Be the change that you want to see in the world. --Gandhi
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. --Tolstoy
The situation described in my last post (and an unrelated, rather heated email exchange which ended with somebody threatening me) has made me do some thinking. Why is it that so many of us (including myself, of course) spend our energy blaming everybody but ourselves? We spend so much time criticizing instead of seeking common ground and figuring out a way to work together. It's just like politics on the national scale. The two sides get so worked up about a few emotional issues that they ignore almost everything else. Hardly anybody tries to put themselves in their opponent's shoes, but instead assumes that their opponents are not just wrong, but stupid and/or evil.
We confuse the means with the ends. I say I argue about religion because I value science and progressive values, but there must be more effective ways to advance those ends than all this arguing.
I'm not sure I want to continue arguing about religion. In the best case, I'll convince a few people that religion isn't true and causes some problems, but even then I'm also contributing to the hatred on both sides.
I think that some people (like politicians) divide us on purpose, knowing that if they can keep us arguing about gay marriage and abortion, we won't notice when they're fleecing the public and passing measures that the majority of Americans wouldn't support if they had all the information. I want to say that because I think it's true, but then I think maybe I'm just criticizing again instead of seeking to improve things myself.
So I'm going to change. I'm just not sure how.