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Ideological Blinders

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JadedAtheist

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I've been through a lot, and seen a lot of shit in my relatively short years on this Earth and one thing I notice more and more are the patterns of human behaviour. I mentioned in my last post about the pattern of behaviour that usually occurs when one takes up a new religion hobby or even language. Today I want to touch upon other effects that happen when one takes up a ideology.

 

When I was a Christian, like many new converts I was zealous to preach the gospel to friends and family and go out handing tracts and door knocking. I attended church faithfully and involved myself in as much ministry as possible. I pushed people away with my obsessiveness over my newfound religion and I also succumbed to a more serious issue - absolutely everything was interpreted through my new Christian lens, and as a result, when I analysed information I would sometimes disregard the weightier matters of an issue simply because the lesser matters seemed more concrete in my religion.

 

I'll illustrate with a pretty common example: abortion. You see, all that mattered to me was that children mustn't die. Under no circumstances could I permit it. My ideology prevented me from empathising with the women who get abortions and truly appreciating and understanding the historical struggles they had prior to its readily available access. Further, my mind was essentially closed. I could not see the other angles, some of which don't just include empathy but actual facts which would be completed disregarded because of my blinders.

 

Ideologies often have this effect, they blind us to the facts, prevent empathy with the other person and even cause us to sometimes demonise them. In some ways I feel like this is a somewhat juvenile response that one should grow out of when they stop taking themselves so seriously, but often times they never do. This leads me to talk briefly about feminism.

 

I do not have an issue with feminism, I want everyone to be on equal footing with everyone. I don't wish to see inequality so of course I have no issue with this ideology. I do see from time to time (not all that common in general, but these people hoard in some places more than others) women that take this ideology to the point that the above issues occur.

 

I came across a blog today concerning a screenshot of a facebook conversation. Basically a girl said that men are dicks and one boy countered the numerous time he's tried to be nice to her such as buying her valentine cards with no response, buying her tickets to a band only for her to take the tickets and take someone else, asking her for a dance and have her tell him she'll be back in a few minutes only to never return and so on. He concluded by saying that sometimes women can be dicks too, and that she's one of them.

 

Now, this feminist blog basically responded with saying that these guy is feeling entitled to responses to his advances and doesn't deserve them. If that is all that is seen in his response, the most important information there is lost due to that person's blinders. Assuming this boy felt entitled to a positive response to his advances, the girl in question treated him like dirt each time. Stealing tickets and telling him you'll be coming back when you won't are really just jerk things to do even if he was acting that way. Now, the only reason to see him as some entitled jerk is because your ideology has demonised men and removed empathy from the equation. The girl was acting like a dick, and he called her out on her hypocricy. That is all.

 

Though this is frustrating to see, it is one of the tamer responses I've encountered. About a year or two ago in a topic regarding abortion I believe, a member of this forum posted a series of rhetorical questions to men. The essence of the post is that most men have committed rape in some form or another. I have seen a blog by a woman who advocates such thoughts, but I never expected encountering someone on here with such unhealthy and distorted views. Once you apply a stereotype to people, especially in such a way that it demonises those outside of your in group, you have a sick and unhealthy worldview and you need to take a couple steps back. This obviously applies especially to religious people, but as soon religion isn't the only place that this poison can occur. Unfortunately, it even happens in ideologies that stand for the most moral and upstanding principles like equality and I think it's important that we are mindful of this and self monitor to not allow it to happen to ourselves.

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I would counter it isn't so much the ideology but the level of zeal in which it is practiced. ;) Ideologies, in and of themselves, are almost necessary in order for people to reach like minded consensus on certain issues. It's the practicing of those ideologies that go overboard.

Like the abortion issue for instance. I am pro-choice, but I am not going to condemn every single person that doesn't share my ideologies about human life as insensitive and selfish. There are many who are anti-abortion who do not protest, condemn women who use the service, and most certainly offer reasonable feelings as to why all life is precious without being fanatical. I can't say everyone that subscribes to a Republican ideology is a bigot, because there are many Republicans who don't follow along with the louder, more assholish members.

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Looks like I wasn't clear with what I was trying to say smile.png The byproduct of taking on an ideology is what I stated above, which is generally caused by zeal. I kinda hinted at by saying this is something people should grow out of, which I was referring to their zeal to their ideology. Zeal + Ideology = above results basically smile.png

 

All of us hold many ideologies, and oftentimes we start off zealous and the above can result but with time we calm down and have a more sensible approach or better yet, we're never zealous to begin with smile.png Point being, even if we're zealous about a good cause (like feminism), it can have negative results.

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I thought you did, but when I read "Ideologies often have this effect, they blind us to the facts, prevent empathy with the other person and even cause us to sometimes demonise them." - I wondered if you did mean being overzealous, not having ideologies.

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Sure, I think I could have been more clearer had I mull over it some more. As you pointed out, I had been discussing more than one concept while referring to only the one; basically not letting anyone in on what I was thinking of exactly when referring to behaviors associated with ideologies - that being behaviors associated with ideologies held with zeal.

 

In saying that though, even without zeal I think what I said stands for the most part - we need to be careful if with them. If we begin stereotyping or generalizing, then we've got an unhealthy view and need to step back. Also, you're quote is indeed true for many holding ideologies whom I would definitely not class as zealous, specifically the Sunday Christian types.

 

But, this wasn't the point I was making, I was more talking about as mentioned zeal + ideology :) Thanks for pointing it, gotta have someone out there to help keep my game up :)

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It is not the ideology nor the zeal that makes one insensitive or intolerant of others, rather it is the mal-practice of such beliefs.

 

Take Christianity for instance, most people who identify as Christians believe abortion is wrong and sinful. Now that is fine as long as that is what disciplines they apply to themselves. The problem starts when such a Christian decides to go beyond themselves and seek to enforce such disciplines on non-Christians. I am a Christian and a very zealous one at that, but my zeal and discipline is for my self and for those who choose to fellowship with me in the same Christian doctrines. Are we bigots because we refuse to indulge in "sins" that non-believers allow for themselves?? Definitely not. We make our choices and allow them their choices. If they deride and demonize us for not partaking in their liberties, then they are the bigots because they have not allowed us the freedom to exercise our beliefs for ourselves. 

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