Stop parroting ideology, consider human dignity

2012-09-28T07:00:00Z Stop parroting ideology, consider human dignity pantagraph.com
September 28, 2012 7:00 am

Not long ago, I was having a conversation with my son about gay marriage. His opinion was that gay marriage was wrong because it goes against the teachings of the Catholic Church. I was not as concerned with his opinion as I was with his justification, which is an appeal to authority.

This is a problem that is epidemic in our public forum. Instead of thinking for oneself, utilizing reason and experience to determine one’s point of view, many people simply parrot what a person or ideology says out of blind faith. In other words, people let someone else do the thinking for them. It doesn’t help that our media is overtly biased or that our education system preaches its own ideology, but I don’t know if it has ever been easy to think for oneself. In our country, we not only have the right, but the responsibility to do so.

I think a question that would be a good starting place for becoming an educated citizen is, “What is human dignity?” That is to say, is the value of a human being something we can measure by economic or social class, religious affiliation or biological endowments? If all of that is arbitrary to human worth, then why are we basing our lives and justifying our opinions on what is ostensibly worthless? I’m not saying that we should cast out all authority, but that ultimately the authority lies with us in whom or what we give credence and power.

Ned J. Lawrence

Bloomington

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(21) Comments

  1. faust
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    faust - October 10, 2012 4:05 pm
    Where did I say that we should rely solely on feelings? Quote me. The Bible was written by multiple authors whom you believe were inspired by God. It is your belief that gives the Bible its authority. The "proof" of that source is whatever re-enforces your belief. My point is that it is you that is the authority because you are the one deciding what to believe and what not to believe. That being the case, it is you who are basing your thinking upon your feelings-- mainly, your own insecurities about yourself and the world you live in.

    I'm no different than you, in that sense. My thinking is based off of my insecurities as well. The difference is that I'm being honest about it. Through that admission, I can be open to different perspectives as well as have compassion for humanity because we are all driven by that same sense of alienation.
  2. faust
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    faust - October 10, 2012 3:51 pm
    When people blindly follow authority or determine what they think by general consensus then they ARE motivated by feeling and opinion. In following authority, the feeling that motivates them is fear. In regarding general consensus, their opinion is underlined by the desire to receive social acceptance, which in our culture is defined by consumerism.

    My letter suggests that we use our own ability to reason instead of blindly following authority and that we base our opinions off of experience rather than consensus. That doesn't mean we disregard people who are more knowledgeable or dismiss other people's concerns, but that we make decisions about our community, nation, world from a rational and responsible position. I'm suggesting that we grow up.
  3. faust
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    faust - October 10, 2012 3:27 pm
    I think you got the message I was attempting to convey. If I had had more than 250 words, I would have expanded on the point that it is each of us individually who decides what we believe. If I think the Bible is the Word of God for example, it is myself which is giving the authority to the Bible-- that is both a powerful and scary thought. It is powerful because ultimately I am the one who has the authority over what I believe and my life. It is scary because I don't know what is absolutely true and right... even if I did, I would still choose falsehood and make wrong choices because of conditioned habit. Erich Fromm called this predicament "fear of freedom" and it is what led people to cling to fascism. His solution was the development of a particular kind of love which embraces and cherishes individuality. I would add to this idea the willingness to remain teachable-- i.e. to be open to new solutions and opportunities.
  4. ThoseWhoKnow
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    ThoseWhoKnow - September 29, 2012 4:38 pm
    Yeah but that's ok, they can believe it just like we chose not to believe in hell.
  5. ThoseWhoKnow
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    ThoseWhoKnow - September 29, 2012 4:36 pm
    Not exactly. You can't be a Christian and a Jew can you? Or a Jew and a Muslim? You could be a Christian and follow some Buddhist principles I suppose, or vice versa. Just because Buddhism is non-theistic doesn't mean it is not a religion.
  6. ChubbyAlaskaGriz
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    ChubbyAlaskaGriz - September 28, 2012 11:40 pm
    You're one of the rare lucky ones then who apparently haven't been exposed to the uglier side of Christianity. Good that you've been spared the many indignities... because they abound.
  7. ChubbyAlaskaGriz
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    ChubbyAlaskaGriz - September 28, 2012 11:39 pm
    clg- pay attention and read a post more clearly before you comment. Or at least slap yourself in the face a time or two to make sure you're fully awake and alert before you peck on that keyboard.
  8. clg4899
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    clg4899 - September 28, 2012 9:42 pm
    Oh my! A homophobic comment from the lesser.
  9. clg4899
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    clg4899 - September 28, 2012 9:40 pm
    I don't know that at all. One can follow a philosophy like Budist or Taoism and still be a Christian. Once again, your comments make no sense.
  10. ChubbyAlaskaGriz
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    ChubbyAlaskaGriz - September 28, 2012 9:29 pm
    Well maybe- but you do know that Christians believe that followers of this dude are gonna burn in hell- right?
  11. ThoseWhoKnow
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    ThoseWhoKnow - September 28, 2012 5:00 pm
    "Don't blindly believe what I say. Don't believe me, nor another, based on how others convince you with words. Don't believe anything you read or hear, whether of tradition, authority, religious teachers or texts. Neither should you speculate, nor rely on logic alone. Don't be deceived by appearances. Find out for yourself what is true and virtuous. Abandon those things that lead to pain and suffering." - Buddha

    Sounds like a pretty smart guy don't you think?
  12. Erick
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    Erick - September 28, 2012 4:40 pm
    Great discussion point. My belief is that man has inherent value as the only being that can use his reasoning mind to create his own future. His mind is the only thing that he can use to do that so he can choose to allow others to fill his mind with senseless nonsense and conflicting philosophical jargon or he had choose to determine his own direction and his own morals through reason and objective analysis. We are all way too worried about what everyone else is doing rather than examining and discovering our own philosopy and values. How can anyone know WHAT they believe if they don't know WHY they believe it?


    If you don't do that you are easy prey for the next Hitler, Stalin, Ahmadinejad, or Morsi to come along; who will be more than happy to tell you what you need to think.
  13. earlyriser54
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    earlyriser54 - September 28, 2012 3:31 pm
    Ned, I think your outlook is border line anarchy. When people disregard authority and general consensus and go on their own personal feelings on topics there is no law. You have instead the masses acting solely on their FEELINGS or what PERSONAL OPINONS they hold on a particular issue. Actually Ned your explanation sounds like radical gobbley goop imo.
  14. robbin
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    robbin - September 28, 2012 2:59 pm
    Spoken just like a true Obama supporting lib. You are the 47%
  15. ChubbyAlaskaGriz
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    ChubbyAlaskaGriz - September 28, 2012 1:59 pm
    But WHICH belie is thatf? Everybody I know who uses the Bible as the basis for their beliefs has a huge "adhere to" list and a huge "do no adhere to" list. For instance most people I know no longer adhere to any of the directives passed down in Leviticus- of course for that one pesky one about the gays.
  16. Accordingly1
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    Accordingly1 - September 28, 2012 1:18 pm
    I'll stick to my belief of The Holy Bible.

  17. wswsr
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    wswsr - September 28, 2012 10:44 am
    It's concerning that you would treat people as not thinking for themselves when they go to a much bigger, more proven source, God's Word, than relying solely on man's feelings about matters of importance. Our own "wisdom" comes from somewhere.
  18. Captain Crohns
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    Captain Crohns - September 28, 2012 10:28 am
    Tell the homosexual community of the United States to move on. I'm sure that they are perfectly accepting of their positions of second class citizens.
  19. Responsibleone
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    Responsibleone - September 28, 2012 8:50 am
    Let's not make a mountain out of a mole hill, DAD.....Sounds to me like an honest difference of opinion......not something to get your shorts in a wad about.....And, with time and experience, both of you might have different (or the same) opinions over time. There are quite honestly larger and more urgent issues in these United States which need solving.....move on!
  20. annieoakley
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    annieoakley - September 28, 2012 8:34 am
    Mr. Lawrence i totally concur with your letter. People do need to think for themselves instead of listening and repeating what they hear else where. God gave people a brain and a soul for a reason. They need to THINK! Even if that is a dangerous concept for others to grasp. lol
  21. Larry Fine
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    Larry Fine - September 28, 2012 8:17 am
    You ileetest peeples betta not start wit dat talk bout reespektin udders. I knows dat FOX does me right, you libearals betta jus keep yo mouff shut an stop yer blabberin. I knows what is right and it aint youse
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