Our Own Eyes
There are different levels of belief that vary from fully-on starstruck gullible certainty to the extreme opposite in disbelief. Atheists with whom I have discussed religious issues tended to regard belief as something that stands alone, irrelevant to anything else. No one ever mentioned a relationship with any other words. No one at all hinted that belief and disbelief are the two extreme conditions of acceptance involving a continuum between related ideas rattling around in our brains, with abeyance as a center position. That’s the scientific method at work.
Maybe it’s too hard to acknowledge that religious and atheist people share an interest in the same things. Or, maybe it’s too much easier for both sides to see each other, and themselves, with dogs’ eyes as in a black and white world, where acceptance or rejection are always total and complete. Pay attention to the world around you and the people in it. Take off your judgmental lenses and just watch and listen. You will soon see that’s not the way things work, except for liars. Those waffles in your fickle, vacillating heart have afflicted the multitudes. Relax and take solace in your normalcy.
My point with this message is, none of us are perfect, and rarely, if ever, will any two people exactly mesh on all their beliefs and disbeliefs. It may shock you to learn there are believers who disbelieve some things; and there are atheists who do believe some things, even if they do believe they don’t. The important point at which this message aims is that is that those people on all sides of any issue —of those who would not be found guilty of politicizing an issue —if they are not actual frauds and hypocrites —actually believe in whatever they believe.
Democracy was developed to permit and enhance debate among its citizens, but we get poorly taught on how to go about it. And, so, we follow the only examples we have, those set the politicians and politicizers. We don’t know to stick to the issues, so we resort to personal attacks and disparage each other and our candidates, instead. We don’t recognize decoys, and so we end up distracted by those introduced by an opponent while tossing fistfuls of our own into the frey. We get so far off track we can’t find our way back onto the original road. We end up on a lesser topic than we began with and wonder why, and how we got so lost.
It is easy. One or both of you don’t want the other side to win and leads the other away from the topic. Feeling defensive in unexpected territory, the other follows the challenger’s lead by taking the bait. Wanting to appear strong, knowing, innocent and right, does not prevent anyone from making this common error.
It is helpful to learn the tactics most likely to be used against you in an argument. It could be even more helpful to assess debates by what they accomplished rather than their entertainment value. But, we won’t. We all are human beings. None of us are perfect. All of us are some ways different. And, that’s the best thing about us. Why not love that?