Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Has Reason Left Us?

It seems the current ideological climate is marked by unreasonableness.  I remember when you could have a conversation with another person and could disagree without resorting to hate-filled remarks and character assassinations.  You might even have a civil discourse in which new understandings could be found by both parties.  Now, the battle lines are clearly drawn and it seems all have chosen their sides. 

What happened?  It is as if we have dehumanized and demonized anyone whose views differ from ours.  We have become rigid in our opinions, and have closed our minds to any new ideas.  This makes learning problematic.  It also makes finding middle ground and discovering new perspectives virtually impossible.  Unreasonable disagreements are not new, but they do seem to have multiplied.

I'll admit it is difficult when the pendulum of reason swings so wide; when the middle has disappeared in the mire of extremism.  Good people are woefully uniformed, misinformed, and believe dubious facts because it supports their position.  Education has become suspect, and is even discouraged.  As someone who values as much education as you can get, I find this last part most interesting.  It seems that some would rather believe a lie, than to learn a truth that may challenge their views.  I cannot fathom this.

Today was a day of quite a few disagreements on social media.  People who otherwise might be nice, under the anonymity of the internet have said some very ugly things.  Intentionally twisting words and name calling seem to be the order of the day.  These are not teens who are caught up in online bullying, these are adults who are professionals in their field--and often in helping fields such as the clergy.

I am reminded of Jesus words as found in Mark 12:29-31:

Jesus replied, “The most important one is Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”

Do we show our love for God by our love for God's children?  Or do we want to narrow our understanding of who are children of God by our own standards, limiting our views even further?  Do we love our neighbors, meaning even those we disagree with most, as we love ourselves?  That would require us to respect their opinions as we would like ours to be respected.  

We live in a difficult time.  I would like to think that reason has not left us entirely, and with kind words and understanding spirits we can regain some of the reason that is needed in our country right now.  Join with me as we seek to bring a kind word, even in disagreement, and not hold grudges when others would say ugly things to us and about us.  Let us love one another as Christ has loved us and as we love ourselves.  


edith said...

I will join you. I live with someone who gives almost everyone the benefit of the doubt. Love and peaceful responses are not a sign of weakness, they are a sign of strength.

Sonja Tobey said...

Thank you for this comment and the one about prayerful needle work. You are right, it is a sign of strength