This cartoon came to my attention on Facebook:
Some may be expecting me to make a point in favor of a particular political party. But my thought when seeing this was just how much the beliefs that some people have across the political and economic spectrums, about political and economic matters, are comparable to the kinds of religious beliefs that would get most people thinking “NUT.”
Paul Tillich focuses particular attention in his book The Dynamics of Faith on the way that “faith” in one's nation or political party becomes idolatrous, substituting in place of the truly ultimate something which is less than ultimate.
How close are the parallels to religion in the political and economic devotion of human beings (and Americans in particular, thinking of my own immediate context)? Do people turn only to particular news sources or types of sources, much as ancient Israelites sought prophets who said what they wanted to hear rather than what they needed to hear? Do people have a blind and irrational faith that if they choose the right president, jobs will be created, gas prices will fall, and other things outside of a president's control will nonetheless occur as a result?
It is a well-known fact that we quickly label views we disagree with as “nuts” but are rarely able to see how our own beliefs look from the perspective of others. Perhaps more of us need to publicly present our views, and listen closely enough to hear the judgment on our sanity which others pass as a result, and ask what we can learn from what they say (hopefully out loud, since in real life we do not have the benefit of cartoon thought bubbles).
I am not suggesting that all views are equally worthy of respect, nor even that the label “crazy” might not be apt on occasion. I am simply highlighting that everyone has views which seem completely ludicrous and insane to someone else. And unless we are open to receiving correction and constructive criticism, our chances of sidestepping actual craziness is that much smaller – as I emphasized here on this blog not that long ago.
Are there any beliefs which you hold that you know seem crazy to others? Why do you persist in holding them? What beliefs do others hold that seem crazy to you? Are you able to understand why they do not seem that way to them? And are labels related to lack of sanity used to frequently and inappropriately?