I sit the fence on many things. Sitting the fence allows me a great view of both sides. I am not wishy washy, but open minded and willing to learn new things in an effort to gain a better understanding of the world around me. I watch and listen and try to learn. I make my decisions based not only on what I know already, but also by what is presented to me at the time. My decisions are often affected by how they are presented.
EP offers me a place to meet people from all walks of life with every kind of view. Because I am friends with conservatives, liberals, socialists, Christians, Agnostics, Atheists, gay, straight, bi, young, old, male, female, and everything and everybody in between, I am offered the opportunity to read all kinds of stories in a variety of groups. I like reading stories from people outside my circle, too. I love learning about the different perspectives and how these people came to believe what they do.
When I first became a member here, I would actively seek out various groups of people different than myself. Not anymore. I do, in fact, avoid many of the very groups that I had a strong desire to understand better. I‘ve been appalled at the lack of respect or civility I‘ve come across from some of the members in these groups, and I can’t help but take some of the rudeness personally. I’m sure there are many more members here who have found the same thing, so I hope I speak for them, too. I will address one of these groups as an example, although I know this happens in other places, too. This one just happens to hit me the hardest.
I consider myself a Christian although I don’t attend church or affiliate myself with any one religion. While I would like to ask questions, express my doubts, and talk about my upbringing in a church, I’ve found that I will never talk about this here on EP. I have seen much too much hate and ridicule for anyone who dares to express their religious or spiritual beliefs, ask a question, or God forbid, speak out. (And no, I won‘t spell it “g*d“. And while I’m at it, don’t call me “xtian“. I don’t call you *theist.) The “discussions” inevitably digress to nasty barbs, belittling, mocking, caustic sarcasm, and name calling. Some of the names I’ve come across include simpering idiots, morons, retards, ********, parasites, uneducated degenerates, and ignorant *****. When I read this sort of disdainful animosity, I think of my dad. He was a linguist who spoke 7 languages. He was an Italian interpreter in WWII, and at one time a college professor of German and Spanish. He read at least 5 academic or intellectual books a week. He was learning Arabic and reading “The String Theory of Evolution” when he died 6 hours short of his 82nd birthday. He was moral, but not self-righteous. He was the man who taught me to respect others, no matter what their race, gender, or religion. He was a loving family man, a liberal Democrat, and a devout Catholic.
My father was an exemplary human being, humble, honest, funny, warm and kind. To the hate mongers, you offend me when you describe yourself as such. You not only offend me, you offend my dad, and you offend my sense of all that is right in people. Think before you spew your insults and hate. You are only making a case as to why I would never want to be like you.