how to become a fundamentalist

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I think that the heart of fundamentalism might be fear. At least, that would be why I’d ever become one. I find that when I’m afraid of losing something, like my religion, I tend to get hostile about it. This makes sense since my religion is why I believe that I, and all other people, have value. But mostly, I’m afraid to lose it because I’d personally feel bad about myself and my future.

But I don’t think this is right. According to certain holy books, I’m supposed to love instead of hate. I’m supposed to be caring, not confrontational. But that’s what fear does to people. Thus, I have to fight my inclination to be afraid. I can feel scared and I can feel contempt but I can’t surrender to those urges. It’s not right and it doesn’t make my religion look good either.

What I’m saying is that I think I understand one way people could become like that. It’s not right, but it’s not incoherent.

What it *is* inconsistent with is how we should handle the truth, or the search for truth. (Lol, I hope I don’t sound like I’ve been smoking something.) To run from dialogue because of fear (or the extensions of it, like anger or contempt) is to keep your beliefs leashed. (Pardon the expression.) If what you believe is the truth, then you should set it free. If it’s not the truth, it won’t survive. But if it’s not the truth, then it wasn’t worth believing in in the first place. This is how I believe the truth behaves, and how I think people should handle the search for it.

I believe that contempt is a very dangerous thing. It keeps people from talking, and the misunderstandings that come out of it probably won’t help society better itself. Plus, it’s not what I believe I’ve been called to do. To run from hate, I need to run from fear. And to run from fear, I need to search for the truth. And if the truth matches up with what I believe, then I have nothing to fear. But if it doesn’t, I guess I’ll have to move on.

Thing is, though, noone’s been able to convince me otherwise yet. Still, I should be proactive in my “Journey for Truth”. Even if people can’t convince me to change my mind, I still benefit from the confidence I gain through the knowledge that I’m closer to the truth than somebody else. (Sounds a little selfish, doesn’t it?) Is that kind of confidence a good thing? I don’t know. But it makes me feel better.

Throughout all this, though, I think I need to remind myself that everyone’s on the same side. I need to remember that the truth isn’t only for me, and that if I think what I believe is the truth, I’d be wrong not to share it. It’s mutual benefit to converse with people I disagree with, then. Noone loses anything but a bit of their ego, at most. (Well. That might not be completely true… Topic for another day.)

Like teams of physicists competing for the same goal, I think that the most certain way to the truth is through disagreement.

PS. Did that analogy make any sense at all? I heard a story on BBC (maybe) that some discoveries are so potentially consequential and potentially prestigious that not one team can be trusted with finding it. Or that having different teams compete for the (Nobel?) prize keeps any one team from fabricating data or getting something wrong.

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