CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA, A BIG DEAL OR NOT? I always go for chocolate, to me it seems full body, yummie and vanilla seems pallid by contrast. Are you on the fence, on my side of the fence, or in the pasture of vanilla lovers? Not really worth fighting about is it? But many decisions are more important and can become the stuff of war and violence.
Faith is a good example. Faith means one hopes something is true. But faith is not always a matter of choice. When parents and those around a child hold to a particular faith for many that eliminates choice. Not for all and that is why many who believe their faith has captured the one true religion also fear outside information and influences.
We are practicing Jews,. I am a convert and when I completed my studies my Rabbi said, “I have taught you the law, now it is between you and G-d how you obey”. Sadly not all agree it is between G-d and the person. A number of more ultra-orthodox acquaintance became uneasy letting their children spend time with us. We might be a contaminating influence. All religions have those who believe it is their duty keep children from associating with those who believe differently. But that is less dangerous than religions who believe the non-believer must convert or die. Christianity as moved away from that belief, Islamic fanatics have not.
Jews don’t kill non-believers and do hold as a basic belief those on earth are charged with repairing the universe. As a Jewish prayer notes, we cannot pray to G-d for peace, for He has created many paths that lead us there. It is we who must walk those paths.
Jews also believe G-d loves all who do good and abide by the Noahide Laws: No murder; idolatry–worshiping something more than the law or other people; theft; sexual immorality; irreverence toward holy personages, religious artifacts, customs, and beliefs; eating the flesh of an animal while it is still alive; and a positive command to establish ust courts of law. These were given to Noah after the flood and part of the covenant not to destroy the world by flooding. Notice that says the world, not people or countries.
Jews do not object to the worship of other gods, goddesses, life forces, higher powers unless the Noahide laws are violated. The basic commandment is to treat others as you want to be treated. Perhaps because Jews have long been persecuted for not believing in gods other than their God, that means not forcing others to believe in the Jewish G-dd. But this is about decision making and also about how blind we can be to what leads us down one path and not another.
As I was searching for an image of Chocolate and Vanilla, I found this blog: McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Web. He discusses decision making. He looks first at the quick decisions those playing football make. What interested me most, however was his discussion nearer the end which reported on research as to how emotion and thought influence political thinking. Most of us think we are rational in our political choices. Not so according to this bit of research. The emotional rush of entering into a dispute over-powers the rational parts of the brain. That might explain fantatucisn. At least it made sense to me. What do you think?
In my training of mental health crisis teams, I always made the point–Heart and head at to agree. Also taught that emotion often trumps reason which is why teams and supervision are essential. Given all that and in terms of religion wouldn’t it be better to G-d, the Goddess, the creator, the Force, make the final decision about which religion has it right? Might help us find peace on earth. Stay strong.