April 10, 2010
It has been sometime since I have given a strong opinion on this issue or that. I often have a hard time capturing an accurate description of my philosophies because they seem to always be evolving as I gain newer information. I try to avoid labels because they don't help; they only bring on overgeneralized stereotypes and judgmental reactions.
Over the last several years I have been on a long journey. I remember several years ago thinking how I wanted to be able to understand opposing points of view without becoming furious all the time, which at the time was how I always seemed to react. Back then I was a bloody red conservative. I could have never imagined that actually making the decision to look at differing views as objectively as possible would change my entire world view so drastically.
I now can accept others' viewpoints as just as valid as mine, in the context of their experiences and worldview. This does not undermine the fact that my perspective is just as valid - for me. In my view, this is much more realistic in relation to how the world really turns today. Diversity is the rule, and I have come to embrace that fact, with the idea in mind that we still have more in common than we have differences.
I do not regret questioning the long-held beliefs of my youth, even though it has caused some friction now and again with some of my closest associations. While I feel I have walked this path despite the uncertainty of where it would lead, I can see why some might believe I am just another example of why people generally are afraid to take those first tenuous steps. It is scary and uncomfortable changing viewpoints and being humble enough to admit you may have been wrong, or that you might even be wrong now. A lot of times along the way I have felt like I was losing my faith because so many things I thought were rock solid beliefs started to crumble before my eyes. But I continue to hang on to things I have always valued greatly, and the other things I let go of.
It has taken me awhile, but I am getting comfortable having views that contradict some of the things I was taught growing up, at church, at school, at home. I feel I am nearing the point where I can talk about those 'aberrant' beliefs openly, regardless of the consequences. I hope to do so in a respectful way. And I hope to bring a perspective that can verify that my perspective and views are not crazy, or unfounded. I hope that someday I can be a comfort to others who feel they have 'unorthodox' political, religious, or social views, to help them feel they are not alone - as I have often felt at times during my journey - and that having differing views does not make them wrong.