Crisis provides the opportunity for change.

War drums beat all around us, raising the shackles of quiet but frightened people feeling helpless. Militant Islam and militant Christians react with ever louder shouts of war. If there ever was a time for reasonable men and women to step forward it is now. The war mongers of Islam and Christianity are so loud it appears to the casual observer that hopelessness is all that exists.
I see opportunity all around me, not just a PollyAnna kind of optimism, but a future full of promise, new alliances, changing power structures, a different type of government that begins with a commitment to preserving the Earth.
Thomas Kuhn wrote about paradigms and their shifts. A belief system exists that seems to explain nature and its workings. Some anomaly appears that shows deviation from the model. As people begin to recognize the departure from the conventional system, some struggle against any change, some embrace the shift. The conflict between those who want to maintain the status quo and those who wish to make changes grows. Conflict generates heat; heat causes a loosening of boundaries. As more people look beyond the status quo or find the status quo insufficient to explain anomalies, a new paradigm emerges. Paradigm A gives way to Paradigm B, and C and D onto ∞.
Whether we discuss Islam/Christianity, belief/evidence, faith/science, these different belief systems create a crisis. Crisis provides the opportunity for change.

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Comment by tom sarbeck on November 16, 2015 at 1:22pm

Daniel, I like your metaphor.

Learning to see through changed eyes is better than stagnating in an oppressive place.

What do you say to a discussion with that metaphor its theme?

If you don't want to start it, I'll give it a try.

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 15, 2015 at 11:56pm

Gerald, I know what you mean, I may never see my preferred future come to fruition in my lifetime. However, if I can see a better way to live and create a family system that learns how to communicate effectively, then perhaps others will recognize the benefit of acquiring communication skills.

The teachers of my five great-grandchildren all notice our family's unique skills of problem solving and conflict resolution. We live in a lumbering town that continues to have violence in the homes of the students. Teachers can recognize domestic violence in the behaviors of the children. When I taught high school, I saw it in the eyes of my teenage students. 

I can't change the world nor can I change the behaviors of my great-grandchildren. I can teach my family members skills when the teachable moment arises, and they discover a happier way to live. They choose a mentally healthy, mature, adult way of life because they like it. 

I don't mean I expect unreasonable behavior for all ages. However, feelings of anger, sorrow, and fear can be managed by even the youngest of the tribe.  

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 15, 2015 at 11:37pm

Jay, I agree that we come into this world with a natural need to belong. Family, tribe, school, city, state, nation, and species all fit into that need category. 

When we are children, many of us think as our parents or community think and we learn how to belong to each domain. Sometimes an anomaly occurs that doesn't feel right to you. You pay attention, you recognize the aberration, and you develop a different way of framing. You create a belief that fits your reasoning. When you were a child, you acted as a child. You are grown now and you put away childish thoughts. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 15, 2015 at 11:29pm

Daniel, your statement, "the only thing I could think of was put on blinders, forge ahead, and think that there was no going back, no lateral movement, only forward" indicates to me that you made the choice not to go back, not to maintain and perpetuate the status quo. To do that, you had to be creative and imaginative. You didn't follow someone else's plan, you created your own. 

You weren't passive, you were active. That is what I mean to be saying. You were not hopeless nor helpless. And just look at what you created! Was this your mother's or father's dream for you? Was it your dream and your accomplishment? 

You appear to me to be a gentle progressive. There was something in your environment that felt like an anomaly to you and you did what was necessary to free yourself from it. 

You have positive energy, you analyse the reality of your situation, you move toward your preferred goal. 

Comment by jay H on November 15, 2015 at 6:52am
Religion and nationalism are two sides of tribal identity. As such, they are as much biologically based as our other social instincts. Hopefully we may temper them a bit but there is little chance of rewiring the human mind that greatly.
Comment by Gerald Payne on November 15, 2015 at 2:26am

I wouldn't hold your breath Joan. Not until I witness the closing up of St Pauls Cathedral will I consider superstition overcome.

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