I wrote, what I can only imagine was a genius post about the struggle I have been having lately when considering how to approach fundamentalism surrounding, in particular environmental issues, gay rights and women’s rights.
And by this, I don’t mean just the far right, though that is who I tend to want to address in hopes that they’ll wake up and see a different type of light altogether. I have pulled away from constant political and social activisty type things on Facebook for a myriad of reasons, but one, as I have tried to inarticulately explain, is because I felt within myself a rising arrogance and self-righteousness akin to my previous life as a Christian.
And I thought, “How is this helpful?” Assuming anyone is paying attention to my wall often is arrogant in and of itself, but it happens from time to time.
I don’t think hiding what my opinions and passions are is helpful either, but I am hard pressed to believe posting and re-posting articles about Keystone, food safety, etc etc are having an impact on anyone. The one’s who are interested already agree with me principally.
It is not to say there is not point in disseminating information for the sake of doing so, but I am still conflicted. I know perfectly well I cannot change someone’s mind. But I want to. Oh, how I want to! Even with this as a kernel of intention, yearning, expectation, I am getting myself into trouble right off the bat. Because I will be disappointed and frustrated and left feeling utterly despondent about the idiocy of my own species.
I know how defensive people are when locked into their ideologies, because it is as if you are telling them that they, as entire beings are wrong, stupid, worthless. At the heart of it, once someone examines something too closely, it all starts to unspool. It requires a particular type of mental gymnastics to maintain loyalty to a particular belief system for an entire lifetime, but it is very possible and in many ways, quite desirable, clearly, or we wouldn’t see the endurance of Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islamic faith, and so on and so forth.
What does one do to create fertile ground for open minds? I looked back upon my own life and tried to dissect how and why my faith fell apart for me. I can say with complete certainty; it was subtle, but once it got momentum, there was no going back.
What did not help was people bluntly shoving their opposing opinions in my face…pushing, questioning, berating me for my ignorance. Seeing this as mere proof of the sadness of secular depravity and their collective one-way tickets to the burning lake of fire was the default position. No need to defend or justify. There is nothing to argue about. This is right, that is wrong. The bible and mommy and daddy and a bunch of other ding dongs tell me so, Jesus tells me so. The end.
You cannot really force a fundamentalist, even kindly, reasonably, scientifically, logically, into the dawning of a new age of thinking. It is even more frustrating looking back and going, “What was wrong with me? How did I buy into and justify those horrible ideas?” Even with clear and well thought out intelligence looking me in the face, I couldn’t be swayed, until one day, I could.
I felt guilt, doubt, confusion, but I squelched that for quite some time to fulfill my more dire need to belong somewhere, no matter how haphazardly. I never truly believed I fit; I felt myself to be an irredeemable sinner, and was constantly pleading for healing, salvation and such. But I didn’t want to give up on the hope that one day it would get better, I would feel the love of the Lord and people, and so I kept at it…as I got older, it became more of a thing where I had lost hope, but I didn’t want to acknowledge the waste of time and intelligence that was my youth.
I have found myself in a very messy questioning kind of space these last few months, sifting through validity and purpose, and approach and integrity, feeling quite foolish and answer free.
I feel there is a corner to be turned. I know I do not just want to sit down, shut up, and sink into a milky white fence sitting existence. I just don’t know how to best handle my ego’s accountability in these types of situations.