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back in the southerly wind

March 8, 2012

I feel the frustration of each side. In a land without wars of death over matters of the heart and mind, I don’t know if persons of either persuasion can truly feel the helplessness and fear of the other. Most of us are simply hellbent on living to the best of our ability, while the underhanded tug of war between those in seats of power sends quakes through the core of anyone with a stake in the game. I do feel that the majority of people from any walk of life are content to simply lead their own lives so long as things they hold dear are not threatened. But it is hard to live in this one world together sometimes. Although the overlying mantra is live and let live or perhaps more aptly prosper and be damned to ye, when there are such different belief systems in place within the same living space there will always be difficulties to be overcome or overwhelmed by and differences to be surmounted or to despair of. We none of us are capable of understanding how the other group(s) can believe what they believe when we feel so strongly that they are deliberately closing their eyes to the glorious light of truth. We get so fired up in our sundry circle shaped discussions because, I think, we truly want to connect and feel that current of mutual respect and understanding run between us. Humans are always looking for common ground and I think it enrages us more deeply than most things when we make an earnest and intelligent effort at it and are repulsed by more of the same spoonful we didn’t like the taste of last time. I feel like theists and atheists of all demographics fail most consistently at finding a middle ground. This is not to say that I personally do not fail at this every single time I take on a fundamentalist. I do, and it is one of the most disappointing, confusing, frustrating and pointless types of failure I am capable of. After hours or days of sincere, wide eyed attempts at self disclosure and hope for a stray concept or logical cornerstone to catch on from the other person(s), I am inevitably dropped by some senseless bit of cruelty or stubbornness that brings tears of instant anger and outraged justice to my eyes, and at that moment I acknowledge defeat. ‘Never the twain shall meet’ sounds through my head for the millionth time and I bow out of the conversation with a subdued ‘thanks for all the fish’ and ‘sorry about the mess.’

But I do still believe that we could all try harder. That we hold to and fight for such radically different systems of living and dying still by no means obscures our common humanity. I know that we are all brothers of the same mother, if not all daughters of the same deity. I know that the blood that propels some of us to church on Sunday is the same blood that boils within others of us as we march to protest the values those same churches would impose upon us against our will. I just feel that if we could sit face to face and really hold each others’ hands within both of our own, gently, purposefully, and look into each others’ eyes carefully, patiently, as we discussed these matters of the heart and mind and soul, the outcome could not help but be different than it is when we none of us have anything but a computer screen to touch and see and relate to. If we could start these conversations with ‘I know we’re scared, the both of us, because each of us wants a thing and loves a thing and believes a thing and would bleed for a thing, and we don’t see how the other can possibly help us keep that safe when it goes against the thing they hold within their own heart,’ I feel like we might make some more headway. Like, has anyone ever really thought about how to protect the rights of the other mindset? Has any fundamentalist decided that that particular bone of gods bone and flesh of his flesh over there needs some help in procuring her contraceptives so as to avoid her hellbound abortion? Has any atheist ever really wondered if that church over there could use a helping hand with its biblebanging soup kitchen?

I am absolutely certain of course that some and hopefully many from some or the other camp has crossed the lines of distrust and put their shoulder to a wheel they may not feel the need to push, simply because they can see the glow of improvement it casts across the face of another human being. I just wish there were more of them. And I wish they would do it more often, and I wish they would talk about it, so that others might take heed and take heart. It is a scary world when one is at enmity with one’s fellow man. Sometimes I wish there were aliens, just so we could all realize how little our philosophies matter to one another when we’re standing together against a common enemy. I wish it didn’t take a common enemy. I hereby resolve to believe that it doesn’t. Although I will admit that I have no idea what that looks like.

I am

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