It is interesting to listen to differing perspectives, whether it be politics or religion. I know some people who exclusively listen only to one perspective, always filtering out any opposing opinion. Within either group there are those who only see their own platform and filter out the other. When we step back to look at the whole story, however, we begin to learn things that would not have been clear otherwise.

Picture two stages, both with “actors” who always stay on their own stage. The stages are built high upon piers, are far enough apart from each other that a person cannot leap from one stage to the other, but close enough to clearly see and recognize the people on the other stage. The actors look down at their own stage and see solid wood, nice and safe and sure. But each group can see under the other group’s stage, and they can see the structural problems under the other group. They yell across at each other and point out the problems, but the other group looks down, sees the solid platform, and feels so secure that they just smile and reply with the problems that they see under the other stage. Each group thinks the other a fool. This will continue indefinately as long as nobody steps down from the stage and takes a look at the whole picture. In fact, there are those who, feeling so sure about things, will never, ever see the need to take a better look or to listen to anything outside of their belief system.

Members of every group have been taught from birth that the truth is what they see from their position, and to attempt to find any other answer is the same as stepping away from the real truth and is punishable by certain destruction. What person, whose belief system was handed to them by their loved ones, would choose to leave their own stage in search for answers? Almost no one. What person, having taught their own children to stay on the stage, would risk learning or teaching anything contrary? Almost no one. Taking these risks is tantamount to insanity for any member of any group. So Ted Kennedy lives and dies a devoted Democrat, Rush Limbaugh will do the same as a Republican. They do as they were taught. Within religions it is the same, the vast percentage of each religious group will live and die believing they have the true answer, and will block out anything that might interfere with their teachings, whether they be Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Budhist, or anything else.

Now imagine that one of the “actors” decides to step down and look under both stages. He discovers new truths that his group is unaware of or has ignored. What a risk of friendships and respect it is to call out to his group and describe the problems he has found. Should he take that risk or not?

~ May 9, 2010

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