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Featured Dealing with personal bias

Discussion in 'Theological Concepts' started by AT-AT, May 15, 2019.

  1. AT-AT

    AT-AT Active Member

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    I'm trying to word this thread in a way that doesn't make me out to be an arrogant jerk. Conservative Christians have tried to convince me I literally have demons inside of me, told me that I'm going to hell, told me that the only way I'll understand their beliefs is if I read every verse of the Bible and understand it upon me asking them simple questions, and tend to demonstrate that upon being proven wrong they continue to bring up the same points.

    I have no issue with the more liberal Christians as they tend to believe in proving things through the human sciences and often have answers to my questions that don't require me to find every last meaning myself in some way by pouring over hundreds of pages.

    Anyway, it seems unfair for me to think unkindly of conservative Christians. If I want them to understand me and take the trouble, I had better work pretty hard at understanding them.

    What steps should I take to not be a narrow minded jerk about the subject? And to live up to my own bar I set for myself that I won't treat others the way a few, not a whole entire group, treated me?
     
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  2. Rival

    Rival Noachide Counter-Revolutionary
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    Be honest with yourself and accept that you don't like them, that you find them unconvincing and that's alright.
     
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  3. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Gotta ask yourself why you're bothering to care what they think. Not everyone's thoughts are worth listening to, and if you decide this is one of those cases, you cease to think about them and go on with your life.

    .
     
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  4. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I will add that one doesn't have to actively dislike others in order to reject their opinions and ignore them.
     
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  5. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    My approach to these things involves the recognition of a few different factors.

    One, that the root of all religion and human experience in general is the value systems we were taught by our surroundings. If I want to understand another culture - it doesn't matter what that culture is or if it is labeled as religion or not - I need to uncover what that value system is. What is important to these people? Where do they find deep meaning? Where do they see sacredness?

    Two, that value systems are a subjective or cultural affair. Put another way, they are maps of the territory or ways in which people approach and reconcile with reality (however they define it). It is very possible to learn to set aside your own map of the territory to navigate with someone else's for a while. To do this you have to know yourself and your worldview well. Paradigm shifting takes time and practice.

    Three, that knowledge and truth are always provisional and never certain. Or to borrow the earlier metaphor, the map IS NOT the territory. The stories we tell about how things are... are not how things are. Being humble and comfortable with uncertainty as well as paradox or direct contradictions is useful and important. Different maps of the territory can and will conflict. Let go of the need for one map to be the "correct" one and instead understand each map as "correct" for what it needs to do (that is, articulate that culture's values which need not be shared by you).
     
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  6. KenS

    KenS Well-Known Member

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    On behalf of Christians, as a pastor, I humbly ask for your forgiveness for painting such a horrible picture.

    No, you don't have to read every verse in the bible to ask questions, ANY question (if the purpose if for understanding) are good questions. Pharisees asked bad questions because they really weren't wanting to understand or believe, the disciples asked questions and Jesus didn't have problems with it.

    No problem and thank you.

    I'm not sure where you are narrow minded. If, as we dialogue, I think it was a narrow minded position I will state my case. I myself could be the narrow minded person in a discussion. I'm sure you will have no problem telling me the same. :)
     
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  7. Left Coast

    Left Coast Member
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    I admire your effort to be open-minded toward people who you don't agree with. One recommendation is to firstly not stereotype. Don't assume that all people who fit under the umbrella of "conservative Christianity" think alike or even believe precisely the same things. Sometimes people will surprise you.

    That said, also do your best to objectively educate yourself on critical thinking skills and how to identify fallacious reasoning. That will enable you to objectively see through bad arguments even if you don't know as much about a certain area of study.

    Lastly, if you've given their perspective a fair shake but honestly recognize their view is factually wrong, or irrational, or unfalsifiable, don't feel guilty for simply recognizing that. Doubt is a perfectly open-minded response to such views.
     
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  8. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Don't let other folks set that bar for you. If it's your bar, make sure it's your bar and not something based on someone's else's expectation of what your bar should be.

    Not everyone is going to like you, accept you or accept your views. I think one has to learn to live with that.

    If people won't accept you for who you are, then who is it that they are really accepting?
     
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  9. Enoch07

    Enoch07 It's all a sick freaking joke.
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    The best way in my opinion is to treat people as individuals on a case by case basis. Try to stay away from generalizations, within you own head. As a Christian I expect some animosity intially from newly introduced LGBT acquaintances, because of the same issues and prejudices you've faced. So I try to weather a bit of criticism until they realize I'm not trying to thump in the head or doom them to hell. Then if we have stuff in common we become friends, and if not then we part ways amicably. That's my opinion anyways.
     
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  10. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Absolutely correct. It's the thought one is rejecting, not the person.

    .
     
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  11. Marcion

    Marcion Active Member

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    I have a similar struggle how to relate to conservative (and most other) Christians. If I oppose their ideology from an instinctive revulsive impulse I feel I am not living up to my own standards of proper thinking and acting.

    I know that there will always be good and bad in human society and that this is a part of how this universe was created and must necessarily function. So my relation to dogmatic and narrow-minded aspects of religion are a part of how I interact with evil in general.

    Evil is a complex thing because it comes so naturally to people of a more primitive bent who are closer to nature, so how can I or why should I feel dislike for something that is part of the natural world which I love so dearly?
    The only solution I see presently, is that I continuously try expand my unconditional love for everything (or God), no matter how ugly or repulsive they may seem to me initially. I should learn more and more to see Him in everything without judging or condemning (parts of His cosmic game) instinctively.
     
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  12. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    A very integral-minded post. I like how you worded this. Just to highlight this one point, being able to do this is also a sign of a maturing ego. The standard mode for our egos is to defend our points of view because we identify our values around that perspective. We hold it to be true, we are good people, therefore it's right. It takes a certain letting go of our investments in our own beliefs, relaxing about them a little, and listening to others and trying to see through their eyes. It's actually a developmental stage where this happens.
     
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  13. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    It didnt take me long to realise the people threatening with me (and my chIldren) with hell for not following their god belief are the very people i didnt need to know?

    My advice for what it's worth, forget them and their narrow minded predudices and move on.
     
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  14. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Haha... alternatively it is a sign of self-depreciation. When you don't believe you personally are the be-all and end-all of value or believe that you as an individual are unimportant, you tend to stop caring about being right or defending yourself. You recognize that you're a nobody and that you don't matter. There's a fine line between this realization being humbling and grounding and it being a source of poor mental health and depression, however.
     
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  15. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    My advice would be to be simply move on to people who can inspire and appreciate you, rather than wasting your time trying to get people who have already dismissed you to change their minds. They aren't going to, and you're just going to become exhausted and frustrated by trying.

    Also, keep in mind that as weird and negative as their world view appears to you, it may be what they need, from their perspective. It may be the best 'solution' available to them in terms of actual utilization. There is no way for any of us to know what anyone else needs to believe at any given time, to survive.

    Respect the mystery of it all, and go find a climate that will nurture you.
     
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  16. David1967

    David1967 Well-Known Member
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    Step # 1 - Avoid the narrow-minded jerks on the fundamentalist side of Christianity.
     
  17. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    Again, really well stated. It's almost like that line between the Realized mystic, and schizophrenia. The difference really has to do with grounding and integration. A state of apathy, which is what you describe seems to fit, can mimic the dissolution of self at the other end of the spectrum of consciousness.

    The thing I see is one is descending into non-being, or "death", and the other is ascending or awakening into Being. If you are on that "death" side of the scale, then all grounding becomes lost beneath the feet as you dissolve into dirt, into nothing, or non-being. On the other end, you stand with both feet, body, mind, soul, and spirit connected with everything, fully Grounded.

    These are interesting thoughts to me.
     
  18. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    I have a great video for you that promises to be utterly practical (TED Talk 8:48)...


    Flip it to test it...it you think you are being biased try taking a statement that you believe is true and then reverse the context of that statement to see if it sounds funny.
     
  19. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    For me the challenge is to be able to turn to those people who are telling you you are riddled with demons and show them the depths of their bias and the rude way they are talking to you without you wanting to be rude in turn. This requires that you do what you are attempting to do here, gain an objective perspective and determine what it is they are unjustly doing that you honestly believe they are unintentionally doing. You have a common purpose with these people and they are taking a step too far. Figure out what that step is, try to identify a context in which you might also be tempted to take that step and then calmly, confidently diagnose their error so that you can defend your integrity without fundamentally dismantling their integrity even in your own mind. Also when you identify what it is they are unnecessarily doing tell them a superior alternative about how to treat a person with more respect even as they try to accomplish the good thing they are trying to do.

    It might be fun to role play this here to see what we all could come up with in this vein. Then you might be ready to respond in a way that you can be confident that you are not being unfair.
     
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  20. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Separate their behaviour from their belief.
     
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