I could thrash this theme to death if I so wished but I think I’ve provided a fairly broad picture of how a belief or ideology can drive one’s whole outlook on life and the truth they have constructed that is their reason/motivation for living or what authenticates their identity.
I’m not trying to say my own world view is the one true way everyone should look at the world. The challenge for all of us however is to find reasonable arguments to validate our position. How I feel or what I feel is true is not a good way to begin my defence; neither is using anecdotal evidence or emotive argumentation a valid method of defence for my own apologetic.
Once upon a time if a person who is a 155 centimetre tall Caucasian male from England in his mid fifties said he wanted to be identified as a 175 centimetre tall African-American woman aged 20, he would have been locked away and put on medication. I think they used to call something similar multiple personality disorder. I wonder if that should now be called multiple personality integration.
I am not saying that someone who wants to identify as something they’re actually not has a mental illness although it does say a lot about how unhappy that person is with their life and identity. What would cause someone to have an apparent break with reality either suddenly or gradually that they become so discontent with their life that they don’t want to be who they are any more? Is this what is really going on behind all this self-identification stuff?
If another person disagrees with or challenges another persons self-identification and state they are offended when you refer to them by one gender when they are in fact the other gender; (so far there is only two genders I know of) should I have to address them according to their wishes so I don’t offend them?
I guess this whole dialogue could degenerate into the whole it’s not about you it’s about me and that would be a fair argument on their behalf because it is obviously something that is very personal and important for them. The problem is that it doesn’t change who they are on the inside, it only changes them cosmetically on the outside. So in answer to my question should I avoid offending such one’s the answer is no! I’m not obligated to call a man a women simply because they think they are one or are transitioning to the opposite gender.
No because from my perspective it would be in-genuine of me to acknowledge someone as something they’re not simply because they say they are or say they want to be something else other than what they are presently. Cosmetics don’t change biology. Belief about one’s identity doesn’t change who that person is at a molecular level although it could be described as a type of body dysmorphia. Literally meaning “I don’t like who I am”. And yet I am forced to accommodate thinking and beliefs that I find contradictory and frankly absurd. If I don’t accommodate these people suddenly I’m a right-wing bigot full of hate… In other words there can’t be different or opposing views on the matter I just have to agree with them! My own worldview is invalidated and I am compromised but that doesn’t matter. I now am obligated to enable and validate something I have clear reasons to reject.
God doesn’t make mistakes
I stepped away from my computer for a few minutes to take a break. While I was away I recalled a conversation I had recently with a person who is transgender they believe they are a the wrong sex trapped in a the wrong body. They stated that God doesn’t make mistakes. Well if God doesn’t make mistakes then who did? Obviously if one believes they trapped in the wrong body or are the wrong gender someone, somewhere made a mistake.
I agree that God doesn’t make mistakes God only made two genders for the perpetuation of our species. This not only applies to humanity this applies to all other animal species: Gen_1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Gen_5:2 He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.
Gen_6:19 “And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.
Gen_7:3 also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth.
If this is true ultimately the blame falls back on God the creator because this is the way God created all of us. So is the fault with God or us? Obviously we are at fault! I’m not arguing against the order of creation I am arguing for it. If God doesn’t make mistakes then we must be the ones who are wrong. If one can use God as a defence of their position then blindly not see their own contradiction as they make this statement what am I supposed to say? It seems anyone can use the God argument to validate or authenticate their position so not everyone can be right unless of course there is no right or wrong.
The bible, if one believes it is true, unequivocally states that God created us and assigned us one or the other gender; so who made the mistake? The same is true of the gay movement especially those who claim to be Christian. God didn’t make a mistake, God made them this way even though once again homosexuality is condemned as an unnatural act read Romans chapter 1 and note the context.
Of course the LBGTQ community will deny this or twist and ignore the context so as to move the argument from fact to subjective opinion. Inevitably the debate goes from stating facts to personal testimony about how they always knew they were gay, transgender or fluid gender or no gender at all. From here the emotions are injected into their argument about how they were misunderstood, not accepted for who they are or were outcast by their Christian family. These are not arguments or evidence that they are right these are statements about how one felt in those situations… It doesn’t make them objectively true and it doesn’t change God’s design; all it means is these people accept the premise that God doesn’t make mistakes but then in the next sentence contradict the premise they say they believe by saying they are the wrong gender or that their gay relationship is valid in God’s eyes when clearly they are wrong on both counts. No God doesn’t make mistakes however as fallen sinful creatures we reject God’s proposition of truth and contort it to fit our own beliefs and reasoning. Okay so I’ve beaten up on the whole gender/identity debate along with the gay movement lets move on.
Epistemology: the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion.
Next is how we come to belief or to know what we know. Are our beliefs justified/validated or are they simply opinion? In philosophy and other academic pursuits we call knowing what we know or how we come to know that which we know as the science of epistemology. This is not a concise or exhaustive examination on my behalf I am using this as an example.
There are too many world views out there to be able to comment on all of them so we need to name a few specific examples and use a broad brush to examine the mechanics. In this series I have commented on religion, politics and social issues because I think that is these systems that make up our society in general. Politics and religion whether one is apolitical or an atheist are influenced by both regardless of their lack of participation or belief. What ever flavour of politics one follows or religion they believe in, at some point, someone will challenge that position because they want to see if it is justified or if it is just an opinion.
The process of justifying one’s position is messy, it is never straight forward and it is often laden with opinions that are used to validate belief. The problem here is that opinions are generated by feelings whereas facts don’t care about feelings they are true regardless. Facts are cold and cruel. How does this relate to our subject matter?
So lets say a person denies the Holocaust of WWII is this opinion or fact? I watched a video the other day of Holocaust sceptics and others who want to drastically reduce the number of victims that were murdered in each camp. Their argument is now based on the official plaques that say how many were put to death in the concentration camps. What they neglect to tell us is that each plaque only records the estimated number of victims for that specific camp.
Not all the Jews, Gypsies and other nonconformists were killed in one camp that would be impossible over the period of the war and the science that was used to investigate the death camps confirms this. However not all the Nazi’s victims were killed in death camps or one specific camp. One estimate is that between 1933 and 1945 over 40.000 camps were built by the Nazi’s. Obviously not all were murdered many died from disease or starvation although deliberate starvation of inmates is a form of murder; if that occurred. The point here is whether or not the numbers are fact or opinion. The fact is that the exterminations recorded in WWII only scratched the surface of what occurred in the six years before the war. Who knows what happened or how many died!
One wonders why someone would want to rewrite history and play down the atrocities but somehow opinion gets in there and the facts change. People including many academics want to revise history. Why? Is History really so offensive to them? Humanity has a really awful track record when it comes to living up the optimistic claims that we are inherently morally good. No, we are inherently morally corrupt, selfish and rebellious; especially towards the idea that there is a God in this Universe who designed us a certain way to live according to a specific code of conduct. So when we don’t, who do we blame? God! God becomes either the reason people don’t believe because the god they created in their own minds wouldn’t allow all the bad stuff to happen to them or others. The other reason is that we want the freedom to do as we please without others interfering and we will go to any extent to do that. We hate it when someone appeals to our conscience or some kind of natural order.
On the other side people use belief or non-belief as justification for their political/social status. Religion is often a big factor that causes one to act a certain way. The extremes are fundamentalism that could lead to militant action while at the other end is liberalism where the fundamentals are thrown out and belief is simply a personal philosophy that makes one feel comfortable about themselves. One is anti-intellectual the other is only intellectual acknowledgement. Ask both sides to justify their beliefs and start counting opinions. Add to this their reasons!
Politics aren’t immune to opinion.. everyone has an opinion on politics but when opinion justifies that political philosophy it can be good or bad. Much of this dialogue is political but it is also intermingled with my conservative religious social view of the world; sure much of this is my own opinion but can I justify it so that it goes more on fact not feeling? The two are so intertwined that it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between them. Facts might be objective but how I feel about those facts effects how I view them. Some facts I like and others I don’t; I am not ambivalent or detached I am not neutral unless I choose not to engage the subject matter but regardless those facts will continue to affect my every day life. I can ignore politics and religion but as soon as someone steps on my toes and upsets my equilibrium I will become extremely political regarding my rights or I may become morally outraged that borders on religious or I may invoke the name of god to support my sense of outrage.
What am I trying to get at? Belief effects out lives it directs our lives and it controls our lives. What we believe about our world and how we live in it matters because at the end of the day beliefs, whatever they may be, dictate what we do. Other times we seek out beliefs that we want to validate our position on any given subject or behaviour.
Psychology is the master of behaviour modification. Freud was known to use self-analysis or introspection to study the human condition. I don’t know how scientifically valid introspection is seeing that the human subject is seriously flawed but this observation by me goes back to many of my initial arguments. Introspection is a human past time we do it pretty much all the time because we are processing our world and how our world view fits into the world around us. Sometimes we want to manipulate the world around us to fit our reality; sometimes this is a good thing and other times it can be a bad thing.
Manipulating the world around us is what we do as human beings. Our cities and technology are proof of this (necessity is the mother of all invention). However necessity and invention do not always have happy endings nor are they always for good reason or even necessary. We all have seen those TV commercials that tell us we need this or that product. The Presenters sell the product often using personal testimony of how much better their lives are now that they have a squeegee super mop which cuts their work time in half so that they can have more family time. the reality is that simply using a more effective technique might have saved time and money. This is advertising folks!
Have you ever stopped to observe your own thoughts and discovered that many of your own ideas and desires are very much like TV commercials? I think about what I like and what I want. Many of my likes and wants aren’t realistic although since everyone appears to be reinventing themselves why not me? I always wanted to be able to fly, why can’t I have a set of wings and call myself a Condor? I’ve always wondered what it is like to be a women, why shouldn’t I have a sex change? Some ideas seem harmless enough, others appear very rewarding or appealing but can lead to enormous tragedy. I’ll leave that to your imagination. I have no intention of undegoing a sex change operation by the way!
The thing is how and why we justify out beliefs and behaviour. Most telling is that very often what we say and what we want are self-serving. Stop and think about your wants desires and goals do they serve others or yourself? I am currently in the process of getting my poor old body into shape. Some of it is for medical reasons although it is mostly personal. If my goal is achieved it will make my job a little easier and safer for both my clients and myself. Primarily I will be fitter and look better. I am a bachelor so looking good may just attract the opposite sex. So far my motives and justification for what I am doing is fairly innocuous. However there are many thoughts and desires in my head that should never see the light of day because they are harmful to myself and others. Yet once again there are other things in my head that are plain unrealistic but they could make good material for fiction writing although I have no idea if those things are helpful or harmful. People can become obsessed with the strangest things.
So how about you out there, all one or two of you that read my blog? I know for some people who read this they will be offended by it and others confronted with a whole new perspective that they now have to deal with. Others may think they’re superior intellectually or morally or way beyond menial discussion because their enlightened way of looking at the world answers all these questions; or makes them redundant.
Some will just outright object to the content because I am obviously a narrow-minded, bigoted , medieval troglodyte who hasn’t emerged from the dark ages and still thinks that the people of the Victorian and Elizabethan era had no skeletons in their closets; they were the purest of people….
I’ve tried to hit everyone including myself so no apologies. If I offended you is it me or you? I’m not deflecting any objections that come my way through this medium but I will defend my right to an opinion. I think I can justify my opinion even if it isn’t popular. I don’t pretend to have all the facts or know everything as some might suggest but when I look at this crazy, crazy world around me. I need to ask the question and maybe provoke thought as to what is right and wrong and maybe what we should or shouldn’t do to others or ourselves.
So… some final questions to all… What are you being won with and what are you being won to? What are you doing or using to win others to your point of view. What does your worldview say about you and your world? Why should you or others invest your lives in what you think is most important to you? Why is it important? Is it beneficial only to you or will it benefit and broaden others view of the world?
Anyone out there want to respond?