One of the major problems with wrong-doers is that they usually don?t know what they are doing is wrong. Sure, the guy robbing the bank knows he?s breaking the law. What about Hitler who thought he did the world six million favors. We know Hitler was evil but it is unlikely that he knew.
This is an important concept. When dealing with people we must understand that they often believe they are right even if they are not. We must also look at the possibility that we are selves are wrong and don?t know it. That?ll mess with your head.
What do we do? I propose that we look at widely held philosophies next to things that are demonstrably true. Folks used to believe the world was flat. It is demonstrably true that the world a roughly spherical shape. In this case, the common belief was incorrect. The belief that one should not go around murdering people is a commonly held philosophy in most places in the world. It may or may not be shown scientifically to be a good idea. We?ll go with the popular belief till it?s proven otherwise.
What about religion then? Should we make everybody be the dominant religion till it can be scientifically proven incorrect? That would seem to make sense till you really think about it. First, most who would propose such a thing probably think their own religion is dominant. When you count worldwide, most Christians would be sorely disappointed by the numbers. They would all be forced to change religion.
The second big problem is that you would have to prove the religion.
Why didn?t you have to prove that it?s bad to murder people then?
Simple, we don?t go around murdering as a social convention. If I agree not to murder you and you agree not to murder me then we can get a lot more stuff done. If we can get everybody to agree to it, it?s even better. Without that agreement, we have to spend all our time watching our backs. Sure, some may try to murder anyway. We say, as part of our agreement, ?We are a group for purposes of not murdering anyone. Furthermore, if someone murders a person of the group the group agrees that we will exact vengeance on the murderer.? That?s why when someone commits a murder in our society they are effectively agreeing to the terms of the agreement. That?s also why self-defense is not the same as murder.
Enforcing a religion, however, is saying, ?Here?s the inherent nature of the Universe. If you don?t agree with me, I will harm you.? That?s quite a bit different. As soon as you try to harm someone who is a member of the group defined above, the full membership of the group has an obligation to give you a good stomping.
It?s always possible that your beliefs are, in fact, the absolute truth of things. First, recognize that plenty of other people have made the exact same claim as you though they believed something different. Secondly, given the limitations on human understanding, it is very unlikely that you have a full grasp on the subject though. I?ll show you what I mean.
Imagine that there is the whole vastness of the Universe. Now imagine the even greater vastness of your Deity of Preference. I use that terminology so this argument will apply to many people. Those are some truly humongous quantities. To put it in easier measures, picture your deity as a Gallon Jug sized entity. Naturally, you would be much smaller. Try to picture your self as, say, a pint jar. Now, pour from the Gallon Jug into the pint jar. Even filled up, you will never fit the absolute understanding of the deity into your pint sized brain. It?s even worse when you add to your brain all the stuff of the world that you must handle all day.
Religion isn?t the only place where well meaning people are trouble. There are plenty of political radicals out there who want to change things for the better. Too often, they are looking at one small part of the big picture and basing their opinions on that. This leads them to want changes that may seem like a good idea but will cause massive damage in the long run.
Again, these people are very well intentioned. They just don?t really know what they?re doing. They can also be very convincing.
If I approach you and present a passionate argument that seems to make sense, there is a good chance that you will believe what I say. If I tell you, for example, that rodeos are wrong because of what it does to horses, you may sympathize a little. You won?t care too much because you think the horses have it pretty good.
That?s when I bring out the other part. I ask if you?ve heard of breaking horses. You?ve probably heard the term, but only a few of you would really know what?s involved. At this point, I can fill in the details that may or may not be correct. If I sound confident and my argument sounds plausible, you might believe me. So, I tell you that they call it breaking because there is a small bone, like the little shoulder bone in humans, that gets broken and makes the horse more docile. Before the bone is broken, the horses like to jump and buck. A cowboy gets onto the bucking horse and rides until the force of impact breaks the bone. Then the horse can jump no more. The bone will heal misaligned, but many horses still show pain.
Does that sound legitimate? I could probably convince a large number of people of it and have them writing letters long before anyone could start telling the truth. My version would become ?common knowledge?, especially among those with no other knowledge of horses.
That?s how easy it is for people to become misinformed and still be upset enough to become politically active about stuff. The don?t mean to do bad things, they just don?t know any better.
What do you do with these people?
Well, step one. Ask them to write out their arguments and site the sources of their information. Often, the inability to do this will be enough to take wind out of their sails.
The next step, if needed, is to present a more thorough argument against their position and try to convince them of your stance. You will have to argue both logically and emotionally.
The third step is to ask them why they hate children. This will put them on the defensive. You demand to know why they hate children. They?ll ask what you mean. You must answer incoherently about how their proposal causes massive damage to innocent orphans and is the most cruel and heartless thing you have ever seen. You must loudly ask Jesus to forgive them for their cruelty.
The final step, if none of the others work, is to encourage them to look like they started violence and snuff them in self defense.
Remember, just because someone doesn?t mean you any harm, it doesn?t mean they won?t harm you. Electricity doesn?t mean you any harm but it?ll sure throw you across a room.