Sunday, November 01, 2015

A PinkBlue Rainbow (with Yura)

Trev:
Jonathan Haidt wrote a fantastic book called 'The Righteous Mind'. It's subtitle is 'Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion'. Quite often when we stumble across something really core to our beliefs where someone we care about disagrees, we choose to walk away. At the very least we don't talk about it. Yura Kaliazin is a good person. We are friends from university. Recently the SCOTUS ruling led to a tribal split on facebook of Rainbow Profiles and PinkBlue profiles. I am interested to understand how we can create a productive, mudsling-free, conversation where there is such a clear line of disagreement.

Yura:
Indeed the SCOTUS ruling has created a large number of heated debates. From my experience, as soon as you say "I do not agree with the ruling, as I believe it's wrong", most of the time you are quickly branded as intolerant, backward hater (or a fanatical religious lunatic), and the conversation stops right there, before any point of view can be put forward. I guess that's one of the reasons why people choose to walk away and not talk about it - why expose yourself to another branding as a "hater" or "lunatic" just for disagreeing on the topic?


Trev:
The normal approach is to look for the barbs of disagreement. Layering discussion with insults. I like the idea of allocating a "Bull Quota", like when you watch a movie. Good movies extend reality to look at things from a different perspective. If they extend too far, or aren't consistent, the suspension of disbelief is snapped. I believe strongly that there is a core of agreement around which we can build allowance for where people can disagree. The interesting thing with the SCOTUS ruling is the hats have changed. For years, the protesters were the Rainbow movement. Now the 'aggrieved' are the PinkBlue. There should be some empathy for the other group?

Yura:
Yet, not many are willing to give empathy to the PinkBlue (predominantly Christian) side, demanding empathy only for their point of view. There is quite a bit of common ground between the two sides, but the devil is in the detail. Should everyone be treated with respect and dignity, no matter which side of the divide you're on? I'm sure both sides agree - yes. Should you keep your mouth shut if you genuinely believe something to be wrong, just because your point of view is "uncool", "unfashionable" or not mainstream? No, I don't believe so.

Trev:
Is a Christmas analogy appropriate? Many of my Christian friends or family talk about wanting to put the 'Christ' back in Christmas. When Christianity was mixed with the State, the State started mingling many secular or cultural holidays into holy days. Christmas was one. As society has become more secular, Christians sometimes feel the cross-cultural family day Christmas has become is no longer their religious day. Marriage was also around before Christianity made it very core to their faith. The State then incorporated and regulated it. Is it a matter of religious ceremony and holiness? If there was a word to celebrate a PinkBlue marriage, and a day to celebrate the birth of Christ, would that allow the respect and dignity you talk of?

Yura:
Respect and dignity I was talking of when having a discussion or argument on the topic (like we're having now). As for Christmas, I am a Christian, and to us, Christmas is and will always be Christ's Birthday, regardless of State, trends or fashion. It's just increasingly easy to get distracted from what Christmas really means, even to us Christians. As for marriage - "is it a matter of religious ceremony and holiness" - the former yes, to a lot of people, but the latter is to me the core of the matter and disagreement the "fundamentalist" Christians, like me J, and the Rainbow movement.

Trev:
I am not religious, but I buy into the idea of keeping objects and ideas holy. Something as simple as some religious people wrapping books in a special cloth, only opened on a specific day, in a specific way, with specific people. I also like the idea of giving people space to do things that are special to them with people that matter to them. Where I get confused is why we would want the state to be involved in this anyway? The SCOTUS ruling, to my knowledge, didn't stop anyone from doing anything. There are Christians who accept marriages that aren't PinkBlue. There are those that don't. It is still possible for "fundamentalist" Christians to have their holy ceremony of PinkBlue marriage, and to celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ. Hopefully, when the dust settles, we'll realise we aren't fighting over anything since everyone can then do what they believe is right, as long as they don't interfere with others?

Yura:
I guess the very last piece of your last sentence is the catch. Problems arise when Christian pastors, who hold firm to their beliefs, are forced to partake in Rainbow ceremonies, and being taken to court if they refuse. Is this not enforcing one's beliefs upon someone else by brute force, just because the State has given you the big stick to do so? The strong impression that I have built up over the last few years is that Christians are always expected to be tolerant to everyone and everything (it seems it is in fact increasingly demanded of them), often to the detriment of their own beliefs. Yet non-Christians seem to reserve the right not to tolerate Christians and the Gospel (and many to bitterly mock them at every opportunity). Double standards at play? And, as I said before, if you see someone you care about do something that you strongly believe is wrong, you would speak up - even though it might be interpreted as interference...

Trev:
I agree that enforcement is the heart of the problem. Tolerance does require people to genuinely accept and allow alternative views which don't infringe their rights. It gets tricky when jobs require that tolerance to need action that doesn't harm you, but appears to indicate you agree with views you don't. Silence can appear to be agreement. Speaking up also means judgement, and most people recoil at being told they are evil/bad/wrong/sinful. All those words are very loaded. Even 'agreeing to disagree' creates walls. My view is the law should keep out of it and big sticks shouldn't stop rainbows or enforce them. On a personal level, choosing when to 'interfere' is more problematic. Both sides need to care about each other first and earn the invitation to interfere.

Yura:
I guess it is a bit of a Catch 22 - stay silent and people think you agree, speak up, and get branded... Agree - no one likes to hear unflattering things about themselves, but again, to just always keep quiet? And also think it has to do with how you say it - evil - not you yourself, bad - no necessarily, wrong - yes, sinful - yes, we all are, in one way or another. I do agree that there needs to be some level of trust or relationship before you can speak up - no-one is likely to take a total stranger seriously. I am a numbers guy, I don't speak or write well, so as a wrap-up, I'll let the professionals do the talking, via these two "links" - Roman 1 22-32 and http://www.tosavealife.com/10-life-giving-truths-for-the-gay-christian/
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