Sunday, April 24, 2016

Is it possible to be too accepting?

It seems as if we are no longer entitled to hold up our own individual standards anymore.  Instead, it seems like alternative lifestyles and cultures and beliefs are being forced on us from all fronts, but we aren't allowed to say a thing about it.

I find intolerance, discrimination, and rudeness distasteful and unacceptable, but let's grow up and realize that to dislike or disapprove of another's opinion or choice is not equal to hatred.  The current circumstance we find ourselves in feels like some sort of meta-cultural peer-pressure where everyone is expected to accept every choice as being fully equal, and to be quiet about it all.

Rejecting a choice someone else makes, or not accepting their preference, doesn't equate to rejecting that person.  Certainly common sense tells us we don't have to see everything all the same, and to disagree isn't one and the same as hatred or rejection.

In fact, we are being sold a lie -- if we reject the person's preferences, we reject the person.  Similarly, if we reject another's lifestyle, we have supposedly committed evil acts of racism, bigotry, and discrimination.  The false claim of some people is that rejecting the choices other people make is the full equivalent of breaking their civil rights for the people you disagree with.  That's insanity!

For a free-market of ideas to thrive, there has to be an exchange of contrary and opposing ideas.  For our own intellectual growth to flourish, we have to express ourselves when we disagree.  But currently, to hold to certain morals and political stances results in being bullied into silence, or being labeled with a shame-laden derogatory "ism" meant to stifle your voice.

It is impossible for all of the contradictory views to all be right.  Yet, no one is allowed to speak up and say someone else's ideas are wrong anymore.  That's crazy.  This cultural censorship is slowly choking out clear thinking.

The suppression of opinions that are different from the latest fad or the hippest marginalized group is the path to stifle the freedom of expression.   To say any particular group or ideology is misguided or wrong will be hate-speech, punishable by fines or lawsuits.  To ensure that no one is ever offended is to prevent the personal growth of any society, and, it will eliminate the ability to have a healthy exchange of ideas.  This all sounds like the subplot of a dystopian narrative where the fascist leaders enact a totalitarian regime to suppress the masses...  and their new uniform is fashioned from the "Emperor's new clothes," but who will speak up about the wardrobe?

Squelching dialogue is the least wise move our culture can make.  Dialogue means we speak up, we share ideas that are dissimilar, and we all learn from the process.  Instead, we remain enslaved by feeling embarrassed to speak up, because if we do speak up we are labeled as hatemongers or dogmatic anti-intellectuals who are just plain cruel.  We are afraid to speak out against the things we once saw as embarrassing.  We are devolving into invertebrates.  

To claim all ideas are equally valid means that none of the ideas being presented are wrong, which means we've reached perfection in our understanding of reality.  I personally see a lot of room for improvement from humanity.  For diversity to exist and be profitable to our personal development, means we have to speak up, debate, disagree, and state our opinions.

We can include everyone and accept everyone based on the common-ground we share and through authentic tolerance and respect, but if we silence people through intimidation and coercion simply because they disagree with the lifestyle choices of the furthest fringes of our society, then our civilization is no longer civilized, it is just part of the animal kingdom and nothing is off limits...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Are we setting ourselves up for violence as Transgender & traditional culture clashes:


I have yet to meet anyone who claims to be disgusted by Bruce Jenner's transformation (pictured above) who doesn't enjoy music by Elton John (Gay), Freddie Mercury (Bi) or David Bowie (Trans). Ironic or hypocritical?

What muddies the water even further are the many heterosexuals who judge the LGBT community, yet have extramarital-affairs or are addicted to pornography. My Judaeo-Christian values indicate there's no distinction in sexual sins, whatever way you define them.

Recent news reveals Bruce Springsteen, Paypal, Michel Moore, and others are taking a stance over recent laws which have not favored the choices of transgender individuals, laws dealing with discrimination, and these celebrities and corporations are basically boycotting certain States to show their allegiance with the LGBT community.

Some parts of the laws being debated are controversial, since these laws would allow a physiological male to use a women's restroom or locker room if that supposed male-embodied-individual wanted to identify as a female. Again, is it ironic or hypocritical on their part as corporations or entertainers to boycott those states they disagree with?

This whole subject raises all kinds of questions for me. Since the most recent and available data suggests that only around .03% of the population identifies as transgender, and only around 4% claim to be homosexual or bisexual -- how has this issue drawn so much attention to itself? Also, why has this transgender issue become so polarizing? And why is it so politicized today?

I'm left asking myself, are we setting ourselves up for a violent resolution to this whole subject?

If you doubt we resort to violence whenever we can't negotiate a peaceful resolution to a problem as a culture, then maybe you've forgotten we have four branches of our military to reinforce peace at the international level. Where do I see violence playing out in this situation? Parents protecting their children in public restrooms, for starters.

I know most people prefer to stay on the sidelines with this subject for fear of being labeled as intolerant. It's not my position to judge people who truly identify as transgender. Are transgender people nice, demented, perverted, confused, sincere, fearful, dangerous? That's not up to me to worry about.

While I disagree with the LGBT lifestyle based on my spiritual beliefs, I will say confidently, there's more to a person than their sexual identity, and, there will be some people who will abuse the supposed discrimination laws to prey on people of the opposite sex. And, while I disagree with the LGBT lifestyle, it's not my place to dictate to others how they live their life. And this is the crux of the matter, trying to enforce one's values on others vs. accepting people where they are while hoping for the best.

If you doubt these nondiscrimination laws will lead to abuse, think again.  Common sense tells us pedophiles and the such will use this new set of nondiscrimination laws to enter the restrooms of the opposite sex under the guise of being transgender for inappropriate reasons.  We've already seen news stories indicating this much is true.

Since many people don't know how be tolerant without feeling like they are endorsing a lifestyle they disagree with, many people will remain frustrated, frightened, and angry. It really comes down to respect and consistency. I think there are valid reasons to see how people make life choices regarding their sexuality based on how they were nurtured and not based on genetics. And I do think the direction our culture is heading is unhealthy. 

Still, I know it's not Christ-like to hate, judge, or abuse anyone that I disagree with or disapprove of.  I hope that the self-righteousness of the many doesn't sabotage the delivery of the Christian message to the few, or blind the world to the reality of Jesus.  

However we move forward, may we do so in love and in the spirit of Jesus without trying to intimidate anyone.  May we learn to accept the people we disagree with, and may our actions speak clearly, so clearly people will know who we are trying imitate.

“13 Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him. 15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) 16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?” 17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Mark 2:13-17 New Living Translation)