In my previous post, my point was that we can gain from dialogue with those who disagree with us. We can challenge our assumptions, see how well they hold up to scrutiny, try seeing things from a different light or viewpoint, see if anyone else’s viewpoint can honestly add to our own. These are all very positive things because the more we experience and know the more we can ask God to reveal the truth to us, to make new connections, to fully experience life.
But there are also some negative facets to interfaith Dialogue, which Philip so aptly hinted at. Here are some of the “bad” intentions I’ve thought of as I’ve examined the interactions of myself and others in these many debates.
“Convincing someone else that your belief is right, and theirs is incorrect.” I think everyone I’ve interacted with online, including myself has been guilty of this.
“Convincing a third party of the beliefs of your second party, especially when your view is incorrect.” The person most guilty of this has got to be the false-named “I love Mormons” site run by Jessica and assisted by NChristine and Jessica’s friend Stephanie. This is followed up closely by Tim at LDSTalk. Jack has been fairly even keeled about this all, except when it comes to gender-equality, but we all have our pet doctrines.
We may want to correct the false things said about our own faith by those against us, or even those who claim to be with us. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with correcting the false things that others say about your religion.
The final reason I wank to discuss about interfaith dialogue, is when we feel we have something to prove. I know this from personal experience, that when we truly believe or know something, we teach and prove it in a far more balanced manner than when we simply wish to believe, hope to believe, yet truly don’t believe or know. Probably the most tangible experience for me was discussing the cultural attitudes towards women with a very enlightened, emancipated woman. She was set on going to law school and proving that she was every bit as good as any man. In my head, I distinctly remember thinking, “I probably think she’s more capable than she does herself, because I don’t need her to prove it to me, but she feels like she not only has to prove it to herself, but to everyone she meets.” It’s like the expression of a need of a approval instead of relying on her own self-confidence betrays her lack of self confidence. I think this also has bearing for interfaith dialogue.
Those who truly believe in their own “religious beliefs” behave much differently than those who are trying to convince themselves. Theirs a peace, a certainty, a confidence that makes down-cutting, irreverent, invasive, rude, condescending comments superfluous and offensive to the spirit of the true God. Thru many of these interactions, we can often sense whether or not those we converse with are being inspired by their own fallen intelligence, the spirit of God, or some other spirit. Over the last several months I received a clarity in being able to sense the difference in those I interact with. And therefore, having found that I find no uplifting conversation from anyone at Jessica’s blog, and fewer at Tim’s, I had decided to withdraw my interactions. I had begun interfaith blogging to defend my religion from many of Jessica’s false statements about Mormonism. I now have the confidence to KNOW that I don’t need to do that. Those who truly seek after the truth are intelligent enough to see the back-handed, dishonest, dis-ingenuous and comments, and if they aren’t, they really deserve what they get, and those who spread lies like Jessica, Darrel, Gloria, and their ilk will continue to associate with the same dishonest,
low-brow, and foolish individuals. That’s their choice.
It’s not God who’s dead, Nietze, it’s the false followers of him who are spiritually dead, and fight instead of dialogue.