I do not know anymore how to react with people whom I dearly love and have long term relationships. Precious friends, beloved family members, church members, neighbors, etc.etc.
I just do not know how to handle the fact that people that I love and respect in so many ways can have such hurtful and mean attitudes towards others.
I remember one of the first lessons I learned at home was not to argue about religion or politics. My grandfather was a Democrat and my grandmother was a Republican. They each went to vote and canceled each other's votes. One year they agreed not to vote, but grandma saw my grandfather slip away from the house. She followed him to the election hall, and she too cast her vote. So much for agreements. Some of my friends seem to just accept their partners divergent views and seem to go along happily doing their own thing. Some people just have good will about their differences, laugh about it and accept each other just the way they are. It is like some people have cats and others have dogs and some have both, but it never leads to contention. Most of our differences can be accepted with good will continuing to others who feel or like or even love differently.
Then there are the differences which cause sorrow, hurt, pain, conflict, wars and eventually death. Respect dies, values die, people die, animals die and species become extinct; nature and even the environment changes. All over are differences which we just seem unable to resolve.
We have free will, whether one believes in evolution, or a God view, or both. This free will and our culture, genes, family etc. allow our differences to separate us and make each of us unique. Alone, however, we are just too alone, so we want to bond with others who appear to be most like us, either physically or mentally. We form gangs, groups, bands of brothers, sororities, fraternities, and communities with others who are like us. Most groups have a special separation ritual with those who disagree with them, or really are different than them inside, or with those who break the rules. There are rituals for excommunication, shunning, segregation, exportation, and then there is the plain old bullying, cold shouldering, ignoring, etc which leads to ostracizing and other punishments.
There is constant, hideous discrimination against difference and opposition within each culture, civilization, country, even states and cities, villages and townships.
What to do, what to do? How can one live, grow, enjoy the moment and even experience contentment within a world filled with such hatred and separation. It is a lot more then just not talking about religion or politics, although both occupy so much of the American energy today. It is like trying to surmount immovable objects between individuals and others. Sexual identity, economic theories, social movements, fashion, music, cultural norms, arts and books, and so many, many other things we live with and through everyday; and differ on our values and beliefs about.. There is a magazine, or publication, or app for every interest or situation, prurient or other. Anything can be found on the web and beamed one way or the other into our brains and our being. Instead of just learning from and enjoying our differences we become locked or fixed into just a few and reject anything that differs.
I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. I pray to my creator for forgiveness for not just appreciating each and everything he has likewise created, but for actively resisting and even hating the parts and thoughts of others who differ from me. I too, get fixed in my own mindset and beliefs and get very angry and push back when challenged in anyway. I want to run or escape from friends, and society, and civility goes out the window when I feel strongly about something and someone else does not agree. I visualize becoming a hermit, or a mad woman on a hill screaming about injustices. Why am I the only person who can see the right action or path? What is wrong with those on the other side?
I think of all the martyrs who have stood up and died for their ideas and belief. From Socrates, to Jesus, to King and to Gandhi and so many more.(how come so few women?) There are many others(now we see the women) who just live for their beliefs: Mother Theresa, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and so forth.
I neither live not die for my beliefs, I just get angry, nasty and sarcastic.
If I can only realize internally and take to heart all that which I have stated above. In the midst of confusion, anger, fear and even death I must retain my central core of who I believe I am. I am gentle, loving and caring and concerned for my fellow beings. I want to cast out evil and feel only love or concern for my neighbor and my enemy(or those who feel or think differently than I). To quote Jesus:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?