#2 Love people
Just in case you missed my blogging series.. It is the top 30 things I have learnt in the last 30 years (plus one). I’ll be posting these in between the other things that randomly come to my head about life, culture, living abroad, bands, music, things I like and things that amuse me.
I collected degrees and majors at university and by the time I graduated the joke was that I ended up studying world views. Comparative religion, communications and a minor in sociology (being 2 classes shy of a BA in Soc) (Yes I was a geek, a procrastinator but a geek). I just need to get in Philosophy there (and kinda wish I had done that rather than comparative religion!) and a world view profession was completed.
One of the things I didn’t like about the academy which has filtered into popular culture and I hear a lot is that there is this presumption that there is a place of neutrality that someone can hold about any one thing. Political, religious, education, a discipline, a profession = judgments that all “these people” are biased and unable to think clearly because of their view on something, and I or the academy or something else am able to be neutral. I love hearing this about spiritual conversations. Like agnosticism is neutral. The equation in sociology or comparative religion looked like the social theorists or the academics looking down with neutrality on the social or religious world views that they were analyzing: somehow neutral and able to be objective. Holding on to Durkheim’s spirituality and social worldview is just as biased as following Jesus.
A foundational thing I have learnt over the years (and I suspected as a feisty student) is that this is completely false.
None of us are neutral.
What is done? (in a culture stress situation.. what it’s the way things SHOULD be!)
What is good or best?
What is true?
What is real?
The academy has slipped the notion into popular culture that neutrality is possible when it is not. My challenge and food for thought for us all today is that we all start from a position of a worldview about everything. The pain we have experienced, joys, our families, their dysfunctions, our great fathers, our dead beat fathers, some absent fathers, some abusive fathers (I think father shapes a lot in our worldview just fyi). The faith we were raised in, what did we learn about God, what he is like, is he real, what is his nature, can we know him? The country we were raised in, the freedoms we had, the lack of freedoms we had, the human rights violations we experienced, the self entitlement we developed from our freedoms, the money we had or were lacking, the gluttony we experienced or growling stomachs we had, the love that we had and the heartbreaks that wrecked us….
All of these and so much more shape us. They shape the answers to those questions above.
I propose that we are not neutral. We all have a worldview. But unlike the popular notion that all ideas or world-views are equal, I would go as far as to say some are not valid and some are wrong.
For example. “A woman is mainly valuable for what she looks like.” In my culture this leads to incredible amount of self destructive behaviour in the form of eating disorders as well as a consumer culture of vanity.
My proposal then for all of us is to look at our worldviews (or maybe better to have others help us see what they are for we are often blind to our own) and then ask the question.
Is this true? Why? How is this working out? Does it even work?
Finding what IS true in the world and what is healthy is a way for us to grow.. and change and find hope.
There are some things in my worldview that I have found to be extremely destructive. Those things, as they come to light, have been and will continue to need changed. There are other things I have found.. to be foundationally true and coming to live in light of what is true and not just how I feel…. is very freeing.