Culture and Beliefs: the Backbone or Obstacle of Society?

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 26th Feb 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Philosophy>Logic

What do you Believe In? Are you one of those who will defend your beliefs till your death? Or are you simply a member of the silent majority by whom ignorance ensures good ideas never win? With tolerance at an all time low this leaves he world with quite a challenge about ideologies.

What do you Believe In?

Beliefs and the cultures we grew up with are one of the fundamentals of our personal philosophy, yet for every person believing in one thing there are perhaps an equal number who oppose the view or worse are totally ambivalent to it. This writer's personal upbringing taught me to respect beliefs of others, even if you do not agree with them; furthermore it was a part of that same philosophy that it is important to question everything, seeking answers that satisfy you and only you. This may be a little of a dichotomy, but it is one of the challenges life brings. The beliefs in my own family range from the revolutionary to the reactionary and every shade in between, so here clarity of belief is important.

It is true that there are many belief systems in this world, many good, many bad, and many that are outright destructive; yet each has a following, often an ardent person that will take an ideal beyond its logical conclusion, perhaps even till their death; it is possible to understand the martyr, the person who is willing to stand by their beliefs, defending them even at the cost of their own life, but not the fanatic that believes they have the right to kill others as they commit suicide in the illusion that they are empowering their beliefs - they commit a sin according to any mode of thought.

Whether an idea or belief is good or bad can only relate to the eye of the beholder, thus to the Catholic any Protestant, Jew, Muslim, or other religious beliefs will be seen as erroneous; yet from the other angle, the Protestant, the Jew, or the Muslim the opposite is true, which does not make either party correct. Beliefs are indeed curious things because there is no arbiter of correctness, no judge, no jury, and nor can there ever be because each of us will have differing views on a wide variety of topics, yet at the same time even political opponents find many policies upon which they have common ground and can work together for the common good on these issues, yet remain bitter enemies of other issues.

Tolerance at an All Time Low?

Often today, though, it seems that tolerance of others is at an all time low, yet we do not have to be in agreement to work together for common good and that is something we should try to do more of; this can be done without sacrificing your ideology.

In some parts of the world ideological conservatism has too great an influence (especially that based on religion) and needs to be tempered with some practical reality, all too often fanaticism is the breading ground for mistrust and hatred - the cause of too many of the world's evil-doings, simply look at the number of terrorist attacks that happen globally to have some idea of this impact; yet it is not only terror groups that are the breading ground of destructive fanatical thoughts, governments - even elected ones, seek to take away the rights that people have fought hard to win over many centuries in the name of national security. The attitude of government is potentially worse than that of the terror groups as people want to believe that their governments are protecting their interests, where at times the opposite is all too true.

Rigid Ideologies!

Some people cling to what they see as sacred ideologies instead of cutting through scriptures and looking for a deeper meaning and thinking about how it applies to human life as lived today, remember when the holy books were written much of the modern technology or societal conditions could never possibly have been conceived; thus modern society could arguably have no relationship to classical times, or could it? Both Jesus and Mohammed wanted better conditions for their people and their faiths acted as a focal point for that to happen, it is doubtful either could have predicted the popularity of their words 1500 or 2000 years later, yet would either be happy about the direction elements of their respective faiths have taken over the years?

Truth is new conditions require new rules and we have to take a practical approach to living life in the modern world; some of the old rules laid down in holy books may no longer apply, yet other rules need to be re-applied to our modern lives. Truth us all too many fanatics stick rigidly to the letter of their holy books instead of interleaving these ideals with the practicalities of modern life; it is important to take a practical approach rather than being stuck in the past, we have much to learn from the past and generally this should help society not to repeat the mistakes of our forefathers. All too sadly rigid ideologies lead to evil rather than good, the horrors of Nazi Germany being one of the most potent images that can be identified over the past 100 years, yet we can also see incidents of this happening in parts of the world today.

Intransigence can often block the need for change and this is where a radical change is required - one example of this is the involvement of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition in bringing to a head the need to build a consensus for peace in Northern Ireland in the middle of the 1990's, see - Struggling for Peace: How Women in Northern Ireland Challenged the Status Quo.. But for the courageous action of a small group of women it is possible that conflict would have continued to the present day. Conditions may not be perfect in that territory today and there may be many ideals that have not been attained, but by putting away the gun it has been possible to come to some form of consensus that is leading to some change - a lesson that could be learned elsewhere.

Fighting for What we Believe in

The majority of people are not prepared to fight for what they believe in, but we should remember some important thoughts in this area, Mahatma Gandhi once stated “Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth” and of course there is no reason to give up fighting for the truth, yet according to Thomas Jefferson “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine”, it is also important to remember the words of Søren Kierkegaard “Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion" (my emphasis), it is therefore better to have an opinion and be a minority-man than to act by default, knowing nothing; this is the basis of fighting for what we believe in.

Other Pages...

The following are some other pages by Peter B Giblett that may be of interest:

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Tags

All Time Low, Arbiter Of Correctness, Backbone, Belief, Beliefs, Culture, Fighting For Beliefs, Mistrust And Hatred, Modern Life, Obstacle, Tolerance, Trust

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
27th Feb 2013 (#)

A thoughtful and provocative piece, Peter. I suspect that Once cultural ubiquity transitions things once 'believed' into things 'known,' dark ramifications often surface.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
27th Feb 2013 (#)

David, this is a very dark piece, but it needed saying. Thanks for the comment.

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author avatar Buzz
27th Feb 2013 (#)

There's nothing to lose listening to new concept. An open mind, rather than be stuck to old beliefs, and even fight for it and repress people who try to rectify them before the people, is tantamount to "intellectual hooliganism."

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author avatar C.D. Moore
27th Feb 2013 (#)

We see what we believe and then react to it as if it was true.
Mutual respect for different veiwpoints would be nice. As you said Peter, "beliefs are indeed curious things."

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
27th Feb 2013 (#)

When ones faith says to love our enemies and do good to those who despitefully use us , and yet , to oppose all forms of evil and avoid such as conduct themselves in such a way ... the lines become rather thin and hazy at times . Every day becomes a testing ground and a maze or mine field to navigate for all of us Peter. A daily challenge methinks .
Bless you for making us think
Stella

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author avatar Buzz
27th Feb 2013 (#)

We have known you, Peter, for skipping moderation of articles which you find not in agreement with your beliefs. And most writers will find you not of the objective kind as when people to whom a write up or an article, which is not to your liking will not pass muster on your criteria more because of your beliefs than the moderation system. I'm sorry I said this but it's true, isn't it?

The fact that you preach correctness in speech and writing makes you all too much vulnerable to errors in your own writes, and Uthrania and Reni will point that out if if you care to ask them where you got it wrong, letter perfect.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
28th Feb 2013 (#)

I is not possible to moderate every piece from every writer, even if you are on he site 24 * 7 (which really is impossible actually), and besides I work my way through the moderation list and despite your wishes another moderator gets here first. BTW to be clear I helped Uthrania Seila and Reni with Uthrania's first articles when she had technical difficulties, please as them.

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author avatar johnbee
28th Feb 2013 (#)

confused unreal hypocrisy

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
28th Feb 2013 (#)

Thought provoking, Peter. In a modern world without borders, where one world, mobility and inter-connectivity are the buzzwords, stringent religious beliefs create even hatred within families. But when we have live and let live attitude, things are normal as I know of husband and wife living harmoniously though practicing different faiths. I feel religion is hijacked by few for own ends and they are hypocrites - one rule for them and another for their followers who are even brainwashed to kill others whose only sin is they belong to another religion! And they even use them as tools to kill others of the same ilk. For me, doing good without any borders brings bliss as nothing else can. Religion should not lead to division within societies - us and them - and it is clear we are from the same source - made of the same matter. We should practice more their essence than be consumed by rituals. A harmonious life should be our goal with love trumping hatred - then we see all as just part and parcel of us. The few evil reside everywhere and the majority good may have to assert more as you have opined - siva

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
28th Feb 2013 (#)

Siva, I feel the trigger for another article. I have felt that there is one basic truth the vast majority of humanity is good they are struggling to do the best for themselves and their families, for them tomorrow will bring new hope, yet there is a very small percentage that seem to have pure evil in their heart and the worst of these are those that pursue their evil intent through the "will of god".

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author avatar Delicia Powers
1st Mar 2013 (#)

Many points to ponder, Peter...

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author avatar johnbee
3rd Mar 2013 (#)

It seems that you are raising the roof but not the bar. Deep points to consider.

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