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  1. #11
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    How do you deal or cope with people who have a different belief system?
    I'm in much agreement with cascademn's point of view. You can believe in something that is completely different than what I do... or in the extreme case, the opposite of what I believe in. Crazy scientology if you wish. I will try my darn hardest to accept that as a part of you. I might discuss/debate with you about why you believe in such, but I will not going around saying you are wrong and try to force my believes on you (even if I have valid proofs of why I disagree with what you're saying). All I'll say is "I cannot accept your system of believes because of x,y,z." In my mind, people have the freedom to believe in anything they want. What they do not have the right to do, imho, is to blindly push their ideas onto others. The recipient should always have the right to reject the believes and not suffer severe consequences... problematic discrimination based on their decision. I know some things are difficult to override unconsciously. For example I will naturally associate a person that believed in scientology as a little wacko, but I'll still try to interact with him/her like the way I interact with others. I wouldn't exclude the person from group activities that I think the person would enjoy.

    Stuff like eating habits, particular prays, rites they have to follow... if I can work around it I will accommodate.

    Quote Originally Posted by PTG
    On the other hand, going to eat with Muslims, Vegetarians and Hindus... at the same time... is quite a thought excersize. Especially with personal choice included (No mushrooms, no lamb, no fish, no pork, no beef). Feels like a travelling salesman problem every time.
    Oh that's an interesting scenario... has that happened to you? I would just skip the eating together part. Have outing... when it comes to meal times, break off individually/in small groups to have whatever you want, then meet back at a specific time and place. A lot easier to handle... plus it's nice for people of the specific religion to have their little private talks. Makes things run a little smoother afterwards. ^^

    Sadly, I generally want to argue with them and make them understand my point of view. Would you say that is just a human trait or a lack of maturity?
    It's a human trait to want to clarify your point... it's also an innate trait to view self as more accurate. Afterall how can you not? You're always aware of your thoughts and feelings about things... whereas for others... you can only go by what you observe them do. I think maturity comes in realizing we have self-biasing tendencies and work at overriding them.

    Regardless, it is easy to say that you are tolerant of other people's beliefs, but how tolerant are you when somebody is trying to impose their religious/political beliefs or view of the world on your life? It seems that this is the core of most conflicts in the world. Different people value different rights, and when those rights contradict with each other, there are fireworks.
    I have very little tolerance for people like that. I've stated it above... I'll say it again. You have no right to force anything onto anybody. Even if you think it's a gift. If they say no, you stop. If they tried to argue with me... well they really shouldn't. With every religion, believe what have you, there are sticking points. You push... I poke at those. Push me hard enough, I'll attempt to tear the whole thing down on you. Friendly debates on various issues relating to the holes though, I quite welcome. ^^

    Of course the more relative in your beliefs that you become, the more frustrating it becomes to listen to those who believe in absolutes. And I imagine it is equally as frustrating for those who believe in absolutes to discuss things with those who believe that life is relative to experience and culture.
    *nods* Relative can be encompassing. I like to think of it as all being inter-related in a giant web of believes. While you might not agree with what they're saying... you can still listen and learn about their absolutes and see for yourself how they see the world and therefore fill in more gaps in that web.

    Of course, the relative perspective is often the most logical because we do develop our beliefs systems based on our family, community, religion, etc. However, logic isn't perfect, and it would also seem wise to strive for ideals based on absolute beliefs. Would you say your views are more relative or absolute?
    What is relative and what is absolute? I think I'm more in the relative camp, but when you look into most religions or culture... you'll see repeating themes over and over. Does that point to absolutes?

    It also seems our beliefs systems are terribly confounded by the past, present, and future. We wish to maintain what has worked, but we also want to find solutions for problems that we are currently facing, and on top of that we still want to strive forward. Where should our focus be in addressing our beliefs systems and the belief systems of others? Should we be aiming for tradition, compromise, or progress?
    It depends on what you value... and it depends on what your goals might be. I see it as that you need the past to define the present, then using trends you observed in the present can you adapt for the future. It's simply a shifting balance. For only in stability can you maintain productive change.

    It seems that a good share of people just blindly follow their beliefs. Is that wise?
    If you phrased it that way... it would seem unwise doesn't it? But if the environment stays consistent... there's no need to waste time and effort thinking about those things. However if the environment changes... well you know the rest.

    Wouldn't it be to everyone's advantage to understand why you believe what you believe? Or is there some benefit to being ignorant of your own belief system?
    Can you fully understand why you believe what you believe? Some people dig too far and started questioning themselves... Ignorance is in some ways bliss. But it's also dull... (well I find it anyways) and not helpful in adapting to changes. Win some, lose some... same as for anything else really.

    How many of our beliefs have no basis other than what has been dictated by our respected religions or been passed down by our parents?
    All beliefs has basis of origin... otherwise people wouldn't have wasted time in creating/writing them down. Though they might be completely useless now because conditions have changed.

    I've been told by my friend last week that there's a passage in the bible that says you can't consume fresh blood, as in all meats must be fully cooked. Back in the olden days that rule probably kept people from getting sick... but I don't think many people follow that one anymore... not when you have refrigeration to keep meat fresh...

    How should beliefs be passed on to children? Should they be indoctrinated or allowed to choose what they believe for themselves?
    I'll go with free choice... teach them about the believes, but in the end it's up to them to decide what they want.

    Quote Originally Posted by cascademn View Post
    Hehe...found it. I wrote this awhile ago: Parents attempt to instill their ethics in their children - ethics being the key word. And I would venture to say that, for the most part, the children end up having similar, or the same, ethics. Now I stress the word ethics because I'm keeping it distinct from beliefs. By ethics I mean very fundamental traits, such as honesty, justice, compassion, forgiveness, the golden rule, etc. (or the lack of these traits). Children, I think, observe and eventually imitate and follow the ethics of their parents or of very important figures (role models) around them. And perhaps in some cases, individuals may "overcome" any parental lack of ethics and start afresh, but even then I wouldn't think they could know of something different unless they interacted with someone different.
    Believes vs ethics... two different things yet much related. I like the way you defined them. It's funny how I agree with drilling ethics into children, yet not for believes. Ethics is kind of like the backbone for beliefs... the common themes behind most religion and beliefs. I think I referred to them as "principles" to myself.

    It is my contention that beliefs do not make a good or bad person, it is ethics. Now, this does not mean that certain beliefs are not inherantly bad...because there are beliefs that are inherantly bad, but when you get to the root of the belief it is bad because of the ethics behind the belief....
    I'm in full agreement with you there. As to the rest of it... I think I overloaded my brain... I might respond more later... chances are probably not because I'm lazy. But you've brought up some very nice topics for discussion.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    By definition, nobody can really comment with any degree of certainty on the supernatural, so why try?

    Believe what you want and keep it to yourself, or at least don't try and pretend you have a figment of real proof either way, because when it all boils down to it, you don't.


    Maybe some people (not necessarily anyone here!) needs to admit that they really only like to "discuss" this because they like to argue and they really think that at some point they will be able to prove that they're right. There isn't any cheese at the end of that maze, though, which is why it's still being "discussed" for hundreds of years.

  3. #13
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Oh that's an interesting scenario... has that happened to you? I would just skip the eating together part. Have outing... when it comes to meal times, break off individually/in small groups to have whatever you want, then meet back at a specific time and place. A lot easier to handle... plus it's nice for people of the specific religion to have their little private talks. Makes things run a little smoother afterwards. ^^
    Allthefrickingtime. Some version of that happens just about every single time I get together with any group of my friends. When I say I have the most diverse group of friends possible, I pretty much mean it in a near literal sense. My dinner parties range from vegetarians and carnivores together (also a pain in the ass to cook for, BTW) to priests-in-training and die-hard militant athiests together, although the muslim and roman catholics are probably the least interesting to talk about. I have such a huge spectrum of nationalities that I can go from feeling like the token white guy to a complete european get-together.

    It's why I love vancouver

  4. #14
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    I'm quite tolerant of people beleiving whatever they want AS LONG AS THEY UNDERSTAND WHY THEY THINK THAT WAY!

    Sorry for the mini-rant in there that's just an issue that never ceases to annoy me!
    That's super attitude! I just loathe people who try to appear "open-minded", but just end the conversation to first question about their beliefs... "because everyone can believe anything they want" Du'h, what's the point of being open about a belief you can't discuss?
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  5. #15
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    How do you deal or cope with people who have a different belief system?
    I try to imagine a systematic fusion of our belief systems, which makes a new synthesis in essence.. The agreement on how to express our ideas to each other gives new tools to assess both our beliefs, and so it's a beneficial exercise.

    But I must be realistic and say, that I don't try to agree on everything. If I encounter a superior belief system, I take note of it.. usually it is made possible by greater personal possibilities.. like such employment, that you can be charitable, knowledgeable and all-around good person in more ways than I.

    If someone presses some extremist point, like that free time should be eradicated and all people should just work, I just point out practical inconsistencies between the belief and the real world.

    If someone expresses an inferior belief system, I'll try to learn how I may help them. Later I may try to point out what they're missing by their ideology. I'll try to interview them and to assess the reasons for their world view. Many people have told me that I've been the one person in their life who has made them learn most about thinking and the philosophy of life, so my style might not be all bad.

    Most of the belief systems I encounter are individually justifiable, and they are mostly not overly offensive to anyone else. We need a whole lot of different people to make our societies work and make our lives interesting. Even a bit flawed philosophies work quite well in practice, as the society has adapted to expect lot of flaws in everything we do.

    edit: I wrote about personality-originated individual belief systems, not any explicitly learned and taught belief systems.
    Last edited by UnitOfPopulation; 01-04-2008 at 03:16 AM.
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  6. #16
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    My first thought when I encounter someone with radically different views to mine, if it's not something I've already encountered before, is to feel intrigued and curious. I put all my own values and thoughts on hold (since I never have any fixed ones anyway, as everything I think is generally a work in progress), and try to question and quiz them to learn as much about it as possible.

    I often become completely absorbed and fascinated by it, and spend days thinking about it and researching it and figuring out how it can relate to or be reconciled with other systems, and quite often find that it's the same thing as something I already know or believe, but expressed or manifested in a different way.

    But I almost always end up adopting or incorporating the best parts into my own belief system.

    People who think they're always right, and who want to argue me around to their POV, I tend not to waste time talking to and am very unlikely to open up to them. If someone wants to learn about my beliefs then I'm always happy to share, but only if it's out of genuine curiosity and they're open minded, considering the validities etc, as opposed to just pre-decided that I'm wrong and just looking for ways to argue me down. If they just listen as I share, and they just share back, I'm far more likely to adapt/adopt some of their views after personal consideration, than if they get belligerent about it.

    To illustrate how far-reaching this is in my life, though I consider myself every inch a Catholic, I'm not a Roman Catholic; I use many practices and principles from Hinduism in my worship; I use the Islamic prayer routine (with all original Arabic words, postures and gestures) occasionally, and many hundreds of ancient stories from pagan Europe, Africa and Asia have formed, informed and influenced my personal worldview and exegesis of my Christian faith. I see absolutely no conflict in any of my practice or beliefs, and people who think they do see conflict, if they listen with an open mind, often change their minds.

    I reject nothing outright, I adopt nothing fixedly; I search for Truth, and I do not believe anyone can own the truth, and no one sect or system or person possesses the entire truth because every one of them is by nature of its use by humankind, corrupted and degraded. But I strongly feel that they all contain nuggets and grains of truth, so it's only by considering that truth and the footprints of God can be found in all of creation - in all the products of the intellect that is his image within us - and looking for it, rather than looking for ways to ignore or invalidate it, that we can ever assemble a growing picture of Truth, that becomes only greater and more accurate as it grows.

    As far as my children go, my approach is just to teach them everything I know, encourage them to find additional information however they can, to absorb and take on board anything that has a ring of truth about it, to think and decide for themselves.

    I learned from Islam: "Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things." (Surah al-baqarah 256) And I think that's a very worthy tenet for any belief system.

    To my mind, humility is the beginning of wisdom; or "true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing" - i.e. begin by acknowledging how little you know as a percentage of all that there is to know. If you begin there, then how can you be close-minded? How can you believe you have the whole truth all figured out already? How can you not consider that just around the corner there is always something new for you to learn, something that, for all you know, may force a person of integrity to reshuffle all their beliefs? Why do you have or look for beliefs? Is it a genuine search for truth, out of a desire to align yourself with truth? Or is it justification and validation for what you already are, motivated out of cowardice, fear of change or of having to expend some effort?

    A belief that one is always right shows a really bad defecit of humility. To try to destroy that which proves only what the cosmos already knows - that you know nothing - where's the logic or good in that?
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  7. #17
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    ...
    People who think they're always right, and who want to argue me around to their POV, I tend not to waste time talking to and am very unlikely to open up to them. If someone wants to learn about my beliefs then I'm always happy to share, but only if it's out of genuine curiosity and they're open minded, considering the validities etc, as opposed to just pre-decided that I'm wrong and just looking for ways to argue me down. If they just listen as I share, and they just share back, I'm far more likely to adapt/adopt some of their views after personal consideration, than if they get belligerent about it.
    ...
    That's the way I feel about it, too.


    In answer to the OP:
    Some things are worth fighting for, and some things are not.
    Perhaps maturity is having decided which is which?

    As Dale Carnegie used to say:
    "A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still."
    Arguing is not all it's cracked up to be.

  8. #18
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    I remember one Sunday afternoon, about five years ago, two boys, probably in their late teens, came to my door with pamphlets. I knew what they were there for, so I invited them in to listen to what they had to say, as I usually do. After hearing them talk about their philosophies and such, I asked them if they wouldn't mind listening to mine, not so much in a debate fashion, but just to understand where I was coming from.

    In speaking to them about other ways of thinking, and just a generally universal tolerance, it was as if they suddenly saw things differently for the first time. It wasn't really my intention to steer them away from their beliefs, but I guess in hearing me talk, they realized for the first time that you could believe in other things than what were handed down to you since birth.

    I hold a giant amount of respect for people who hold to their convictions, as long as, as was said earlier, they know WHY they feel that way. Tolerance is definitely a two way street, and just as I will accept anyone else's beliefs, I would expect the same back. I guess what we expect and what we get are seldom the same.

    /babble off

  9. #19
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    I'm quite tolerant of people beleiving whatever they want AS LONG AS THEY UNDERSTAND WHY THEY THINK THAT WAY!
    Since when did a belief system have anything to do with logic? Most people I know have told me that their belief system, or more specifically their religion is something that they FEEL in their HEARTS and the head is just compelled to believe it. Most feel that it wasn't really a choice but a gift from their creator. I guess with other belief systems that are rational it's a completely different story because there is probably some thought behind it.

    Personally, I love to hear about other's religions but I'm not really one to debate it or challenge it - to do so would be disrespectful. It's really not my place to. Just like I wouldn't challenge anyone's sexuality, marriage, major choices in life etc. The only times I tend to challenge is when someone tells me that I'm wrong for my views or give me some other judgemental crap like telling me that I'm not Saved because I'm not Born-Again Christian. If I find someone's views too radically different AND judgemental on ME then I probably wouldn't be close to them. For example, my sister is gay and has long-time partner and recently came for a stay at my house. One of my friends didn't want to come over with her kids because she didn't believe in that 'lifestyle.' Hmm...OK....I don't think I will invite you over again.... ever. Does that make ME narrow-minded? :rolli:

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