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Fellowship across ideological divides

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Fellowship across ideological divides

Postby jimhabegger » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:38 am

(edited to add this note)
I might not have been in my right mind when I posted this, considering what controversies it might possibly stir up. All I was thinking about was sharing something that was on my mind. Anyone who sees more wisdom in ignoring this, rather than responding to it, might be right, in fact you might be doing me a favor. It wouldn't hurt my feelings at all for this to just be ignored.

On the other hand, if anyone would like to take issue with anything I've said, you're welcome to send me a PM.

I'm not saying this to deter anyone from responding here, who wants to. I'm just saying that no one needs to worry about my feelings if this thread is ignored.
(end edit)

In the thread "Behind the user name," some people mentioned their political preferences, and that brought to my mind one of my most passionate interests on the Internet for more than ten years: practicing and promoting fellowship across ideological divides.

It started when I saw someone I met on the Internet talking about how gays were being stigmatized. I think before that I really had no awareness of political and propaganda campaigns revolving around gays. One of my biggest passions in life is learning to walk and work with stigmatized and marginalized people, so I started looking into that, and I found some forums where some gay activists and and some change ministry leaders were trying to learn to dialogue with each other respectfully. I spent many hours there, practicing fellowship with people in both camps.

For some time I was also reading posts in a gay Baha'i forum, and I saw a post saying that the whole problem with the Baha'i Faith is what Baha'is believe about the infallibility of its supreme council. The author of the post invited people to a discussion list for some people who were trying to liberate the Baha'i Faith from some beliefs that they saw as detrimental to its purposes. What the author of the post was promoting looked diametrically opposed to my interests, and very alarming to me, so I immediately decided to spend time with those people, trying to see things their way, and to see the good in what they were doing. That's what I do when I see people promoting ideas and interests that seem contrary to mine.

Since my life revolves around interests that I express in theistic terms, I've also spent a lot of time practicing fellowship with atheists in some atheist forums and blogs.

Sometimes I've suspended my online initiatives for a few weeks or months, because they were consuming me too much and taking too much time away from the rest of my life. A few months ago I suspended them indefinitely.
Last edited by jimhabegger on Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fellowship across ideological divides

Postby Rivean » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:13 pm

I have a few thoughts on this, but I expect they'll keep till morning. Will get back to you.
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Re: Fellowship across ideological divides

Postby BoogtehWoog » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:27 pm

I don't really have much to add except to say I hope everyone gets along. Long live SOI! 8-)
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Re: Fellowship across ideological divides

Postby Rivean » Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:02 am

I had a long winded post planned out for this, but I can't seem to find the energy for it, so I'll restrain myself to this:

I'm an atheist in a 99.9% muslim majority country. I have seen first hand what religious totalitarianism is like. I have seen what it's like to live in a society that absolutely abhors modern liberalism, where religion is never challenged, where feminism is a tiny seed just now beginning to take root, and god help you if your sexual orientation is anything but straight.

So - discrimination and oppression for me are not theoretical, I have lived with these things all of my life. And I've kept my mouth shut for most of it because, and I say this without the slightest exaggeration, it's remotely possible someone might actually kill me for my views.

But here's the take away: I've been FORCED, throughout my life, to live with, to work with, to deal with people whose political and ideological views are so vastly different from my own that in a freer society, we might never cross paths.

And I've learned that people are people. It's very easy to vilify those you disagree with. It's very easy to demonize the other side. But it doesn't help and it's not actually accurate. Something things I've learned:

a) A person's beliefs are NOT indicative of their intellect. There are frightfully stupid and frightfully intelligent people on every side of almost every debate. (That is not to mean that I think that all sides are equal - only that one cannot judge someone based purely on their beliefs)

b) On every side of every fence, you'll find people good, bad, gentle, cruel, the whole gamut. And so, finally;

c) At the end of the day, it's about people, and not their beliefs. Don't write anyone off till you know them. And don't close the door on someone just because you disagree with their views on life.
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Re: Fellowship across ideological divides

Postby jimhabegger » Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:30 am

Rivean, thank you! I agree with all of that.
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Re: Fellowship across ideological divides

Postby EltanimRas » Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:34 am

Rivean wrote:I'm an atheist in a 99.9% muslim majority country.

Wikipedia estimates that figure at around 98%. Or 95% if you let the Pakistani gov't define 'Muslim'. :roll:

For Sindh, it's about 92%.
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Re: Fellowship across ideological divides

Postby Holmes » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:48 am

EltanimRas wrote:
Rivean wrote:I'm an atheist in a 99.9% muslim majority country.

Wikipedia estimates that figure at around 98%. Or 95% if you let the Pakistani gov't define 'Muslim'. :roll:

For Sindh, it's about 92%.


You guys are so cute. (sorry for the contentless post Jim)
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