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Over the past few days I have been contemplating “behavior” and “beliefs”.
In a post sometime back about living as a free man, it stated: “In order to live as a free man, a man must be honest with himself. For it is when a man is honest with oneself that he is then able to be honest with another. A free man is dependent upon himself and not another man or government.”
In listening to pundits and reading posts on line, I see a lot of people arguing not from a position that can be propped up with fact as would be in civil debate. Instead they attack from a position that tears the other person apart in a mean spirited way. Because they lack conviction of their belief they can only use personal attacks to engage. They lack respect. They lack wisdom. They lack honesty. They lack Freedom.
I pray for those that hold positions based in hate and ignorance. These often are the same people that exclaim we should all be tolerant of others while they require us to change to their thinking. They are the same that say we should go along to get along, belief and principle be damned.
If a man is to expect others to honor his right to hold a position or belief, then should it not also be that he honor another mans right to believe as he chooses? Not to say that the belief itself should be honored, but their right to believe as they do should be honored and upheld.
In reflecting and of course being honest with myself, I purposefully began looking at the foundational arguments of some of my belief systems. I landed here:
If a man should find that in the course of civil debate it is necessary to attack the other man and not to question for the sake of understanding their ideas and reasons for their beliefs, then that man is not being honest with himslef. If a man is to be honest with himself he will listen openly to another mans ideas. He will listen to their reasoning. He will evaluate and decide honestly for himself if he too agrees with that belief. This is called learning or growth. It requires you to be respectful of another. It requires honesty.
If I find I do not agree it is simple enough for me to smile and declare that ‘I am sorry, but I disagree. I hope that we can agree to disagree on this’.
If a man is strong, not arrogant, in his belief then he should not be threatened by another’s. If he is honest with himself and allows for evaluation of his beliefs both from within and without as a free man, then shall he grow as a person. Then shall we grow as a people.
“If your belief requires you to denigrate another to support your belief, then it is not a belief but arrogance, hatred or ignorance.”
A free man does not support his belief by tearing down another mans ideals. He supports his own belief by declaring it’s honest merit. A belief with a foundation strong in truth and honesty will find companion. For it is God, truth and honesty that are at the center of all that is refuge for a free man.
That is not to say that people will not have different beliefs. It says that a belief that is not based on facts and that cannot be supported with truth is fragile and not well understood. A man that attacks instead of supporting his foundational ideas with truth shows that there is a very good chance he is not being honest with himself in his belief. It shows a weakness in his foundation. A weakness an honest man would identify, accept and shore up. If not, the man is not free.
Let us win the hearts of others in the battlefield of truth with repect and self honesty. Let us also question all of that which we believe in. Let us question it with honesty to oneself and ones God. Let us then be stronger in our foundation of Liberty and make this world a much freer place to live.
~ Eric D. Miller – 2013