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Monday, January 1, 2018

Truth is truth regardless of who believes it...

I get the feeling that I have written about this before, but perhaps it isn't a bad thing revisiting it.  Anyway as I have indicated, I am very weary of writing blog posts which could be construed as too political.  I have my political takes and I sometimes express them in other forums and sometimes express them to people in over the phone or in-person discussions, however, I am very wary of expressing in this blog.  Politics has a way of dividing people that in many cases would willing to listen to you otherwise.  This blog has never been meant to be about politics, but instead a searching personal study on aspects of human nature and feelings, including those of addiction, codepedence and the like.  This specific post is meant to be to some extent a push-back on a culture of conventional wisdom and a realization that the truth is out there and it will be what it is regardless of how widely it is embraced or not.   We just have to be brave enough and put down our preconceived notions long enough to accept it, especially when it goes against all that we've been tough.

As a teenager I struggled with my faith.  One part of my struggle was seeing others portray themselves as pious Christians. yet from what I saw, their actions did not match their words/portrayal.  For example, I would hear other teens (and adults) express their faith publicly, but when in smaller groups or around others they'd engage in gossip/speech that differed little behaviorally from the 'secular'.  In other words, instead of setting themselves apart and leading by example, they were followers of 'worldly'.  Also, I was very awkward as a teenager and the Christian faith as I understood (and understand) it encourages us to love our neighbors and to embrace those the 'throwaways', the 'unpopular', the 'forgotten'.   More often than not, I didn't feel that I was accepted by even the "Christians" community.  Since then I've come to the understanding and acceptance that just because you have a faith doesn't mean that you are a) immune to secular influences or b) that you are fully mature in your faith (especially in the teenage years).  I was focused on their failing and how it made me feel.

A funny thing happened on the way to heaven (as I like to say).  I had an epiphany one day--on my road to Damascus.  It came in the form of a simple math equation.  Namely that 1 + 1 = 2, regardless of who does the equation or whether or not the person behaves as if it is.  In other words,

  • If you purchased two items at the dollar store, the cost will be $2.  
    • It doesn't matter if the you give the clerk $3 dollars and walk off thinking you've paid him/her the right amount.  
    • It doesn't matter whether the clerk demands $3 for $2 worth of goods.  Either way the cost is $2.  
  • Likewise, it doesn't matter if others around you who claim to be of your faith live as if they believe the articles of faith.  The faith will be true (or not true) independent of who actually shows fidelity to it.  God existence for example, is not dependent on who accepts it.
  • A bitterly cold day is bitterly cold regardless of how much you wish it were otherwise.
  • And so on...
Some things are just true because they are true.  No amount of wishing or thinking otherwise changes them.  Life is full of shades of grey, but not everything is a shade of grey.  Paradoxically, that is a form of black and white thinking. See: Sometimes black and white (either/or) thinking is good. Avoiding it can be itself black and white thinking.  Obviously in life it is important not to be too rigid in your thinking that you miss the obvious that is outside of your viewpoint.   However, it is just as important to be willing to accept truths and stick to them regardless of how much support you have in expressing or holding them.

So, let's all have civil discussions on issues of the day, but be willing to listen to a point of view that is contrary to yours.  However, if the truth of one of your viewpoints is utterly clear and provable, stick to your guns, do not be bullied into questioning, disowning or disposing of that viewpoint. 

Thoughts for a new year...
-- Rich