And, even if you do have a vagina, you only get to say what happens to your own.
Despite being raised Catholic, I am agnostic. I think George Clooney said it best for me, even though my opinion was formed long before I found this particular meme:
While I am not of a particularly religious bent, a lot of my family and friends were raised in the church, accept its doctrine, and we have to agree to disagree on topics or we couldn’t be friends anymore due to the disrespect evidenced by the refusal to accept my right to my opinion.
I value my friends in all their levels of complexity and differing outlooks on life, and I don’t want to try and force them to be like me, or make them feel they must try to be something they are not in order for our friendship to survive.
That being said, though, it is not always true in the reverse. I have to cut my friends a lot of slack when they start to “educate” me about their religious views. Especially when they seem to forget we were raised in the same church. They forget I’m not one to be “got” for Jesus. I left the church as soon as I could, following my confirmation at 14, and once I was legally an adult in the eyes of the church.
The best explanation of what kind of conversation I plan to have with our maker, should I be proven wrong, and he or she exist, goes something like this:
Epicurus has rationalized a circular argument in the picture above, but it’s truly how I feel on this issue.
For me, if there is a supreme being, he or she has quite a lot of ‘splainin to do.
From my own experience in being indoctrinated in the Catholic faith, while also having members of my family be raised as Jews or Protestants, we learned to shelve the need to “get one for Jesus” in family discussions, as arguing about which religion was “most” right was pointless in a multi-religion household. Religious support or tolerance, and managing the boundaries to avoid conflict as provoked by dogmatic viewpoints was the norm in my household. However, I was exposed to three clear lines of thought on the religions involved, and I’ll paraphrase them as follows:
In the Jewish faith, they praise the questioners, as only by knowing ourselves and our belief, do we have a chance to know God.
Within the Protestant faith, there’s a lot of reliance placed on acceptance of the divine mystery. The trust that all things will work out because “God has a plan”, even if we are too ignorant to be able to comprehend it in all its complexity and glory. Some of our individual sects are part of the holly roller/get one for Jesus coalition, and some are more live-and-let-live.
Regaring my experience with the Catholic faith, there’s a wide variety of viewpoints, depending on whether one is a high holiday church goer (mostly visible at church on Christmas, Easter, etc.), or if one believes that the Pope is the living embodiment of God’s word on this earthly plane (i.e., those members are usually identified as Roman Catholics, send their kids to parochial school, know every saint’s day and holy observance on a weekly basis, are members of the John Birch society, etc.).
So, there’s a lot going on in my extended family, and I was raised to respect the boundaries as blood was thicker than any religious dogma for getting along and thriving as a cohesive team.
Into this picture comes the 2016 election nonsense, and facebook. (You knew it was going there, right?).
I’ve been posting a lot of supportive items that members of my family and friends disagree with, but we manage the boundaries respectfully, as the postings are not directed to anyone specifically. There’s no bullying. It’s more a general rah-rah for my team’s views as we’re working through the political process to see who in a position of political authority is going to be steering the country over the next 4 years or so as it comes to public policies, and the laws which affect our individual rights.
Into this arena comes the private messaging, and the need for people to cross the line with conversations that they don’t have the balls to post on my facebook wall.
Two recent abortion-centric discussions have been had privately, and I’m about to lose a friendship of 40-plus years if the other person doesn’t knock it off. All because of private messaging and what I see as disrespect or bullying.
Whether my opinion is heresy, the work of a heretic, or hubris, it’s still my opinion. Opinions are vital to interesting conversations. However, when one cries, “uncle” to stop the attack against an opinion, the courteous will back off.
Not change their own view.
But, simply, to agree to disagree. It’s called mutual respect. A friendship can’t survive without it.