lectured) by well known feminists, communists, socialists, Religious leaders, reformers, philosophers, and historians, that if the news were to report on what some of these people fully believed, and wrote, people would call it a conspiracy theory. Some of these people were crazy, deluded in some beliefs, extremely radical, abusive, brutally authoritarian, hostile,  and in some cases had lives and relationships that were so broken one wonders why they were ever followed and held up as insightful models for anyone – their good points, when it serves our purposes are highlighted. A lot of our “heros” have a very broken story too. Follow their words cautiously.

I read! I read a lot. So don’t talk down to me as if I have been duped. I do actually believe what I say I believe.  I actually, in full awareness,  believe what I do for a reason. About politics, government, abortion, immigration, religious beliefs, marriage, sexuality, and science  etc.  There are a few people who don’t look into these things much. But I am not one of them.  I have chosen my beliefs.

I actually have examined the arguments on both sides of many issues.  Amazing eh? It is not an ignorant choice, just because I might disagree with you, 90% of Canadians, or other Religions, or other Christians for that matter.

But the dismissive tone, that palpable assumed naivety that we are not even aware we are passing off, is rather unpalatable to me.

I am certain it is the same for you when I do it.

I can do better.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”
Mark Twain

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