True Believers

"What we need is a new kind of theological critique - not a polemic, not a debunking, not even a 'restatement in contemporary terms.' We need a natural history of theology, wherein the development of religious ideas and practices is studied, not as something good for or bad for it, but as a form of life itself, like a particular species of flower or bird. At first sight it may seem that no approach could be more insulting than this to the true believer. For he demands above all to be taken seriously, to know whether we are with him or against him. To such a person it is subtly but devastatingly irritating to have the discussion moved to an altogether different level, as, for example, to go into the problem of why he personally wants a firm agreement or disagreement with his point of view. This is likewise the familiar psychoanalytic gambit of 'bugging' someone who wants to argue the pros and cons of two football teams, by diverting the discussion to the reason for his interest in balls. An archbishop of Dublin is reported to have said of the Church, 'You may persecute us; we are quite used to that. You may argue with us and attack us: we know very well how to handle ourselves. But the one thing we will not tolerate is that you should explain us.'" - Alan Watts, "Beyond Theology"

"I'll admit it: It used to be very frustrating and I'd act out the frustration. I'd come on and scare them, I'd wag at them, I'd shoot wake up colors at their eggs.

Occasionally, it worked. Not very often.

Too often, they'd go counterphobic and call me crazy.

I was smart enough to stay this side of the line which borders impolitic behavior from the politic; so they just found reasons to leave me alone and cancel my minor votes, not my major votes.

I do it differently now. I used to make-wrong on them for being unconscious. That is, their unconsciousness of what I thought they should be aware was very much not OK with me.

That made things worse.

I got to look at my own unconsciousness of the ramifications around being on a make-right on myself and a make-wrong on them. I was resisting them being where they were, and they stayed there.

It was (and is, if you're there) sort of like being stuck in one of those little finger-puzzles you used to be able to get in Border Town shops or in Chinatown curio shops wherever: The harder you pull, "trying" to get out, the more stuck you get.

Lighten up, and it flows: You can get unstuck." - John Dan Reib, "Transformations"



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