Saturday, June 14, 2008

About Godboxing

After I began writing poetry a friend (also a poet) and I had a conversation about a bumper sticker that infuriated her. She felt it was really smug. It said, "Christians are not perfect, just forgiven."

She viewed the bumper sticker as saying, "I do not care how badly I act, because the rules do not apply to me." She may have been right about the folks that had that bumper sticker. I never talked to any of them.

More than that, she viewed the bumper sticker as saying, "I know God. If you do not agree with me, then you must not know God." She did not like when people said, "God is this way, and not that way."

I consider myself a tolerant and polite absolutist. A Hindu friend (not the poet) once said to a small gathering around a professors' lounge table, "John gets along with everyone because his religion views all beliefs as equally valid."

He had me all wrong. I had to break that to him later.

I am an absolutist. My religion believes that "we know." We understand that some people of other faiths disagree with us and believe that they know. But we know they're wrong.

That was obnoxious! How can I be so intolerant?

The key lies in my Hindu friend's confusion. I am very tolerant, but not accepting. However, modern sensibilities often confuse tolerance and acceptance.

I love to learn about other beliefs. I love to compare and contrast their beliefs with mine. I feel no compunction to continuously say, "But I am right and you are wrong."

My poet friend objected to being told that by the bumper sticker. So we wrote Godboxing.

Some of the people with whom I discuss my beliefs are also absolutists. Frankly, I have difficulty understanding how anyone can hold non-absolutist religious beliefs. To me, "non-absolutist religious beliefs" is an oxymoron.

This brings me to my kung fu fist of death argument regarding absolutism. If you hold non-absolutist religious beliefs, then you must believe that I, as an absolutist, am wrong. But people who say that they are right and others are wrong are absolutists.

You intolerant bigot!

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