Look out. I'm feeling pretty feisty today.....
So I've been having several interesting conversations with people as of late, that had a common theme: The notion that I, as a religious person, have fairly cut and dry ideas and beliefs of what is right and what is wrong- of what will make people happy vs what is simply instant gratification. Many people seem to equate this personality type as someone who is judgmental- who has no room for others in their life who do not live by the same set of "moral rules", and who view themselves as near perfect and are therefore, intrinsically hypocritical.
Although I do believe that this description is true of some religious and/or conservative people, I feel like it is equally as true of those who are not. So many are screaming for tolerance so loudly that they are completely ignoring their OWN intolerance. Why is it not my right to believe as I do? Where is your tolerance of me, and my beliefs? And for heavens sake, calm down and stop screaming because THAT is oppressive...
Ironically, although I have many, many things in my life that I am not proud of, that I know I need to work on, and that I am woefully inadequate at, I would have to say that compassion is one of my greatest strengths. Morality and rigid personal rules are not a necessary precursor to judgment. You can judge an action without judging a person. As I have gotten older, I have NOT become more liberal in my view of what is fundamentally right and wrong, but I'm more broad minded with how I view those who try and fail, for those who see things differently, etc.
Examples: Infidelity? Wrong. Stealing? Wrong. Sexual promiscuity? Wrong.
However, I don't think that given the right set of circumstances that I would be above those things. I would hope I'd have the strength to say no, but I'm not assuming that I would. I don't understand everyone's circumstances. I don't know their thoughts, feelings, hearts, emotions, etc. It doesn't make their actions right, it means that I might do the exact same thing if I were them because I'm a weak human, too. I know that there are good, sweet, amazing people that have done things that are very wrong. I have done many things that are just plain wrong. that doesn't negate who they are or I am as a human being. It is our humanity that gives us this weaknesses, as well as the inner moral courage to overcome them, and the compassion towards other to display forgiveness and mercy. Therefore morality and compassion are not mutually exclusive characteristics in me or anyone else.
Also, as a fun little...feminism side note: Also in these conversations, the topic of "typical male behavior" came up and what you would just have to let go because "men are men". I'm sorry...but I don't accept that. Biologically programmed or not, men are completely capable of controlling themselves. We overcome a good percentage of what our "biological" impulses. Is it NORMAL for a 2 year old to throw a tantrum? Well...yeah...but they are supposed to mature and not do that eventually. Is it normal to WANT to key someone's car when they screw you over? Yeah...but you don't do it. If you're hungry and someone's eating...do you want to steal their sandwich when they're not looking? Yeah...but you don't do it, because that would be immature, selfish and wrong. What makes us humans, not animals, is our self control. Men have that ability, too. Expect it from them. They're up to the challenge, I promise.
Also....on the other side of that...I am getting a little sick of men talking about how manipulative women are; the complaints that women are so incredibly irrational, and that all that is possibly wrong with this world is that women are just too darn emotional and have ruined everything. I do agree that women can be a big, fat, pain, and I don't exclude myself from that. In fact, in general, I prefer being with men over women. However...I do just want to quote...a favorite TV show in closing because it's pretty much exactly how I feel:
"I love men!... But you cannot ignore history. History has shown that, in general, it has been the men who have done the raping and the robbing and war mongering for the past 2000 years. It has been the men who have done the pillaging and the beheading and the subjugating of whole races into slavery. It has been the men who have done the law making, and the money making, and most of the mischief making. So, if the world isn't quite what you had in mind, then you have only yourselves to thank."