I write this mid-June 2020 and there has been a lot going on in the world recently.
Rarely have I found myself on social media so much, stunned at what I am witnessing unfold within the world.
Race. Feminism. Trans. Rights. Privilege. Politics. These subjects have been capturing the minds and hearts of many across the world.
This blog post isn’t dealing with any of these subject matters head on, rather I want to ask a simple question with a very complicated answer.
Are we able to have the conversations required to move us (as the human race) forwards?
My sense is that most people want to say yes, but the narrative doesn’t seem to suggest this is happening.
Watching the internet tear people apart for sharing views outside of the crowd mentality has honestly terrified me. What if I find myself under the fire of the mob because I want to ask questions that they think are in and of themselves wrong?
First of all, I want to link a video from Eric Weinstein. Here we see a video released during the #ShutDownSTEM #ShutDownAcademia #Strike4BlackLives #BlackLivesMatter movements – I think it is priceless because here we seem someone speaking out and wanting to ensure there is the ability to have a conversation that challenges the narrative.
‘Everybody’s frightened that they’re going to get called a bigot, and quite honestly, the people we want in science are the people who aren’t frightened. People who have the courage to stand alone.’
I can’t help but feel these sorts of statements need to be reflected upon, thought about and used as tools to ensure we are not standing in incontestable positions claiming that anyone not also standing where we are is wrong, or a bigot, or a racist.
It doesn’t matter if you think the narrative Eric believes in (though I don’t think he goes into WHY he believes it in this video) is wrong. The important note is that he believes that as a society we should be able to have conversations that challenge each other and ensure we are working to correct assumptions because we put forwards our theory’s and see if they add up within the society as a whole.
Please note that here I am classing all of the west as a society – especially the USA and the UK, as we have seen similar issues arise in both countries.
We have seen J. K. Rowling speak up about her views on what it means to be a woman, to then be criticised by the Harry Potter cast because she is viewed as ‘anti-trans’ in her discourse. In defence she wrote and published a letter explaining her views – because rather than allowing a throw away comment to control the narrative, she wants other to understand the position she takes and why she takes it.
You can find her letter here, it is very well written. Once again, I am not saying you need to agree with her, but we need to ensure we are open to others holding opinions that we don’t agree with and trying to work out why they hold those opinions, explaining why we hold our opinions and moving forwards together.
Claiming someone is ‘wrong’, because you happen to agree with the current crowd mentality isn’t anything more than a nod to the crowd and could actually only be a plea that they don’t come after you next.
‘I agree – don’t burn my house down too’.
Bret Weinstein was recently on the Joe Rogan Experience and had a fascinating conversation about wanting to hold the ability to challenge the narrative – I think it’s an essential conversation.
I recently came across an artist called Zuby, who seems to have got a lot of attention recently for speaking up about the movement #BlackLivesMatter and how it isn’t helping, though he is not against the phrase Black Lives Matter. He raises some really interesting points on his Twitter profile, and I would encourage people to engage with someone like Zuby in honest conversation if they disagree with him – because we need sensible, honest, progressive conversation.
The final thing I want to bring to your attention before we close is a recent episode of the Sam Harris podcast ‘Making Sense’, within this Sam looks at the current situation within America and asks some profoundly hard questions, whilst also challenging the listener to reflect on why they might be triggered and outraged if those things are felt.
‘Your capacity to be offended isn’t something that I or anyone else needs to respect. Your capacity to be offended isn’t something that you should respect, in fact it is something you should be on your guard for. Perhaps more than any other property of your mind this feeling can mislead you. If you care about justice, and you absolutely should, you should care about facts and the ability to discuss them openly.’
These might sound like hard words, but within this two-hour episode they made me stir and realise that I often respond to things based on offense, rather than the right and wrong of the statement being made in the wider context of the situation.
I would encourage everyone to listen to this episode. Listen to the statistics that Sam brings out and then move onto other episodes and like-minded podcasts that talk about these things openly, being willing to be challenged.
Why? Because we need to hear both sides engaging in real conversations, not throwing ‘claim bombs’ over to the other side and dismissing everything under the umbrella of evil.
The conversations that need to take place to enable society to move forwards are important. We need to talk about subjects that will trigger people to respond due to historical, current and future situations. But if we don’t find a way to talk about these things correctly, we will be unable to move to a position of unity. These conversations are going to be really hard, because I think we all need to realise that each of us is going to have been wrong, to greater or lesser extents.
I want my children, and their children and their children’s children to understand our history, to see where both sides have gone too far and to have the majority of society enable them to walk a path made possible by the conversations of honest people wanting to reach a better place for us all.
This world needs to be a world where facts matter, where people are free to talk and express themselves, where people are not torn apart by a mob based on an ideology that is accepted without first being proven to be true.
These are just my words. They will offend some and I want you to all know I won’t shy away from talking openly about these things.
_End of Blog Blurb_
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It has taken me a few years to get to a place where I am able to share my loss of faith and to start writing about the journey that I am still on for you all. I hope you find it useful.
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Grammar, spelling, capitalisation and punctuation: I am massively dyslexic. It has taken me years to get to the level I am currently at with writing and I have done this mainly through reading. I want to be better and ask you, reader, to please forgive any errors in my writing. I hope you notice improvement upon improvement over the coming years.
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I’ll see you back here at the same time next week 🙂
Farewell For Now – When Belief Dies
- Farewell For Now
- When Belief Dies #100 – 'Psychedelics, Philosophy & God' with Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes
- When Belief Dies #99 – 'Open and Relational Theology' with Thomas Jay Oord
- When Belief Dies #98 – 'The Take Over' with Daniel Kelly & Roger Bretherton
- When Belief Dies #97 – 'The End?' with Daniel Kelly