Ok, big surprise. So I'm still a procrastinator. Here's an interesting post by Cassandra, a conservative blogger who I read frequently. I definitely don't always agree with everything she says, but here's an interesting post on Credo, in which she writes about organized religion and how people tend to see "institutional vs. individual vices."
Here's my response:
Why is it people always conflate individual with institutional vices?...People carry their failures within them, and the Church is at worst a vehicle rather than a root cause of their inhumanity to their fellow men.
That is pretty much a universal truth that doesn’t just apply to Christian churches. There is a big difference between individual and institutional vices, but one that is not seen. There are good, well meaning Communists, Evangelical Christians, Muslims, Socialists, Republicans, Democrats, who are dedicated to making the world a better place through peaceful, interactive means in a way that doesn’t see the “other” as an enemy, but rather colleagues to work with. Colleagues, who may draw from a different set of values, and perspectives, but colleagues nonetheless in this crazy game of life. Unfortunately, depending on who we are, and what we’ve been exposed to, we hear those categories, we think Stalin, Eric Rudolph, bin Laden, Jerry Falwell and Jesse Jackson.
All beliefs are not created equal; and I’m not arguing for moral equivalence. But we need to understand that beliefs come from experience, and that each person’s particular experience, life story, and perspective is just as unique and valid as our own. Once we understand their experience, then you can begin to understand why their beliefs are what they are. You can’t shift a person’s perspective until you know where they stand.
We tend to move in social circles with people who are “like us,” and thus our only representations of “others” are the media. That is why it is important to recognize that the loudest, most repugnant/ridiculous voice does not necessarily represent the millions more who are actually making a difference, albeit in a less showy, media-attractive manner.
I believe that dialogue and conversation with those we disagree with are key to changing the world, one sentence at a time.
And cue the hippie bongo drums… “Kumbaya" :)