Thursday, May 6, 2010

confession 1: my complicity in the collective cruelty of humanity

Often the collective cruelty of humanity is emphasized; however, change must occur at the level of the individual.

In order for individual change to occur, individual wrongs must be recognized.

One of my ideals is to never criticize/judge/make fun of individuals. However, sadly, I sometimes have gone along with negative comments my friends have made. I never say anything mean in front of the “targeted” individuals, but I have laughed at negative comments my friends have made when the individuals were not present. I'm ashamed to admit this, but it's the truth. :(

Probably the greatest motivation for this cruelty on my part is the pressure to conform. It's very popular to criticize people (though I don't understand why).

However, when I conform in the face of this relatively “minor” evil, I increase the collective cruelty of humanity.

I definitely have made an effort recently not to respond in a reinforcing way to people's criticism of others. I sincerely hope my reality regarding this issue (and others) will continue to become more compatible with my ideals.

I'm sorry for my failure to live up to an ideal that I truly value.


  1. The first comment on YouTube was this:

    "Sorry, but you don't get to decide who is and who isn't a "real" christian. The crusaders and everyone else mentioned were following the scriptures, probably more closely than you do yourself. Read you "holy" book. You might be shocked at what's in there."

    I agree.
    I also agree with others that this guy is doing a fantastic job and his ideals are admirable. But Christianity comes with heaven and hell, saved and damned -- there ain't no way around that. The ugly lie has ugly consequences and thus history.

  2. Sabio, I realize that Christianity has history; however, as much as I loathe the evil done in the name of Christianity (and other religions), I don't find the reality of this evil to be a compelling argument against Christianity (or religion in general). Regardless of what ideology individuals embrace, they will utilize that ideology to justify their actions (whether malevolent or benevolent). Atheism is not without history.

    It's reductionism at its worst to look at the crusades and other crimes committed under the flag of christendom and claim religion is to blame for these evils. Sorry, but the world is more complex than that. Evil exists independently of religion and the validity of the claims of Christianity is not determined by past evils masquerading as Christianity.

  3. @ Nathan

    I agree, wrong doing my any believers of an ideology do not NECESSARILY defeat the ideology, Christian, Marxist or Shinto.

    Do you feel that the ideology of Taliban Islam leads to violence?
    Can some ideologies lead to more violence that others.
    Ideas do matter, no?

    I contend that the Christianities (there are many) which say only those who believe go to heaven are perverse and lead to more violence than those who don't (i.e. Universalist or Pluralist Christians). Thus, it is that soteriological ideology I criticize.

    Perhaps we disagree. But I wanted to be clear so that we know on what we disagree.

  4. Sabio,

    Yes, I do agree that ideologies matter.

    However, a religion or belief system should not be judged based on ideologies associated with that religion/belief system that are, in reality, perversions of it. The majority of Muslims would say the radical actions of the Taliban are not representative of the actual teachings of Islam. We can only judge a religion by its actual teachings not the teachings of radical offshoots. The core teachings of Christianity do not permit violence, so those that promote violence in the name of Christianity are not correctly following the religion. If the teachings of Christianity did promote violence, then it would be appropriate to question the validity of Christianity based on the violent actions of "christians" in the past. However, since that is not the case, an evil outside of religion is responsible for those actions.