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BACK DOOR BOY IN A FRONT DOOR WORLD
OUTSIDE OF SOCIETY - THAT'S WHERE I WANT TO BE
If you know that the snake will probably bite if you pick it up... 
12th-Dec-2007 10:40 pm
...either don't pick it up or don't complain when it bites you.

This post comes fresh on the heels of me being defriended by someone because what I post oftentimes is offensive to his religious sensibilities. I'm not pissed off at him or anything like that, I just think that being offended is completely useless. In stating my opinions, I'm not going to waste my time sanitizing what I think/feel/say/do/believe in order to make others comfortable with the content (or me for my methods), although I will say that he never asked me to censor or filter myself - in fact he made a point of being anti-censorship, which I respect and appreciate. I'm simply making the point. I have no ill will or hard feelings. This isn't the first time someone has taken me off their friends list for similar reasons, it won't be the last, and that's perfectly fine - I expect it from time to time.

I mention this because I want to remind everyone that I accept that I'm hardly everyone's cup of tea and that I know I can be hard to take at times, but on matters of politics or religion, feel free to question me and why I post the things I post if you're provoked in some way or wish to get a better understanding of why I'm making the points I make - I have no problem being held up to scrutiny, and my beliefs and values are strong enough that they can take a good bashing as well. Perhaps you may learn something from me and I from you, therefore it would be a worthwhile endeavor. Or, just defriend me and be done with the entire matter. That is the easiest thing to do after all, and you don't have to bother with learning or teaching anyone anything from hearing them out or giving your own insight. It's easier to surround yourself with people who agree with you - just ask Fox News. Either way, I'm going to say whatever the motherfuck I want to say and no one has to like it - but I'm going to say it just the same. I welcome all opinions, whether I agree with them or not is inconsequential. I guess I just don't understand the point of having faith in anything if it cannot be challenged now and then to measure it's strength. Not everyone wishes to learn anything deeper than face value, a fact I have a hard time reconciling because I simply don't understand that and don't think I ever will.

Part of the explanation he gave said this:
"I really like you as a person, but a lot of what you put out there really offends me... and I would never dream of asking you to censor yourself, or filter anything. I think that is wrong.

I just don't want to keep coming across material that makes me feel like I am an idiot for having a religion. I would never question anyone's beliefs... and as a christian, I'm pretty fucking proud of that.

I feel that if I was at a party surrounded by all of the people you joke on my religion with... you would deny me.

So that's why I can't read you anymore... I don't want to think bad of someone I know to be a very intelligent, and loving person."
In response, I offered:
I appreciate and respect you taking the time to write this, I really do. I don't think any less of you, I want you to know that - but if you think I would deny you in the scenario you suggest simply because I have views that differ from yours, then I'm confident that you don't really know me at all. The fact that you don't ask me to explain certain specifics - as many of my friends do - so that you can understand where I am coming from indicates that you're not invested in trying to know me. I'm fine with that, everyone has their choice to make and I am quite aware that I'm not everyone's cup of tea.

I don't feel the least bit slighted and I would hope that you don't either, and as I'm willing to agree to disagree on most matters, know that this is something I've had to experience more than this one time.

In particular, I appreciate your stance on censorship and assuming the responsibility for yourself to unfriend me rather than suggest I be someone I'm not. That is something I wished more people were on board with. It's not my responsibility to make anyone comfortable with me or what I have to say/think/feel/believe/do any more than it is yours or anyone's for that matter.

If ever you wish to question me on anything that you find offensive, feel free to do so. I won't mind at all. If not, that is perfectly fine as well. We're adults, and it's not like we're BFFs or something - you don't owe me anything and I don't owe you anything either - I just wanted you to know that I appreciate and respect you taking this time to explain your decision.
I should have added two other points, but I'll do that here and now because I think that both are important. First, if someone holding something questionable up to you that scrutinizes your beliefs or values and you're left feeling like an idiot, then there are a few things going on here. Feeling that you are an idiot has nothing to do with anyone else - that's soemthing exclusive to the one with those feelings. It effectively reduces that belief system and set of values to mere fashion if that's what you're left with. I say fashion because at this point, you've really made something you profess to be so important really trivial and disposable. If your faith is really strong enough to merit being worth having, then certainly nothing I or anyone else says is going to shake it beyond repair - and even if it did, it would have nothing to do with anything but the person and their faith. Shouldn't something that frail and yet so serious merit closer evaluative inspection?

Second, I do question people's beliefs and welcome others questioning mine. There's no better way to learn a person or teach yourself to them. I WANT my friends to judge me, who better to measure me by my own standards so that if I'm falling short, I can get an honest reminder of it and tighten up my game. It doesn't offend me if someone tells me something I take strong issue against, it's just that I don't happen to like it is all.

So, yeah... I suppose I posted this mainly because I learned something valuable here and felt it important enough to pass along.
Comments 
13th-Dec-2007 03:53 am (UTC)
Just as long as I can hug you from time to time? :-)

I love listening to you rant. It helps keep me on my toes. It's too easy to become complacent, and not really care that much. I am happy knowing I have you to count on to bring things to my attention, letting me decide whether I agree or not, or whether it is that important to me, or not. The bottom line is that you say what you want, and respect others' abilities to voice their opinions, as well. It doesn't mean you won't question them on it and push them to find out why they think as they do.

You know...it's not too late for you to be a lawyer, reporter, or a politician. You'd be great at all three. :-)
13th-Dec-2007 04:08 am (UTC)
I thank you - this is precisely the reason for every one of of my public posts on issues of news/politics/religion.

Oh yes it is, way too late - I'd have to have the passion and drive to be any one of those things, and I lost that a long time ago. Besides, I rather like my life as it is without those kinds of complications making it different. I appreciate the compliment all the same!
13th-Dec-2007 04:04 am (UTC)
Either way, I'm going to say whatever the motherfuck I want to say and no one has to like it - but I'm going to say it just the same. I welcome all opinions, whether I agree with them or not is inconsequential.

This is precisely why I friended you in the first place. Well, that the fact that much of what you say, whether I agree or not, simply makes sense to me. Cannot tell you how refreshing that is...
13th-Dec-2007 04:08 am (UTC)
I appreciate it!
13th-Dec-2007 04:16 am (UTC)
I know that there are lot of things that you say that I disagree with (and sometimes even find objectionable). However, I realize that by choosing to read your journal, I've seen the "caveat emptor" and any problems I see (opinion-wise) are at my own risk. There are a lot more things you say that are thought-provoking and worth reading.

(Granted, I might still object if you ever said something that "nobody has a right to say", but I have never yet heard anything like that, and based on everything I have ever read here, I don't think I ever will).

G. K. Chesterton (who was a staunch Roman Catholic) once said something along the lines that if you have a belief system strong enough to be worth believing in, then you shouldn't be afraid to laugh at it.

I feel sorry for people who always get ultra-defensive at their position (whether it's a job, a relationship, or a belief system) - because that indicates that their position is very insecure, if there's a danger that anybody breathing on it could topple it.
13th-Dec-2007 04:26 am (UTC)
Oh, and you've told me as much and called me on things past - and in the resulting exchanges, we have each learned something of value from ourselves and one another!

I believe you are right, that sounds like Chesterton's Orthodoxy, or perhaps Heretics. I need to find those again - thanks for mentioning them!

I could not agree more!
13th-Dec-2007 04:45 am (UTC)
One thing that really struck with me with your post is how your friend assumed that your rants on LJ were indicate of how you would act in person in front of your friends or crowd of people. That was presumptuous. Of course, I'm going on some assumptions here since I have not met you in person either (yet). I would assume your intellectual nature would come out, but it wouldn't be motherfucker this and motherfucker that (unless you knew you were in a crowd of friends where that was casual). Did I assume that correctly? I do use LJ to unleash my frustration, but I would not do that in front of my family at dinner.

You also made another good point. I do read most of your posts and there are a few where I thought you went a bit too far and wanted to challenge you. However, I get the sense the anger may get unleashed on me if I did challenge. That's MY failure--not yours and I will do better on that.
13th-Dec-2007 04:53 am (UTC)
What you get is what you see, but that doesn't mean I'm out hitting people over the head with my ideas. If asked, I'll offer and if provoked I may bite depending on my mood. I'm not going to blast someone off their feet though, unless something they've done deserves it. Even then I still pick my battles carefully. Bottom line, to each his own - I have to live with me.

If you act politely/thoughtfully/inquisitively with me, you'll get polite/thoughtful/inquisitive back. Come with both barrels blazing and I'm likely not going to engage by following it in kind - I'll more than likely try and understand where you're coming from first. Know what I mean?

Edited at 2007-12-13 04:54 am (UTC)
13th-Dec-2007 05:02 am (UTC)
HAPPY PRE-BIRTHDAY!!!

I would think of something witty and insulting to say, but I don't know if you'd find it offensive or not; and that's my intention :D

LET THE SPANKING COMMENCE.
13th-Dec-2007 02:21 pm (UTC)
Thankies, babe!
13th-Dec-2007 05:37 am (UTC)
"If your faith is really strong enough to merit being worth having, then certainly nothing I or anyone else says is going to shake it beyond repair..."

Yup. I'm religious, you know that I am, but nothing you post really dissuades me from my religion, for several reasons. The biggest being that my religion is a personal thing between myself and God, and not even the worst events of my life have lessened it. So why would your posts?

You wouldn't turn anyone away based on their religion unless they first turned you away because of your lack. I know that.
13th-Dec-2007 02:21 pm (UTC)
Precisely my point, you nailed it!
13th-Dec-2007 05:48 am (UTC)
A lot of people try to draw a line of demarcation between the internet and real life... that IRL thing.

What are the differences, really, between people who know one another IRL and stop calling because they're bothered by something the other said or did and people who defriend others on LiveJournal because of something the other wrote? People don't typically communicate very well and, oftentimes, as you pointed out, people don't want the free exchange of ideas because they dislike the contrast. I'll take it a step further and say that they fear the contrast.

I've witnessed some very cavalier attitudes on here about 'friending' and 'defriending', that one should not worry himself over LJ friendships because they're not IRL. Well, why the fuck do we spend all the hours we do online if this wasn't REAL?

People dispense with one another rather casually. I think this is amplified online. And, sometimes, the feelings involved are no different in either scenario. How does it feel to no longer get a call from someone who habitually called you (and you he) over a considerable period of time? How does it feel to suddenly notice a name of someone you considered to be a significant acquaintance to have dropped off your LJ Friends list? I'll venture to say that, for most people, it doesn't feel so nice... and I don't care HOW cavalier someone needs to present himself in order that others, and thus he, are convinced of his thick skin.

The lack of onus and effort is disconcerting. I'm not convinced.
13th-Dec-2007 02:35 pm (UTC)
Well, we actually had met once IRL. What I thought was a bit odd was that this was severing the one tie we have between us - we don't talk on the phone, email, or in any way other than here on LJ - and even that is sparingly. What struck me as particularly odd was
"I really like you & think highly of you and believe you're a loving, intelligent and kind person..."
but I don't want to maintain the one contact I have with you based on this.

I cannot understand the point of only taking into account the opinions of those who agree with you, I don't see how you really learn anything. I couldn't be content in that, so I take for granted that others can. Know what I mean?
13th-Dec-2007 05:58 am (UTC)
"Second, I do question people's beliefs and welcome others questioning mine. There's no better way to learn a person or teach yourself to them. I WANT my friends to judge me, who better to measure me by my own standards so that if I'm falling short, I can get an honest reminder of it and tighten up my game. It doesn't offend me if someone tells me something I take strong issue against, it's just that I don't happen to like it is all."

I recently wrote a post about this kind of thing in my old journal though based on slightly different circumstances. I find it essential that my beliefs be consistent and my actions match those beliefs. I may fail at that goal sometimes, but that's one thing friends can help me with.

P.S. I hope you don't mind that I added you to this lj, we were on each other's f-lists on my old lj, and I'd like to keep up having access to your friends only posts on this end.
13th-Dec-2007 02:41 pm (UTC)
First, LOVE the new icon - stunning, really.

Isn't it funny how people fear being held to scrutiny? As if there could really be any harm in having the people who know you best (or worst, even) calling you into question now and then on things that don't ad up.

Added you back, love!
(Deleted comment)
13th-Dec-2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
But even if you did take offense to something or simply didn't like it, would you unfriend me or just roll your eyes and keep on going? That's what I don't get here.

I had someone last year I believe unfriend me simply because he couldn't handle the amount of negative news & opinion I post - it was affecting him emotionally, and given what he was going through then I totally understood that - but that had everything to do with him and nothing at all to do with me, so no harm, right?

Thanks, Mr.!
(Deleted comment)
13th-Dec-2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks - I'm sending you & your family good energy, by the way.
14th-Dec-2007 01:29 am (UTC) - Re: If you know that the snake will probably bite if you pick it up...
sounds to me like for this person how you say things strongly colours what you say. that can happen when people can't easily decide where the personal ends and the political begins -- and religious belief is one of those areas where that's common. sometimes the personal is political, and then there is no way one can say something that disparages the one without also affecting the other. this is not necessarily a bad thing, just a difficult thing that one needs to take into account if one really wants to communicate.

i usually agree with your basic viewpoint on things, but often not with the way you say them or with the extent to which you take them (because you tar with too large a brush, and you seem to value getting your temper on rather a lot). and occasionally you go in my "hiatus" filter despite our basic agreement on nearly everything. don't flatter yourself too much that people who stop reading you just want yes-men; i think that's a dangerous illusion. for me it's clearly not because i can't brook disagreement (yeah, that'll be the day; i was trained on usenet for two decades), it's because -- too much noise obscures the light, and the world is already so very noisy for me.
14th-Dec-2007 01:59 am (UTC) - Re: If you know that the snake will probably bite if you pick it up...
Fair enough.
14th-Dec-2007 03:14 am (UTC)
You are a heretic, which is just one of your endearing qualities.
14th-Dec-2007 10:34 am (UTC)
p.s. Happy Birthday! :)
14th-Dec-2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
"feel that if I was at a party surrounded by all of the people you joke on my religion with... you would deny me."

I would completely disagree with this statement. And agree that you would never "deny" one of your friends just because your beliefs differ.

I think being so open and honest about who you are and what you believe are such great qualities and is exactly why

You are my cup of tea.
14th-Dec-2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
Well, that's because you know me pretty well and have been in this situation with me before, actually!

Awww - thanks, sweetness!
14th-Dec-2007 05:19 pm (UTC)
I've had this happen for a similar reason: my poking fun at Christian Fundamentalism.

I'm sorry this person's feels his faith is so fragile and weak it cannot withstand critical examination. It sounds as if his beliefs are built upon sand, and not Peter's rock.

There's an old Jesuit phrase that goes somewhat along the lines that a faith that is unable to withstand critical examination is a faith not worth having. I guess that's why Catholics seem to make the best atheists. 8-})
14th-Dec-2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
I love that!!
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