Personal evolution

My son is a pretty ferocious religious skeptic. He gives me daily briefs on his clashes with “weak-minded” Christian fundamentalist classmates, and waves off my efforts to point out that the points being made might be slightly more subtle than he is giving them credit for. He really wants me to give the slam dunk response like when I told him to tell his sparing partner that it was Kanye West, not Barack Obama, who said the government invented AIDS.

I remember being 14. When I went to church camp that summer I very sure that under no circumstances was it right to execute someone, kill someone in combat, or have an abortion. I also knew it was wrong to be gay. Now, God loves everyone, and people who make one of these mistakes aren’t bad people, they just made mistakes and should be encouraged not to make such mistakes in the future.

Weird thing is, my mom & dad held none of those beliefs. They were generally against using force, Dad having served in a war he said he knew was foolish after his first day on the ground, but they weren’t pacifist. And, I’m pretty sure they have always be pro-Choice. Not sure where they were about gay rights or capital punishment back then.

Certainty was just very, very important to me. I had to make things fit. I solved the problem of it being unjust for a person born in Saudi Arabia to be condemned for not being Christian by convincing myself that all religions were the same. That ultimately they all worshiped the same God I did. How’s that for arrogant?

2 replies on “Personal evolution”

I wonder if it’s arrogance at all. When I was 14, I also had ridiculous opinions I am currently ashamed of. But I think of it more as an innocent failure to consider a subtle argument–an disability, if you will.

I thought I was right not because I thought other people were stupid, I thought I was right because I was unable to see the many and varied versions of correctness, or truth, or whatever.

I think this looks and smells like arrogance, but it might be (subtly) different.

Compared to 14 year old James, I’ve become less certain of the rightness of my own opinions, but more certain of the wrongness of someone else’s. Not sure that’s an improvement.

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