Distorted views can be changed … sometimes

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June 2006

 

I have a distorted view of the world around me. You may be thinking that I have had an awakening and started listening to Rush and the other conservative talk radio personalities. But no, that’s not quite it.

Over the last year or so I have had a severe loss of my vision. As a result I have a distorted view of the physical world. I know that to be true because I used to b able to see the world quite clearly through the use of corrective lenses. Even then, without my glasses, my view of the world was pretty distorted because of myopia and astigmatism.

In addition to vision, our taste, touch, feel, and hearing all add to our view of the natural world. All of these can be defective and all can be assisted or corrected to some extent so that we can get a fairly accurate view of the physical world.

World view

            There is another view of the world, however, that transcends the physical. It involves the purpose and meaning of life. it encompasses the answer to the question: why am I here?  It’s a question that has been asked from the time human beings gained sonsciousness.

            The answer to that question  is at the essece of what we call our “world view”. Each person’s world view is formed by the many human experiences we all have: family upbringing, education, jobs and just plain living.

For many of us, I suspect, our world view is formed unconsciously or automatically. We don’t generally examine all those aspects of our lives. Or if we do, the examination is cursory and sporadic rather than intentional.

My life experiences, for example, included birth into a family of boys on a farm in northern Michigan. I wento the local public school through the ninth grade. Then I went to an all boys boarding school for six years. Finally I finished my bachelor’s degree at a Catholic college and a master’s degree at a public university.

My work experiences involved farm labor, teaching, sales, and church ministry. My personal life too has influence me greatly.

            Anyone could have those experiences, but it is how I assimilated them into my life that has led to my world view, which is reflected in all my columns and in all I say and do.

As I indicated above, I have a distorted view of the physical world. This distortion can be tested fairly easily. Defects in sensory perception can be adjusted and even corrected in many cases.

Unfortunately, we cannot say the same about our distortions in world view, but  there are aids in correcting our world view. Some of them  are: 1) developoing an open attitude, 2) communication with others, especially those with different points of view, and  3) education both formal and informal.

The most difficult area to amendin our world view is the one related to religion. Religion has a power that sometimes closes our minds to an openness to other points  of view.

There is a radical understanding in Islam that sees the western cultre as corrupt and wants it kept away from Islam. and needs to be destroyed

There is also a strand of Christianity that is very similar in its views and tactics that is equally dangerous.

This Christian view says that it has the right and only world view and would like to impose that world view oon everyone else.

In radical forms, this view  shows up in the congregation of Rev. Fred Phelps in Wichita. People from this little Baptist church go around the country protesting at funerals. Their message centers on their hatred of gays.

This view shows up in the murder of doctors and nurses at abortion clinics. It shows up  in attitudes of religious superiority and self-righteousness.

Regardless of our world view, let us examine the underpinnings to see if there are distortions. Let us talk to each other with love and compassion. Let us work for solutions to problems with one of the fundamental principles of all the major religions: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

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