Friday, 3 June 2016

Dear bigoted, fundamentalist, homophobic christians...

Now that I have your attention, allow me to elaborate.

Have you ever noticed that if you pull someone up for something negative (especially online), most of the time they assume you're are making a derogatory comment about their value as a human being. They instantly think you are being personally slanderous.

If I say to someone that their comment is bigoted, most assume that I'm calling them a bigot, in the sense that I've just described their entire worth in one word. And yet all I'm saying is the comment or attitude that they have displayed in a particular context is bigoted.

There is also the whole issue of generalisations. I could say that most fundamentalist christians are close minded and refuse to listen to anything outside their set of dogmas. Once again, generalisations are exactly that - general statements that aren't meant to imply any personal defamation to an individual. It's simply a statement that describes a common mindset.

What I'm trying to say is that any particular mindset or opinion you may have about something  doesn't define your entire character or value as a human being. It may be an opinion that really sucks and needs to be challenged, but it still isn't who you are.

I have friends who I constantly have digs at for their particular views on something, but that doesn't devalue their humanity - their worth, the years of life experience, pain and suffering, joys, heartaches - all the things that make them humans like you and me!

Let's try to stop taking offence so easily and actually listen to people. If someone calls you a right wing conservative fundamentalist homophobic misogynist racist, it simply means they have reacted to that particular part of your life paradigm. It's what they've seen presented in a conversation or comment, a post or meme. And yes, often people get carried away and really do think your entire worth is contained in one viewpoint, but try to remember that they don't know you - they don't know everything that has made you who you are right now. They are reacting to that part of you that has been presented to them.

When you respond to people, be careful to clarify that it's the comment that may be the problem, NOT them as equal and fallible humans. The comment only represents a small part of their life paradigm. Instead of saying "you are a bigot", make it clear that "your comment was bigoted". Notice the difference? It's huge! And make sure that they understand the difference too!

It's all about love really - empathy and respect. And no, I don't always get it right myself, and lose my cool, but I'm also quick (hopefully) to apologise when I realise what I've done.

Living loved is what it's all about, and remember, you can always politely just "walk" away.