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 Reunited with an old friend and promptly lost
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2009 :  09:15:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Basically, you have to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them. I may continue to debate with my brother about many of his irrational beliefs. But he will still be my brother and we can still have a good time together. I have a good friend who is a fundamentalist Christian. Less so now then when we became friends (he accepts that evolution happens now) but is still very churchy as filthy would say, and conservative politically even though he views all politicians as scoundrels. Leave the religion out and he is also a very good skeptic, even with his huge blind spot. But then, religion isn't the only thing skeptics are concerned about, and that leaves many areas open for agreement.

I value his friendship, which is real. I know that in a crisis he is one of the people I can trust. For example, I had him down as an emergency contact if anything happened to my son at school and I couldn't be reached. We are also both foodies and love cooking. In fact we have a lot in common.

And I'm not likely to cut my brother loose either. I suppose I even enjoy my debates with him. And we are able to keep that area of disagreement separate from the rest of our relationship. In both cases, while I think they have beliefs that are completely irrational, there is more good coming out of those relationships than not.

I will not stop being an activist for critical thinking, and will continue to promote skepticism wherever I can. But I also value the good that comes from knowing certain people I may never be able to reach. When the subject comes up, I am very clear about where I stand. If I were to lose them over that, well, what can I do? But that hasn't been the case.

Some people think we are more than the sum of our parts. I doubt that. But we are at least the sum of our parts, and some of those parts may be very good, even if some of them are completely out of whack...






Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2009 :  09:46:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One of the reasons I pursued skepticism as deeply as I did was a dear friend who spent thousands of dollars on colored water. I was deep into New Agey stuff, but more as something to explore, rather than something to swallow whole. He would spend hours arranging things in his house and yard to get the energy right. We were part of a New Age group. I don't see that crowd anymore since we moved away. Wonderful people, though. I kept my mouth shut most of the time about instances where people just were too, well, willing to swallow incredible things, but if asked a direct question I tried to respond honestly, but as kindly as I could.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2009 :  13:13:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
astropin wrote:
I ask because if this is just stuff he spouts off about but takes absolutely no action on then it might just be easier to let it go.
I think this is a really important point. When I lived in Ohio I had a friend who had a really unique and bizarre worldview. He believed he could channel "the fifth dimention" and devoted a great deal of his time to making record of the things he supposedly witnessed in this alternate universe through years and many books of writing and literally hundreds of paintings, drawings, and sculptures. He claimed to have witnessed these sort of spiritual beings who engaged in certain types of rituals and I remember that they rode in a ship. He didn't care if people accepted his beliefs as true or not, but if people laughed at him or were otherwise rude he was offended (and in my opinion, rightly so.) He wasn't pushing his beliefs on anyone, but he'd gladly speak at length about them to anyone who was genuinely interested. And his weird beliefs didn't lead to any harmful actions.

But my friendship with this person had nothing to do with his beliefs. It was based on other interests we had in common, his warmness, his wisdom in other areas, and his talents as an artist and musician. I gained a lot by being friends with this person, and lost nothing.

Most if not all people have some weird and unsubstantiated beliefs at some time or another. But in personal, social situations it is inappropriate to get up their butts about it unless they open themselves up to that by expressing desire for a debate or by engaging (or planning to engage) in harmful action based on false beliefs.


"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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