It’s closing in on almost four years since we began these weekly chats.
During that time we have discussed many varied and interesting topics and have frequently returned to the subject of beliefs.
We have talked often about how we are shaped by our beliefs and have discussed how we are united or divided by only one thing: what we uniquely and individually believe to be true.
Whatever we believe to be true is true for us, and we conduct ourselves in a manner consistent with those beliefs.
Sadly this week in Boston, we witnessed the horrendous results that are possible when people take actions based on what they believe to be true.
We do not yet know the motivation behind the horrifying events that took place earlier this week, but what we do know is that in the minds of those responsible, these actions were justified by their own beliefs.
Our history as humans is rife with countless examples of bloodshed, destruction and violence perpetrated by one identifiable group against another identifiable group and always condoned and deemed necessary by what the oppressors believed to be true.
All too often those atrocities have been committed in the name of God.
We have pitted one God against another in the strange belief that somehow one version, or method of accepting and revering God is superior to another, and have at times convinced ourselves of the worthiness of violently eradicating those whose beliefs in God or whose practices around their beliefs in God differ from ours.
Few religions can claim innocence on this front.
When each of us arrived on this planet we were blessed with the greatest gift imaginable – the remarkable gift of choice.
And along with the power of choice comes the right to choose evil.
Throughout history, many of us have regrettably chosen evil resulting in catastrophic consequences for those for those of disparate beliefs.
How has it come to be that so many of us have chosen to believe that the differences in our beliefs justify horrific acts of death and destruction?
As a species our samenesses far outnumber our differences.
Have the same biochemical and physiological makeup.
Have the same survival needs – food clothing and shelter.
Require oxygen to survive.
Have the same five senses.
Share the same life goals – peace and happiness.
That list is far from complete. The one and only thing that allows for differences lies within our cognitive process – our ability to disseminate data, analyze and place meaning on data. We then view that conclusion as an opinion or a belief.
We have long been subjected to horrific events – wars, acts of terror, school shootings, bombings, airlines hijacked.
A common thread has existed throughout all of these events. Each was carried out in accordance with what the perpetrators believed to be true.
We justify our actions by our beliefs and our beliefs all too often are influenced by our differences.
What do you think would happen if we collectively reached out across the lines of race, religion, and ethnicity to our brothers and sisters and embrace them with these words, “I notice we have many differences between us, I must get to know you better.”
If it is true that all behaviors are learned, then expressions of love and hate are teachable. I believe there is far more love in this world than there is hate and that there is no better time than right now for us to spread collective love in order to smother an overwhelm the hatred that exists out there.
And I think the best way to do this is to to remember those many sameness we all share and to genuinely embrace the differences that for far too long have served as reason to divide us.
Let’s remember that those differences exist in our minds and nowhere else and included in the magnificent gift of choice is the ability to choose to open our minds and fill them with love.
If each of us made a commitment to reach out to just one person who is of a different faith and/or different race and/or ethnic origin – perhaps one that we have been judgmental or critical of – and sincerely seek to appreciate and celebrate those differences, then perhaps we could eradicate hate one person at a time.
This task may well be a lengthy one but there will never be an end in sight if we don’t begin by getting started.
Anyone interested in joining me?
Till we read again.
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