Its interesting to inspect that which unearths from a process of critical thinking. One of my weaknesses (strengths) is my inability to apply logic to only a single instance without further applying it across the board. I was once told by a professional psychologist who awkwardly suffered from confirmation bias that the scientific method cannot be applied to everything.
Naturally, I disagreed with him.
Inspection of that which has been unearthed can lead to all sorts of confusing conclusions, both real and imagined, and it takes formidable constitution (those of us who require it - e.g. dentin probably only requires validity of the knowledge rather than quiet reflection upon it) to question our own core values should it to permeate that deep. And almost everything I touch eventually does.
My miserably disjointed Impermanence post (which I understand is a gem amongst the rough to the linear-thought crowd) touched on many things I needed to flesh-out at a later date. As there are many things yet left unsaid, I've saved these commentaries for an as-needed basis, which is currently allegiances.
I was thinking about Christ the other day. Or the Catholic church - I don't remember which - and the outpouring of sentiment against either Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code or J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter (very likely both) at the time of their release, and I got to thinking about all that fear. So much unmitigated fear. There's healthy fear - that which triggers our fight-or-fight response and creates in us an ability to become hyper-aware. But that's not what this feels like. This feels like hysteria. Phobia. The wrong kind of fear.
As I was contemplating Christ, or the Catholic church - I don't remember which - I was struck with how Old Testament fear is a dumb way to motivate your flock. Especially given mankind's penchant for instant gratification at the very reasonable price of an irresponsible future. Fire and brimstone sucks today - but if it means I can bang hot chicks now and suffer that shit later, sign me up! No, what should work best is freely sharing knowledge for a hope of understanding. Solid, repeatable, metrics as to why following specific deities or religions are advantageous over others. Not fear. Not unprovable threats of missing out on everlasting life.
When I was attending the Worldwide Church of God it was never suggested that we spend some time with other religions to see if would be a better fit. Why? Because ours was the true Christian church. All other Christians were going to be cast into the Lake of Fire during the Third Resurrection. Seeking salvation elsewhere was blasphemous treason against the Kingdom of God. In reality, the church survived on tithes and could not afford to lose membership. Fear.
I'd suggested that only by contemplating, contrasting and comparing contrary ideologies would you truly believe in something with all your heart, and more importantly, all your mind. Its difficult to stand up for something you believe in when you don't know why you believe in it. Which, because I had used the word allegiance, made me wonder if what I'd said was also applicable to one's sovereignty.
Its been many years since I've been released from my vow to defend this Nation with my life:
"I, Eric Howton, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
Yet while I found recanting the divinity of Christ earth-shattering to the "pre-current-me", I'm finding the same logic behind pledging allegiance to this nation - my nation - even moreso. Why is that?
When I was growing up we still had to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school - something we no longer have to do. And while the words "Under God" were added by President Eisenhower in 1954, one thing which wasn't forced upon us children outside the home was daily prayer. American flags lined the street during the more patriotic holidays, less so scenes of Christianity outside the odd Nativity scene or "HE IS RISEN" signs during the pagan Vernal Equinox. We've been indoctrinated to be Americans since a very early age, and as a nation of religious freedom, more aggressively.
But this is okay, right? Absolutely! Unless you're North Korean, for example. Better to understand how your ideology works and compares to others and given the freedom to choose, for only then it is truly freedom. That being said, I have lived amongst other ideologies, and for those who get bent out of shape over the differences in the Democrats view of our nation versus the Republican view, I mock you openly, for I have seen Democracy versus Socialism, and Communism and there is no comparison. I do not give my allegiance to the United Sates freely anymore, rather it has been earned.
I wonder what other things in my life I will find suffer or thrive from blind vows of permanence?