Treat everyone like they are your friend – even if they are not.
That is from my five year old child summing up the philosophy of Jesus*. We were talking about how to deal with classmates who are not being friendly. It struck me that this might, just might, be relevant to the current rhetoric surrounding the humanitarian crisis of Syrian refugees.
*We live in the pervasively Christian middle of South Carolina.
UPDATE: After viewing and hearing whispered rumors (this is called irony) of the discussions following this post, I’ve decided to take down from The Finch and Pea for several reasons. A version will remain posted at She Thought.
First, The Finch and Pea is my intellectual playground. “On Catholic Priests and Sketchy Skeptics…” was written in response to a specific request from friends within the Skeptical Movement to share my thoughts on the negative communication strategies within their community. It was directed at that community and belongs in a venue directed at that community.
Second, sub-point in the article regarding the negative impact of falsely assuming that gossip widely shared within a group, but not outside the group can have on people new to the community. This point is important, but somewhat tangential to the main thesis, which is that gossip paired with public silence distorts the perception of problem behaviors in the community.
In addition, it included a reference to an individual’s widely acknowledged reputation within the community. Despite extensive disclaimers that this reference was specifically restricted to the most superficial level of widespread gossip, it has been misconstrued as a direct allegation of misconduct, which it was not (indeed the rest of the article suggest such a reputation can develop with no history of misconduct). Reviewers of the article agreed that the sub-point could not be made without such a reference, at least not without massive hypocrisy.
Nevertheless, this has completely distracted from the main thesis.
As I have said all along, I think it is up to the community to set its standards of behavior and I am, therefore, willing to acquiesce to them. I may believe that you need to rethink them, but I will still acquiesce to them.
1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
– Genesis 1:1-2 (King James Version – KJV)
And then he made humans, at least twice-ish. Embarrassingly, he seemed to only make one family, which meant that when it came time for Adam and Eve’s son, Cain, to go looking for a bride, he was not going to go looking very far from home.
If you are not descended from a line of Egyptian pharaohs, now is the time to say “EWWW!” and start wondering why all of humanity doesn’t look like Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel. Continue reading