I received some direct but polite criticism of my earlier post via email, and I thought I would share it here. I’ll keep the source of the criticism confidential, but would welcome a response by that same critic – if he or she were inclined to do so.
In my earlier (actually first) post here, I made this claim: "Once the religious - or spiritual - experience has been encountered, it needs no further justification. If it has any true power, it is experienced as a higher form of knowing, and cannot be undermined by someone else's logic, or someone else's facts."
My critic had this response: “Precisely the mindset of those who fly planes into buildings; those fathers who kill their own daughters; brothers who kill their own sisters; mothers who mutilate their daughters genitals; one group who seizes land and expels another group from it; those who persecute and discriminate against those of a different sexual orientation or different skin color; those who don't understand that though you might be entitled to your own opinions you are not entitled to your own facts and if the facts you base your opinions on are flawed so will your opinions be.”
And my response: It’s easy to confuse one’s level of conviction with the actual quality of one’s beliefs. They are of course not the same thing at all. Baha’u’llah, the great Baha’i leader, believed fervently in many things – among them the perfect equality between men and women. With a similar level of conviction, anti-gay-rights activists in our own time protest loudly and angrily at the funerals of gay – or suspected gay – soldiers. It is true that Baha’u’llah and these protestors have a certain level of conviction in common, but the similarity between them seems to end there. And it would of course not be fair to condemn Baha’u’llah, based on this one area of similarity.
But I understand my critic’s concern. He (or she) doesn’t know me personally, but does know that Conviction – as opposed to Uncertainty – can lead to destruction. I respect his (or her) concerns, and can only affirm here that my particular outlook is not, as near as I can tell, of a destructive sort.
Putting it another way, my god is of the New Testament type, not the Old.
But please do not ask me to replace my confident opinions with those based on your experience of the world (your facts), or with Uncertainty itself. Heisenberg notwithstanding, the world would quickly become dysfunctional if we were all paralyzed by doubt.
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