MY OPINION IS AS VALID AS YOURS – tolerance and understanding required
Tuesday, September 27, 2022 – column #7133
Having our attention drawn – getting into it – reading fiction, watching TV or movies, or being enthralled by a politician on the stump is a common phenomenon: suspension of disbelief.
We know these are stories.
Someone made them up, someone wrote them, someone published/distributed them, and we found them believable in the moment so that we imagined ourselves in that scene, that situation – we felt something, our heart rate rose, our pupils dilated …
OK, not as much while reading a flat page as watching an action thriller on a flat screen or by an imposing big screen theatre experience with surround sound making everything shake.
Sometimes, we are listening to a political speech or reading about it afterward; or seeing re-tweets of fakeness buzz around the internet jungle. Was it a fiction movie or an elected official making fictional promises? It depends; what is a farce for me might be completely convincing for someone else.
Either way, it’s not scientifically provable or fact-checked yet, if ever …
Most of the time, most of us know the difference between reality and fiction; still, we are entertained and sometimes persuaded by these forms of storytelling. They portray heroes and villains, tragedy and comedy; they make us laugh, and they make us cry.
Storytellers are celebrated with literary awards and theatrical prizes and have their names laid in concrete or their likenesses displayed in wax museums.
So, how does this square with the belief systems of the world’s religions?
Rules to live by, ways to organize society, described and written down by someone long ago – and bound in dogma books handed down over decades and centuries. How are they different? Facts aren’t required, but faith is – these leaps of disbelief are time-warped versions of one another.
Many people see these as truth, not fiction; they see them as laws handed down from a greater authority for which no proof exists and believe their failure to follow those rules would condemn them to forms of eternal imprisonment in a time-warp horror that goes by many names/synonyms for a hellish fire of living forever damned.
Yes, in my opinion.
Yes, in my opinion.
There is enormous fact-based evidence of atrocities in the name of, or defence of, their religion, as there is for despots waging wars about territory and historical boundaries.
But is that defence, offence, or just offensive?
What we believe matters.
What we enjoy for entertainment matters too, but we need to be clear when we believe something, whether or not our logical mind is distracted by a suspension of disbelief.
But, there needs to be something more – that isn’t about belief, disbelief, fact, or fiction – and it’s not about the value or worth or proof of any belief system, be that political, religious, personal values, moral compass, or emotional tangents …
Tolerance and respect.
Whether someone believes hoax-ish viral tweeting or thinks the teachings and dogma in a thick old book of religious stories, it isn’t up to us to determine what is truth, fiction, or the suspension of disbelief for someone else.
Respecting and tolerating the views of others is a two-way street. We believe what we believe, and we live in a country where we are free to read, speak, write, and even holler what we believe – but in that right comes the responsibility to let others read, speak, write and holler too.
What we think, what we believe and what we advocate for matters to us. It might not matter to anyone else, and that’s fair. What they believe might not matter to us.
We used to live small lives in small communities – not connected to many and barely aware of anyone far away. Today, we are aware of lots – perhaps without context or understanding, but lots just the same. It always comes at us in real-time, and with internet speeds getting faster, it’s almost like we get it before it happens.