Oh, the Contradiction

It’s not surprising to find contradictions in our ideas, values, and beliefs.

For example, many who are pro-life also support the death penalty and military intervention that includes swift, violent retribution or the assignation of others. Or, those who say they believe in freedom of speech… at least until they find speech that they find offensive themselves. Of course, those who hold these values ideas believe that they can do so because they themselves hold final judgement as to who receives the benefit of the doubt – or in some cases, have their lives and rights spared – or not.

In other words, they prefer to extend grace to those who they are in agreement with, compassionate for, or have an understanding of. That’s much easier when we see those others as part of our own community or tribe. Those outside of it are seen as enemies and threats to our way of life.

Inconsistencies abound, even in ourselves. That’s because most ideas are only opinions or interpretations rather than facts. Art Markman states, “It would be too much work for the brain to have to enumerate all of the exceptions to the rules you believe in, so it does something easier” and that “all beliefs are contextual.”

They key isn’t to point out the contradictions in others, but rather, to first examine and find those in ourselves. To see the bigger picture beyond the layers of interpretation, opinions, and conflicting ideas and in light of our overarching values. And of course, to extend the same courtesy and compassion for others to do so – especially those outside of our communities.

“Justice is doing for others what we would done for us.” – Gary Haugen.

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