Dangerous Beliefs Lead to Dangerous Actions
It seems clear to me that beliefs lead to actions. I might go so far as to say that all of our actions are based upon our beliefs, but that would leave the door open to objections in favor of instinctive or impulsive reactions to external stimuli. To avoid this objection, I am going to accept that some actions can be explained through mechanisms other than beliefs. The point I mean to make is that deliberate actions are based upon beliefs, and divisive beliefs lead to divisive actions.
This is a problem for several reasons, but the greatest problem is that divisive actions create conflict and reduce the well-being of everyone involved. When people are involved in a conflict, it seems to me that they are tense, paranoid, angry, possibly frightened, and generally stressed. When people are organized as a group working toward a common goal, or even just enjoying the company of the others, the people of that group seem calm, relaxed, joyful, and generally happy.
Us versus Them Mentality
We might consider some examples of this us versus them mentality:
1. The Republicans versus the Democrats
2. The Greasers versus the Socs
3. Literalist Christians versus the Gays
4. The Hatfields versus the McCoys
5. Jack Bauer versus Everyone
6. Batman versus the Joker
7. Extremists Muslims versus the West
8. The Bulls versus the Lakers versus the Celtics
9. The Bulls versus the Bears (financial markets)
10. Evangelicals in America versus Science
11. The Sun’s gravity versus the Earth’s momentum
12. The Protestants versus the Roman Catholics (16th century)
13. The Allies versus the Axis Powers
14. The Alien versus the Predator
15. Biggie Smalls versus 2 Pac
16. Young Earth Creationists verses Mountains of Evidence (literally)
17. Dogs versus Cats
18. The Persians versus the Greeks (before Jesus saved the world)
19. Biological Creationists versus a long list of …ists including Geneticists, Archeologists, Anthropologists, Paleontologists, Biologists, Fossilologists (aka: one who studies fossils), and many, many others
20. The Sixth Empire versus the Galactic Republic
21. Racists people versus people different in appearance or nationality (There is only one human race; look it up)
Now I am aware that many of these examples are silly, actually all of them are silly. It is silly to think the Sun’s gravity is pulling on the Earth because it believes it must—I might classify this example as being impulsive because the Sun is simply reacting to an external stimulus. It is also silly for Jack Bauer to think that everyone was against him even though they usually were during one of his really bad days.
The worst part about this silly list of manufactured conflicts is that some of them are complete fiction, baseless fiction determined to promote continued conflict for all time. Obviously, this includes #17 because there is no good reason for these two groups to not get along. I have actually seen some of the more progressive of these animals get along quite well. By doing so, they both live much happier, more satisfying lives. If only they weren’t so attached to their beliefs.
Potential Solutions to some of these Conflicts
“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”—Mahatma Gandhi
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”—Martin Luther King Jr.
“Fighting for Peace is like screwing for virginity.”—George Carlin
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding,”—Albert Einstein (This is my favorite; this guy must have been some sort of Genius.)
“Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”—Pythagoras
“Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes.”—Robert A. Heinlein
“Together We Stand; Divided We Fall”—Pink Floyd, Hey You
- Evolution versus Creationism: Historic versus Historical (english.answers.com)
- John Smallman – Jesus: What Humans Experience on Earth is a Travesty of What you Truly Are (aquariusparadigm.com)
- Smarter Content Marketing Versus Inbound Marketing (covario.com)