Downloaded Random Thoughts
by John Lindsay Gordon Sr.

Most of us, consciously or otherwise, have assumed a label that defines our beliefs: theological, political or philosophical. We identify ourselves as Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Methodists, Presbyterians, Atheists, Republicans, Democrats, or one of many other religious or political persuasions. To these, we are invariably assigned selective pejorative adjectives: right wing, left wing, liberal, conservative, hard core, orthodox, bible believing, extreme, etc..

Having thus classified ourselves, indicates that we subscribe, in whole or in part, to the tenets of a specific doctrine to the exclusion of others. Our appropriated label is, ostensibly, a synopsis of who we are and a statement of our affiliations, convictions and values.

It is also a statement of who we are not and an assertion that our particular creed or point of view is at variance with any alternative belief. In so doing, we may have, unwittingly perhaps, sewn the seeds of divisivness and hostility, often manifested as a fanatical partisan agenda. Ironically, few of us, if any, have chosen our beliefs or subjected their tenets to critical analysis, but rather have aquired them from family or cultural influences. Hence, if our parents were conservative Catholic Republicans, the probability of our becoming liberal Protestant Democrats is almost nil.

But, having made a selection from the menu of maistream ideologies, we have the security of identifying ourselves with an established group. With our brains on autopilot, we can reject anything controversial, while embracing that which reinforces our foregone conclusions. Safe within the harbor of our black or white mentality, we avoid the risk of floundering in an ocean of shades of grey, or being cast adrift in a sea of ambiguities.

If however, we consider the complexities of our socioeconomic problems or ponder for a moment our spirituallity and our endless search for the meaning and miracle of life itself; or if we try to comprehend a universe, so vast, so magnificant that human affairs pale to insignicance, it is then that our simplistic labels become irreverent, if not ludicrous.

This is not to suggest that we become an enigma with a monolithic dogma. On the contrary, having severed our moorings from the restrictions and edicts of labels, we can subject our hypotheses to the crucible of rational thought, with minds that are free to question, free to explore, free to discover, free to ponder and, yes, free to worship.

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