I Love Gellies

Mormonism, Evangelicism and Chaos Theory

Interfaith Dialogue 2: The Negative Viewpoint

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.

Basically.
It’s not God who’s dead, Nietze, it’s the false followers of him who are spiritually dead, and fight instead of dialogue.

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January 23, 2010 - Posted by | Religion

9 Comments »

  1. I also enjoy talking with people of other faiths, not to prove them wrong but to test my own beliefs. One thing never fails. They assume they know what I believe based on interactions they have had with Christians in the past. Consequently, my faith has never been shaken by these dialogues but often strengthened. Are you Mormon or Evangelical?

    Comment by Teena Myers | January 23, 2010 | Reply

  2. Forgot to check notify of follow up comments

    Comment by Teena Myers | January 23, 2010 | Reply

  3. Well, looks like both of us have grown weary of the fighting. I was just working on a post this morning with similar thoughts in mind. I’ve learned a lot since entering the blogosphere.

    God Bless,

    Jessica

    Comment by Jessica | January 23, 2010 | Reply

  4. I think you’re kind of harsh here, psychochemiker. I understand your disappointment with some of the people you’re calling out, but the name-calling is rather unnecessary. You could have been a lot more gentle in explaining why their method is a turn-off to you instead of calling them “foolish” and “low-brow.” And for the record, I really don’t think Jessica, Darrell and Gloria are dishonest. I get the sense that Gloria may exaggerate how rough she had it as a Mormon sometimes, but that may not be intentional.

    I’m really not sure I understand your fourth paragraph. Are you saying my views on gender equality are incorrect? Believe it or not, I know that said subject is my “pet” doctrine, so I try to avoid bringing it up on the LDS-Evangelical blogs and limit my discussion of it to my private blog, fMh and Zelophehad’s Daughters. After my disastrously unfruitful dialogue on the issue with shematwater and faithoffathers in December of last year, I took a personal vow to no longer reply to defenders of the status quo, so I’ve been discussing it a lot less. That’s probably not enough for the people who don’t want to hear about it at all, but I do try.

    Comment by Ms. Jack Meyers | January 24, 2010 | Reply

  5. Hello Teena,
    I think testing one’s own beliefs is a good thing, as long as you aren’t testing theirs. If your purpose is to make them change, it’s no longer a dialogue or a discussion, but rather a proselytizing. And while I think proselytizing certainly has it’s place, let’s call a spade a spade.

    I’m LDS, and recently renewed in that too. This is certainly a case where some of the gellie bloggers not only “missed their chance”, but pushed me back the other way, because instead of encountering people able to express their beliefs without dishonest distortions of mine, I was able to see who was truly inspiring most of them.

    Comment by psychochemiker | January 26, 2010 | Reply

  6. Hi Jack,
    Thanks for keeping me honest. Yes that was unnecessarily harsh, and so have added some mark-out lines to illustrate I shouldn’t have said that. It certainly doesn’t keep in line with the post with the song on charity.

    WRT feminism. Does it matter if I think you’re right or not? I certainly don’t always agree with you, I’m pretty close to where Rob is (at least, in his writings on it). FWIW, I don’t think I’ve read the feminism stuff wrt shema or fof. I was merely using that as an example that you aren’t in a status of “Jack can do no wrong” to the others I think have severe limitations in their effectiveness at interfaith blogging. It was my way of saying, I don’t even think Jack is perfect at it, rather than wanting to discuss the specifics. But the very idea of lobbying or demanding change (before Mormons are acceptable) is part of the “bad” type of interfaith dialogue.

    Comment by psychochemiker | January 26, 2010 | Reply

  7. Ouch.

    This post hurts! There is nothing worse than finding out someone thinks you are the scum of the earth. I’m sorry that you’ve found me to be dishonest. I wish I knew exactly what I could do or say that could make things right. Do you mind telling me what I can do to repair things with you, PC? I feel really bad. Your comments seem fairly vague to me, “Convincing a third party of the beliefs of your second party, especially when your view is incorrect.” Is there something specific that I said that was dishonest or incorrect? Specific feedback would be appreciated.

    I would really like to make things right with you.

    Stephanie

    Comment by Stephanie | January 26, 2010 | Reply

  8. Dear PC,

    Okay, I have scoured the past six months of comments on the blog to try to see where things went so badly awry between us. I didn’t know you were feeling this way and I feel very sad that you have been so offended. I did recognize your absence on the blog in the past couple months, but when I saw your last post where you mentioned things had been better in real life lately I assumed you had just gotten busy and you did not have as much time to blog. Now I can see that you have been hurt and terribly offended by our blog and I feel very badly about this and want to apologize for offending you.

    I have really valued your feedback in the past – like when you challenged me that the presentation and tone of what I was trying to communicate matters.

    I worked hard to improve my tone and I felt that you acknowledged my progress in a later comment.

    A couple months later you became offended over the post I wrote on being satisfied in Jesus. We discussed it on the blog and then corresponded by email in which we shared our differing perspectives and I apologized for offending you. You very kindly explained your perspective and also said you were sorry if you had been too harsh.

    It appears that the last time we saw you on the blog was when Stephanie blogged about single people in the LDS church. This appears to be your last comment on the blog. I can see that you were very offended by the post and some of the comments from others. I am very sorry that this stirred up such negative feelings for you.

    PC, I really do care about you and I dislike conflict very much. I would really like to be at peace with you. I know we disagree about some pretty critical things, but we’ve found a way to disagree in a more charitable manner in the past and I would like to see us continue to strive for more charity and less negativity.

    Your friend,

    Jessica

    Comment by Jessica | January 26, 2010 | Reply

  9. There’s a good discussion about this at fMh right now:

    http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/?p=2980

    And, it’s not just LDS vs. Gellies that concerns me.

    Comment by Mike H. | March 13, 2010 | Reply


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