“There’s battle lines being drawn, nobody’s right if everyone’s wrong.”
– Buffalo Springfield
What appeals to Christian spiritualists is not what appeals to those who understand the life they live and the world around them in the most present and innate terms. Someone who spends their day thinking about the complexities of the Spirit of G-d making manifest in them the fruits of the spirit is not someone who would easily communicate that idea to someone who spends their day thinking about current events in the light of all the world’s chaos. The problem doesn’t lie in their beliefs or lack thereof, but instead, it resides in the absence of understanding and too many existing prejudices of “the other side” to see the context in which the other thinks and exists. Oftentimes, remaining in a state of disconnect results in judging others by disposition instead of seeing them as an individual in a unique and unknown context. This manner of thinking, which characterizes much of western culture, leads to a lack in sympathy and empathy, and an even more dramatic increase in apathy and tension. This pattern is dangerous, and all the great minds in history knew the people divided is a people conquered. So, why is it in a day and age so advanced as ours, we still resort to petty schoolyard mindsets of the ever-present “us” and “them”?
The darkness of the human spirit, and more directly, the American spirit, lies in that we have no qualms in destroying what is unfamiliar to us or that which makes us spiritually uncomfortable. I think we secretly abhor the idea of tolerance, believing that ideas are infectious and that no one need even know about an idea or a belief system that is not central to our own. I see this a lot, not only throughout religious groups, but inside atheist households as well. The key to unity and harmony is simple, so simple, in fact, Paul McCartney had a good handle on it – live and let live. But in order to really ALLOW all people and all beliefs to coexist with each other, we need to understand the individual. We can’t mass market and we can’t mass judge, either. From the religious bigot to the spiritual hippie, there is context there. We need to see people as more than just ideas that we do or don’t find common ground with; We need to see the person behind the ideas. At such a point of outward growth in society, we need to balance that with an inward growth by recognizing that hate and contention is childish, and we need to begin loving one another to allow enough room for everyone to be different. When we don’t, we set ourselves up for another holocaust. So, please, I beg of you, don’t disarm yourselves of love and acceptance – They are our ultimate offense and the strongest defense to allowing history to repeat itself.