Friday, February 15, 2013

a believer's crown of thorns

An Indiana community of 4,200 is doing what it can to recover from an onslaught of criticism after suggestions were made that an upcoming prom ban gay participants.

The furor erupted when a teacher said she supported a "'traditional' prom for Sullivan High School [and] said she believes people choose to be gay and that gays have no purpose in life."

"We are conservative around here. That's just the way of this town," said Nancy Woodard, 60, who owns the Hidden Treasure Exchange store. "In any town in this county, you'll find four or five churches no matter how small the town. ... The Bible is a big belief system here."

Is there a belief system anywhere, however benevolent, that does not exclude something else? And if not, how appropriate and useful are beliefs as regards the wide-ranging life that surrounds and infuses anyone's existence? On the face of it, beliefs carry with them an inspiration to act, but it is in the action that anyone might 'prove' the validity of any belief. And once having ingested the experiential truth, what lasting function or decency would any belief include?

Without investigation and left to its own devices, belief remains a cruisin'-for-a-bruisin' DNA strand, a destructive tendency that is bound to do harm both within and without.

Maybe there is room somewhere in academia for a course in how to set belief aside, how to get it through our heads that as good and useful as belief may be at the start, still, over the long haul, it becomes a real crown of thorns.

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