Why I am posting it? It resulted from a recent conversation with a friend, when I was asked certain questions and certain issues were pointed out. Since these are very generic issues, they deserve to be responded to in a way that is more general and not tied to particular conversation.
Topic for consideration 1: - what do I want to accomplish?
I want to help people who are ready, to transition towards a unitarian (i.e. non-dualistic) frame of mind. And help myself in the process. Many of us are ready at this time, to upgrade our thinking from seeing everything from a "you are against me" point of view towards "let's see what is really going on". Most ideologies (but not all) and most religions (but not all) are incompatible with the unitarian attitude.
Topic for consideration 2: how to discuss topics that the interlocutor identifies personally with, involving membership in churches and other ideologically-oriented societies.
I tend to discuss, debate or challenge them anyway, in a way that is respectable to people I speak to, but does not have to be reverential towards an institutions they may (or may not) be the members of. Institutions have no feelings. :)
Topic for consideration 3: how to separate institutions that foster or protect certain beliefs or ideologies, from the beliefs or ideas themselves.
Institutions publish papers, textbooks, "holy" books and other literature. The beliefs are the thoughts that individual people harbor and express personally. It is easy to specify what is being discussed, for example a critical comment of a certain book does not automatically apply to someone's belief nor denigrates that person.
Topic for consideration 4: How to separate between some organizations' noble intent and hidden agendas?
I suspect that it is not always possible, although sometime an original intent behind a certain ideology may be gleaned by the results we observe. "From the fruit of their labor..." . We can read a certain edition of a holy book or some ideological paper - but how would one know what the intentions were in the minds of those who told, translated, edited and published that? There could have been multiple intentions and many agendas, different at any given point in time and space. For that reason I generally tend to ignore intentions and agendas, and most often, I may be just interested in the meaning of the contents, and in the practical implications for self-preservation, such dealing with some homicidal regimes that follow certain ideologies (note - I grew up in a communist country) . Unlike intentions and agendas, the contents is for all to see.
Topic for consideration 5:
when is it appropriate to be RESPECTFUL towards ideas, gurus or institutions?
I think (it is my personal opinion) it is irrelevant or even inappropriate to express RESPECT towards ideas, thoughts, theories or institutions, but it is always a good idea to RESPECT living beings. Please note that unlike "fear", RESPECT is a universal emotion that can only be earned but not forced.
Topic for consideration 6:
when is it appropriate to be REVERENT towards gurus or institutions?
I think (it is my personal opinion) it is inappropriate to express REVERENCE in any situation, however it may be appropriate to express RESPECT instead, if the circumstances warrant it and if the interlocutor earns it.
Topic for consideration 7:
- how, when and if it is important to engage people, or get them to listen to my/your points of view, while offering some challenging opinions?
I gave up a long time ago, trying to please people in order to make them accept me the way I am, including making them listen to my opinions. Moderating or withholding my opinions in order to appear to "fit-in" to a group (or to an individual), never works for me! Most people are no fools. They quickly realize that I am somewhat "different" and I would find myself shunned anyway. I found out that I am better off being honest, often MUCH better off just saying what I think is true (or "true enough") and following that through with action, "come hell or high water". I may end up shunned by 9 out of 10 acquaintances but I am not really "loosing" anything! Fewer is sometimes better than more. :)
Regards for Everyone,