The Force is Weak in This One…(or “Your t-shirt might accidentally convert someone”)

So here we are.  A reactionary blog to something I read in the news.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2012/05/03/ns-jesus-shirt-student.html

Who the hell does this kid think he is,  defying authority and expressing his beliefs in such an aggressive manner?   SHAME, SHAME! I Say.    I’m just kidding…it’s cool William,  just ummm….wash the shirt between wearings okay?

I think this incident is an excellent example about how some people in society are attempting to molly coddle us into a hyper-sensitive puddle of gasoline.   One spark and BANG!!! we’re offended and banning t-shirts and writing blogs and blowing things up!!

We’ve become a society that thrives on self-entitlement,  righteous indignation and persecution complexes.    It seems that people expect a nanny-state to protect them from things that are offensive.

All that being said,  the cause of this is pretty noble.  People want everyone to feel included and be happy.  (You can sing “It’s a Small World Afterall” here if you want).

Sometimes its not going to work.   Sometimes you have people with plus-size chips on their shoulders,  looking for any excuse to call attention their down-troddenness.

When someone complains that they find something pretty innocuous as someone proclaiming they believe that Life is Wasted without Jesus on a t-shirt as offensive,  then where does the problem lie?

A couple of examples:

You all know that 2 weeks ago I adopted a new dog.   Colorado has assimilated well but my cat Gus has freak outs of howling and hissing at her,  despite the fact that I’ve pointed out to him that if she was of a mind she could rip his head off.
So,   following the philosophy of some people I would call Colorado a bad dog and punish her for encroaching on Gus’ imagined fiefdom,  or,   I could chastise the established Gus for excluding the new-comer and possibly making her feel insecure.

Do either of those sound right?   If you said yes,  then stop reading here.   The fact that you’re reading my blog is embarrassing me.

I spend time with both animals.   Sometimes Gus gets exclusive attention when Colorado is in the room and vice versa (he’s coming around).    Colorado sees him trying to swat her as a game (which I’m sure isn’t helping).

A more direct example.

A few decades ago I was watching this afternoon talk show hosted by a woman who will remain nameless,  but suffice it to say it was long before she retired after 25 years to run her own network.

The subject of the show was sensitivity training or something like that.    They had a multi-ethnic panel.    There was an older white woman who was a waitress who talked about things she learned at racial sensitivity training.    She used the example that if she abruptly set a plate in front of a black diner that it could be seen as a racially insensitive act.    The host then turned to a black member of her panel,   a young woman who looked rather shy and uncomfortable who dutifully intoned that if a waitress had done that to her she would view it as a race thing.]

Even back in the dark ages of the 1990’s I was a bit stunned by this.    Why on earth would a rational, thinking human being automatically go there and not think,  “Oh,  she’s having a bad day,  or hey, gravity works,   or hey,  maybe its not how I look but rather how I’m acting,   or maybe  she doesn’t like my pro-Jesus t-shirt”.

The reason amongst our society of  “Holiday Trees” and “Seasons Greetings” should be obvious.

If you’re offended by something,  its obviously not your problem,  its everyone else’s!

Let me be clear here.   I’m not talking about deliberately provocative, offensive, demeaning statements.    I’m talking about passive expressions of faith or belief.

We need to mature culturally.   We need to learn to react to someone’s moral indignation over the existence of a city hall Christmas tree,  or a t-shirt pronouncing the wearer a follower of Satan as expressions of ideas  or adherence to culturally ingrained ritual,    not as tinder for a society consuming conflagration but as an opportunity to educate, discuss and explore different ideas and beliefs.

Of course there are people who feel that if you ask about their faith that you’re challenging it (or maybe they’re blustering because they don’t know the answer).    Now wouldn’t that be silly…getting into a fist fight with someone not because you thought they were attacking your beliefs but because you didn’t know the answer to their question so decided to make it an “intolerance” thing.

You might be wondering why I titled this “The Force is Weak in This One”.   I’m going to tie that in right now.

First, it’s May 4th (So May the 4th be with you),  but if you are threatened by someone else’s pronouncement of a belief that runs counter to your own isn’t that a sign that the strength of your belief is weak?   Or, to put simply,  that you are not confident and secure with your own belief structure.

I mean really,  why do you care that I’m going to burn in hell because I’m a Buddhist and don’t believe in Jesus Christ?  I’m certainly not concerned,  and don’t really care that you think that.

Just like you shouldn’t care that I think holding such feelings is having a negative effect on your kharma.

Of course,  if you go around making some pronouncement like “Life is Wasted without Jesus” then you should expect to be challenged.   After all debate and discussion are opportunities for growth.

So I would ask William this:

In my life I have saved lives,  healed the sick,  designed systems that provide doctors with clinical information in a timely fashion which has also saved lives.

I live my life according the Buddhist precepts of  Wisdom, Kindness and Compassion and like to think that outside of the people who are still drawing breath thanks to me,  that I make people’s lives better.

As previously stated,  I am a Buddhist.   I do not believe in Jesus Christ as humanity’s savior.  Do you honestly believe my life has been wasted?

One further question:

Abraham,  Moses, Noah and various other people who appear in the Old Testament did not have Jesus in their lives  (as he was yet to be born).   Were their lives wasted?

If not,  please explain.

(“It’s just my belief” is a perfectly acceptable answer…just so you know)

Feel free to respond via comment or email (my email is my full name @gmail.com)   I will publish your comments in full.

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2 thoughts on “The Force is Weak in This One…(or “Your t-shirt might accidentally convert someone”)

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