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View Diary: Atheism vs. Theism: Knowns and Unknowns (44 comments)

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  •  Thank you, Geenius. (4+ / 0-)

    i, too, have been shaking my head in disbelief (no metaphysics involved) at the high heat and little light in these diaries. What the heck is the point of belittling and demeaning what other people find valuable?

    often, what people find meaning-making and deeply valuable for them is remarkably similar to cross-cultural ambiguities and thus nearly impossible for others to accurately understand. or, for that matter, adequately defend as so much is submerged and non-verbal.

    i will never understand our maasai guard's love of his cows; the very day his son was born, still streaked with vernix he was taken down to the kraal and given a calf, the beginning of his herd. this is what maasai do. seems pretty crazy to me to put so much stock in livestock in a country where forage is drying up, where cattle die from disease, where wealth on the hoof is riskier than my retirement funds were in 2008. Yet love of cows shines in saiboku's eyes and i know there is meaning there for him that i really can't begin to get no matter how hard i put my white expat female efforts to bear.

    i do know that he unhesitatingly puts his life on the line for us. he has chased thieves out of our compound and has killed two poisonous snakes in the yard with just his maasai staff. he is loyal to us and we are loyal to him; we find each other endlessly exotic and our lives are mutually enriched.

    so, what's not to enjoy? well, maasai use fgm, female genital mutilation. that is a big one for feminists like us. again, i can't begin to wrap my brain around the cross-cultural reasons to really understand why fgm is an essential part of preparing a maasai girl for marriage. the stated reason we've been given by maasai, both men and women, is that if fgm is not done women will be insatiable sexually and therefore unfaithful to their husbands. it is difficult for me to not feel snarky and superior about this; i want to say, well, guys, figure out how to be better lovers. that would go a long ways in helping your issue.

    how incredibly inappropriate and ineffective this would be. so i bite my tongue, remember my community development training, and we look for culturally sensitive and respectful ways to address fgm. we fund a tanzanian program that works with multi-generational groups of women to foster change as it is the old women who cut the young women. things are changing but slowly; one girl, one grandmother, one family at a time.

    do we bring the evils of fgm up to our guard? of course not. there are times and places to work at fgm as a justice/health/gender issue and times when it would do nothing but harm to the relationships we value. and we need these relationships to continue our work towards a day when girls won't have to have all external genitalia cut off with unsterile knives to be considered marriageable.

    so all that to say, i suggest looking for  'culturally sensitive and respectful ways' of addressing theist/atheist issues on this site. there is nothing useful to gain from disrespectful and woefully inadequate assumptions about what other people believe/do not believe, or find to be meaning-makers. we are hurting each other and hurting our stated cause.

    i personally think that religion can be a wonderful source of meaning-making for individuals and communities; it can also be an incredible source of pain and confusion. it can bind us together with some humility or tie us up in arrogant knots. i have experienced both.

    eventually, maybe truth will out.

    maybe god will make god's self known to all, unequivocally.

    maybe scientific learning will progress from knowledge to wisdom.

    maybe i will learn to love cows as a supreme meaning-maker in my own life.

    until then, i would like to walk as far as possible with any one of you on common paths working in any common areas we have.

    i hope that means electing more and better democrats.  

    i hope too that this rant makes sense. it is way past my bedtime and i've worked on it long enough that i'm reluctant to just chuck it but i do have to go to bed.

    There is no worse enemy of God and Man than zeal armed with power and guided by a feeble intellect... --William James

    by oslyn7 on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 12:51:44 PM PDT

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