‘”Responding to ideas you disagree with by belittling the other person or shutting them down can push them further towards hate.
‘Far too many human beings of all backgrounds and political beliefs see kindness as weakness, as if it’s capitulation, it’s rolling over,” said Michaelis. “When really it is a weapon. And one of the most powerful weapons against hate that we have.’”
Over the years I have watched the TED talk of Daryl Davis a number of times. He never ceases to impress me. It also reminds me of the tone and language used by the leaders of our last Think Again, Jeanetta Williams and Shawn Newell, the president and vice president of the Utah chapter of the NAACP. Shawn mentioned several times how critical relationships are. They were not fans of the rioting, looting, and destruction of property.
The Deseret News article above is well worth reading and the TEDx talk by Daryl is a bit mind-blowing. I hope you’ll explore both, even if you are familiar with Daryl.
A group member sent me recently a podcast by Sam Harris, the famous meditating, neuroscientist, and advocate for atheism. It’s called CAN WE PULL BACK FROM THE BRINK? I’ve listened to and read a bit of Sam over the years. I believe he is sincere and a decent thinker. I think he genuinely cares about humanity individually and collectively. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says any more than I do with the president of my church or even my wife. And I know, love and respect my wife—a lot.
But in light of current events I think Sam has some concerns worth considering. It is very easy in times of stress, anger, disruption, and fear to follow the herd. To react out of self preservation. Or to act out of a genuine passion for ideas and to help others but sometimes hurting those others more than helping them. I worry that I fall into this kind of behavior too often.
And even if I believed that nearly everything that Sam Harris said and stood for was wrong, it still can be beneficial, for what I hope to accomplish, to seek to understand him and those who believe as he does. I can’t have a conversation and create any consensus or compromise unless I do.
There is a reason our group is called Think Again and Faith Again. There is great value in considering again (often through conversation with others of different opinions) those things we think we know and agree with and those we don’t.