I love a good debate. I also love watching BBCs Intelligence Squared – the World of Debate, when I get a chance. Then yesterday, I saw a tweet from @simonpegg that had a very impassioned and eloquent speech of @StephenFry from October 2009 in a debate titled: The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world. A subject near to my heart.
Please go to this link and watch Mr. Fry first: Dailymotion – The Intelligence² Debate – Stephen Fry (Unedited) http://t.co/KvSpe6n via @Dailymotion
Before I go further, I, like Mr. Fry noted, do not, in any way or form wish to take anything from the person who believes in his or her faith whether it be Catholicism, Judaism, Muslim, Buddhism, Druidism or any of the myriad of secular and non-secular philosophies. I would fight to the death to defend a persons right to his or her beliefs. Whether we believe it is right or wrong, is none of our business! I am not here to force my will or opinion on anyone else. Only to stem open and I hope respectful debate.
I was born, baptized and raised in the Roman Catholic faith and imbued into my brain, my heart, my bones. No amount of atheistic thought, debate or understanding could wedge those deep-seated and what I believe is guilt-inducing nonetheless systematic brain-washing out of my noggin.
Unfortunately for me. I say this because I wish I would have been born with a wider field of beliefs. Needless to say I was born in a small, close-minded town with little choices other than a form of Catholicism. I’m sure there were pockets of other faiths, but the glaring light of Catholicism white washed all else. It took a move to Vancouver, a coastal location brimming with humanity that pried open my mind to that wide-world of convictions.
In this present day I find myself more of a non-practicing Buddhist. As I noted above, I have no qualms with anyone of deep faith. Of any faith. However, when a faith draws a line in the sand and says that if you are not on their side, you are the enemy. This to me is the defining form of hate.
Hate. That is a whole other battle. I’ve been striving to eradicate from my mind and vocabulary this horrific word. For instance I would try to say, “I don’t care for that ice cream”, rather than “I hate that ice cream.” I cringe when I catch myself saying this nevertheless when I hear it from others. How many lives have been lost due to the overwhelming influence of hate?
I have come to understand that most faiths, at their most base level, have a fundamental doctrine that teaches love, understanding, and caring for your fellow human. And yet, it is our human instinct to draw from these words our own view and definition of how to set it into practice. Most clearly it is far too often such a beautiful work of humanity is debased and twisted to create such deep-seated hate and anger for anyone not toeing their line of beliefs. And thus while humanity has such a vast capacity for love and compassion, it also has an enormous and grotesque culpability in serving up fear and hate in all shapes and forms. Deeply into those masks we must inquire. Those masks worn by those who shovel out what they believe you should follow. Why are so many following these fear mongering proponents of hate, but again it is up to each of us to decide whether what we hear, see, feel and believe is right for ourselves. I can only shake my head and hope that most will just look inside, to their own truths, and find not hate, anger, but love, hope, compassion. How magnificently beautiful and safe the world would be.
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