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Clashing over beliefs

By - Aug 17, 2010 - Category Articles - Print Print - Version française

two bulls fighting

How come we feel so upset when our beliefs are not shared by others? Why should disagreement over our convictions get us so often into trouble with one another? How do we come to despise or detest someone only because they disagree with what we say? When our freedom of thought is not at stake, why should we resent being contradicted by someone who thinks differently?

Feeling annoyed, contemptuous, or even angry because someone thinks differently from us is decidedly an indication that our ego has been somehow hurt. “What? He doesn’t agree with me? How could that be?”

My beliefs emanate from me, they represent an important part of what I am or, to be more exact, of what I think I am. Now this “I”, this “ego”, is expansionist by nature. It tries hard to inflate itself, just like the frog in La Fontaine’s fable, that wished to be as big as the ox. In fact, expressing one’s opinions is often a means by which our ego strives to gain ascendency over others, to bring them round to its side, or simply win them over. Accordingly, if someone happens to disagree with us or criticise our beliefs, our ego feels rejected, belittled. As a consequence, we get angry.

The false reasoning behind this situation goes somewhat like this: if these people do not share my beliefs, it must be because they reject me; and if they do, I’m quite entitled to resent their hostility. Thus, a simple difference in view turns into a sour conflict.

If we wish to escape this twisted logic and relate to others with more tolerance, the first thing to do is to try not to identify oneself with one’s beliefs. When someone criticises my beliefs, I should not consider that it is me who is being criticised; rather, it is some particular opinion which I happen to entertain. If someone, for example, says that I am wrong, they certainly don’t mean I am bad. In fact, that other people disagree with me should be considered as an opportunity to reassess my own beliefs, to carefully re-examine their relevance. It is an occasion to wonder if others could possibly be right in any way.

In the end, it does not matter so much whether they really are right or wrong: the point is that one way or the other, dealing with discrepancies in opinion with this frame of mind will enable us to grow more mature.

The matter is quite simple. If the others are right and I am aware of it, then I should accept that I’ve been mistaken. This may not be easy, but I should try to become more understanding and less assertive.

If however I am right, the fact of successfully managing the conflict by bringing the argument to a close will help me become more acutely conscious of the validity of my own beliefs, and altogether more tolerant—for, as you may have experienced, the more certain we are of the validity of our views, the less upset or angry we are likely to get with those who do not think as we do.


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49 comments

  1. N Aug 18, 2010 9:47 am 1

    It is very true that when somebody says that we are wrong, it doesn’t mean that we are bad… I think if we remember just this point, it is much easier for us to listen the others… and to have a “healthy” conversation with them…

  2. ls Aug 18, 2010 5:58 pm 2

    I think I always had a hard time with this. Even though I know that they are not telling me that I am a bad person, I seem to take it that way nonetheless. This is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Why get angry over nothing? It always stresses me out and I need to learn to not take everything people say so personally.
    Great article.

  3. NT Aug 18, 2010 9:55 pm 3

    The writer could not have said it better…the more certain we are about our beliefs the less upset we become when someone disagrees with us. So the next time someone disagrees with us and we become upset, it should serve as a reminder that we should reevaluate our belief. Great article!

  4. neuro Aug 19, 2010 4:25 am 4

    Thanks for a great article!

  5. Matfr Aug 19, 2010 5:36 am 5

    After reading this, I’ll try to change my perspective and look more for what is right rather than for if I’m right or wrong. Another thing that came to my mind was that for kids, if I tackle this issue when their ego is at an early stage, then by the time they’re my age they would not have the same problem that I do… a really big “ego” with no tolerance for others 🙂

  6. B Aug 19, 2010 6:32 pm 6

    I don’t agree with this article for many reasons.

    For example she writes: “When someone criticises my beliefs, I should not consider that it is me who is being criticized”.

    Belief means (among other meanings): a thing one accepts as true or real; what one believes.
    Believe means (among other meanings): to THINK; to suppose.

    Now we combine these definitions with consciousness or the field of perception (1)

    I then conclude: when someone criticizes my beliefs then he is exactly criticizing ME.

    (1) See for instance, in B. Elahi, Foundation of Natural Spirituality (England: element, 1997) p. 92 or B. Elahi, Medicine of the Soul (New York: Cornwall Books, 2001) p. 70.

  7. max Aug 20, 2010 1:12 am 7

    I agree to an extent with this article. However, once in a while, if the person you are arguing with states something to the effect of: “The sun does not exist” (in a more sophisticated argument of course), then it is not a simple difference in view. If such a person keeps his opinion to himself, then it is still okay. But once in a while such an opinion is spread through various mediums (even through favors) and might misguide the general public. The natural reaction to such a scenario can be: anger or pity. However, it might be best to just move along since it is not the burden of the person who knows.

  8. sl Aug 20, 2010 5:35 am 8

    When I read this, it was so obvious to me that I often take offense when anyone disagrees with me. It was refreshing and revelatory to come across an article that provides a simple solution to the problem, which is to redirect my thought(s) and consider that it’s not me in my totality that they are disagreeing with, rather they are just responding to what I have thought and in turn expressed. And that’s ok. It really is.

  9. polo Aug 20, 2010 11:20 am 9

    B made a good point—in other words, in spirituality, we ‘are’ what we ‘think’.

    Hence, the mechanism may be exactly the opposite: when s.o. doesn’t share our beliefs after having discussed them, I feel offended. Why? Because the great value of my belief system (as I experience it) readily defines me as a ‘good’ and even ‘great’ person! And still other people don’t (even when I openly share my beliefs) seem to realize that.

    Now, what else should make me so upset when s.o. doesn’t accept my point of view? Maybe because I was unable to clearly explain the rationale behind my faith or opinions. This may be due to the fact that at my level, my faith is for the most part based on emotions and doesn’t rely yet on solid and more logic arguments. As I am not able to express—let alone convince—my views on spirituality in a more rational way, I realize how much I have to improve on this aspect—developing my reason—and because I can now see the gap between my actual level and where I should get, I can only feel upset.

    Finally, in the case I express my opinions in a more rational way, and others still don’t share my beliefs, there might be another mechanism… More likely related to the fact that I feel unconsciously proud of my performance and thus expect some reward = to convert these people to my system of values.

  10. B Aug 20, 2010 11:18 pm 10

    I think this article is very misleading and one has to be very careful when reading it.

    @ Matfr:
    This article does not consider the difference between dignity, pride and self-respect, and solely assumes that every incident where one gets “upset” stems from pride (she uses the word ego). Of course by “upset” I mean upset in the situations which she refers to in the article (this holds for the rest of the comment).

    I think it is fair to say that the author’s (implicit) definition of the “ego” or “I” is a very superficial and one-sided one (it seems to me that she has a materialistic foundation).

    More precisely: does she recognize the existence of the celestial soul?

    Let’s take a look at this sentence in the article:
    “How come we feel so upset when our beliefs are not shared by others?”
    The most appropriate meaning of the word “upset” in this context is: the state of being unhappy or worried; the state of emotional distress.
    The familiar reader can easily see that getting upset is not solely limited to (terrestrial) pride (ego in her terminology). The first thing one needs to make clear is the definition of The Self. Does she recognize the spiritual dimension of human beings?

  11. Blake Aug 23, 2010 6:52 am 11

    Not sure I get the direction of B ‘s responses…..

    Our beliefs can be as simple as how to cook a good steak on the grill or as important as our spiritual beliefs. In context, the article is about developing tolerance more than anything else. How we actually react internally and the real feelings we go through in a spontaneous instance represent what we truly believe in, not the thoughts of what we want to project to be. These feelings and emotions are precursors to our actions which follow. The question I ask myself is when the situation presents itself, can I manage and control myself and intelligently discuss my belief with someone who differs with me and also know when to stop and pull away, or am I going to react by disrespecting the other fellow and probably receive disrespect in return?

  12. Happi Aug 23, 2010 8:07 am 12

    Criticism is designed to hurt. And it often does that. Therefore we don’t enjoy hearing it. However, criticism is a needed component for growth as a person.
    Reading this article reminded me that I should work on myself and grow a thicker skin, and not let my pride get in the way of hearing what they have to say. Because criticism is my major problem when it causes me to lose focus on important tasks or makes me stop acting in a certain manner due to fear of being criticized. I noticed that when someone criticizes something I say or do, suddenly I lose focus and can’t stop thinking about what they said like it hijacks my thoughts. I should be honest with myself. If I’ve made an error, I should accept the criticism.

  13. Joey Aug 23, 2010 11:10 am 13

    @ polo: I agree with this analysis, which seems more complete and useful than the one proposed in this article. In my opinion, the question “why am I upset?” meaning “what is the reason – what part of me – reacts in this way?”… is always more useful than “Let’s not be upset, this person was judging my acts, not me”
    I would like to know what people think of that and whether they have the same views or not.

    If some readers didn’t agree with the analysis presented by the author, why don’t they leave more comments to share their views? and if they didn’t agree with the last ones, let’s discuss about it. I think this platform should serve this goal, and become a real place of debate. I conceive spirituality as my ability to reason, and a first step is to use my judgment and learn to expose arguments. I was surprised to see that B (1st comment) and polo’s reaction took so long to come up.

    @ B: I don’t quite agree with your last comment – and still expect more feedback from other readers – I think your reaction is not justified. If you were to discuss with s.o. would you say “why first don’t you recognize the existence of the soul?”. How would people react to this assertion? I think we have to develop logic and phenomenological arguments (based on reason and experience) rather than emotional arguments to increase our ability to communicate, and thus increase both our understanding and tolerance.

    Your opinion?
    everyone…

  14. Zulu Aug 24, 2010 9:18 am 14

    @B
    You wrote:
    For example she writes: “When someone criticises my beliefs, I should not consider that it is me who is being criticized”.
    Belief means (among other meanings): a thing one accepts as true or real; what one believes.
    Believe means (among other meanings): to THINK; to suppose.
    Now we combine these definitions with consciousness or the field of perception
    I then conclude: when someone criticizes my beliefs then he is exactly criticizing ME.

    Since it seems you are pretty educated in the anatomy of the soul, I would like to discuss it from that perspective. As you may agree, we as beings are comprised of two components: a celestial soul and a terrestrial soul. Our thoughts, similar to any characteristics that we hold, are “originated” from our total self, therefore it has two origins, celestial and terrestrial. When I realize that I have a negative habit, it doesn’t translate to: “I am negative.” It only means that unfortunately I wasn’t able to balance myself with regard to that particular characteristic. Same is with our thoughts. For the sake of argument, let’s say that I am entertaining an incorrect belief that we shouldn’t tolerate different cultures and belief systems, which I am sure we can all agree that is quite wrong. This doesn’t mean that I am a bad person. It only means that that particular thought is a sign of dominance of the terrestrial part of my being. In other words: “Since no being is bad in origin: it’s the deed that’s bad, not the doer.” (Ostad Elahi’s Quintessence of Religion)

    But I agree with you that the author’s approach is a bit odd. The idea works perfectly to help us avoid judging others when confronted with actions or beliefs that we don’t agree with. But it is a little difficult to apply it the other way around, meaning on ourselves. I guess it needs some practice. I am still struggling, but I have found this perspective interesting to explore.

  15. B Aug 24, 2010 10:25 pm 15

    @ Blake: The direction of my arguments is that this article is totally “strayed”.

    @Joey:
    Every argument rests on some initial principles. If there is not an agreement on the initial principles, then the argument will not prove convincing for the reader or listener.
    Given this universally accepted fact in logic, the first thing we need to know in a discussion is if there is an agreement on the initial assumptions (which the arguments are based on). This could be called “highlighting the reason for the disagreement”. After we know the specific reason for the disagreement, we can focus the discussion on that subject.

    I will not start saying “why first don’t you recognize the exi.stence of the soul?”, but will start presenting the indisputable proofs about the existence of the soul (Yes indisputable). After presenting these arguments the only choice the listener has for not accepting, is to be dogmatic and irrational. Confronted with such a dogmatic and irrational attitude is another reason for getting ”upset”. After reaching this point, it would be time to make use of another kind of logic, namely the logic of the fist! 🙂

    And please do not start writing comments like “there is no indisputable proof for the existence of the soul”, before you have done your research; I will not respond to such comments.

  16. notodogma Aug 25, 2010 5:01 pm 16

    Do you feel upset when your beliefs are not shared by others? I certainly don’t so I can’t relate to this article and don’t really grasp the entire discussion. The only thing that would upset, or rather, annoy me slightly, is someone trying to enforce their beliefs on me or people close to me. Other than that, why should I care what people think of my beliefs, and why should I care what they believe in?

  17. Almo Aug 27, 2010 3:20 pm 17

    @Zulu, polo, Blake: I found your comments very helpful.

    Although I have been somewhat successful to tolerate differences of opinion, I have noticed that I get upset when some one does not agree with or worse attacks my spiritual beliefs.
    Of course, I’d try to present my logical argument, but beyond this point I have caught myself posing as a pseudo-guru, trying to teach and enlighten the others (this has happened to me on numerous occasions that I have lost count.) 🙁
    I think this is due to my unjustified pride and excessive dominance. To prevent this I try to remind myself a few things:
    1. My knowledge and understanding of the science of spirituality and medicine of the soul is not even enough to remedy my own flaws.
    2. I have not been given any Divine responsibility to guide, nor am I suited for it.
    3. God is the ultimate omnipresent teacher that guides everyone the way He knows to be best. 

    Can anyone suggest any other practical strategiy for me?

  18. Mel Aug 27, 2010 5:37 pm 18

    Thank you for the article, it totally applies to me. It helped me analyze myself better in the situations and try not to react emotionally and be more logical.
    People have the right to disagree with me and have their own beliefs.

  19. Seyed Aug 29, 2010 4:32 pm 19

    It all about tolerance. The idea that somebody else is wrong and I am always the master of knowledge and have the right ideology is purely wrong. Who am I to decide that my belief is the ultimate direction to total freedom. Why should I not allow others to express their thoughts and opinions, maybe I can learn a word of wisdom or two. Come on Seyed, you are really nobody. You just learned a few things, and if you think you know it all, then implement these ideas. Don’t razzle-dazzle everyone with your emptiness. I should simply learn to listen and not try to jump the hoops. That is all. Respect others regardless.

  20. Blake Aug 30, 2010 5:23 am 20

    @ B: In comment 15 you wrote: “The direction of my arguments is that this article is totally “strayed”.”

    Totally Strayed? What are the readers being misguided from? It sounds like you are implicitly making an initial assumption that the readers are incapable of comprehnesion and need to be warned. Making such assumptions contradicts your own statements.

    I think you have a flawed interpretation and perspective about this article and I give you some hints as to why:

    1. Your arguments are not aligned with the subject matter of this article. The article’s theme is about helping readers detect certain traits within themselves and try to develop tolerance. It does not talk about the existence or non existence of the soul, nor its anatomy. You have picked on a short sentence or two and are suddenly redirecting the subject to the existence of the soul and its anatomy as if the author is against it or is not aware of it, even though there is no such stance claimed anywhere in this article.

    2. Given your own words you wrote: “the first thing we need to know in a discussion is if there is an agreement on the initial assumptions (which the arguments are based on)”. Based on what you wrote, this articles’ assumptions are actually facts, specially for those who have detected such traits in their own characters (including yours truly). That makes for a very strong foundation. No amount of words under a cover of logical arguments can change such personal experiences. And for those who may not have detected those traits yet, it may be a helpful warning sign.

    Whether “I am my beliefs” or “my beliefs are a part of me” are not the significant assumptions to use for this article.

    The article has a practical foundation. It talks about behavioral traits found in normal people. It can help people identify some aspects of a weakness within themselves and try to improve on it; traits they would have otherwise not thought about. QED

  21. B Aug 30, 2010 6:32 pm 21

    @Blake: You have not proven anything and your ”arguments” do not make sense. And I have not contradicted myself.
    Here are some additional explanations for my second comment (maybe you should read that comment again).
    I don’t even think there is consistency within the article, but this calls for another comment. For the rest of the comment I assume that this problem does not exist.
    The main problem is, as you wrote: “Our beliefs can be as simple as how to cook a good steak on the grill or as important as our spiritual beliefs”. So in the article the word “belief” has a very general meaning.
    My arguments against the article are mostly when the word “belief” has a religious dimension. That is, when a person gets upset in a disputation over a religious belief, and that person has faith, then terrestrial pride is not the cause of this feeling. If she had used “material opinions” (like cooking a steak), instead of “beliefs”, I would not have objected this much over the article.
    So what I am warning the readers about is that every situation where there is “a clash over beliefs” is not due to pride; this is what makes the article “strayed”.

  22. Polo Aug 31, 2010 2:29 am 22

    @ B’s comment 15:

    I am curious, maybe ignorant, but what are the indisputable proofs about the existence of the soul?

    PS: it’s interesting to see how difficult it is, as we now all comment back and forth, to stay emotionally serene and tolerant to other’s views 🙂

  23. RK Sep 01, 2010 9:32 am 23

    I think the arguments above is a good example of the application of this article. Some seem to take things personally rather than just expressing their opinion, they take it further by trying to convince readers that their idea is in fact the correct one, arguing back and forth……. Anyways I learned a great deal from this article, Mainly developing TOLERANCE and not get defendant if others don’t share our views. Thanks for this article.

  24. Key Sep 01, 2010 12:24 pm 24

    I feel that this part of the article is the most practical take-home message:

    “In fact, that other people disagree with me should be considered as an opportunity to reassess my own beliefs, to carefully re-examine their relevance. It is an occasion to wonder if others could possibly be right in any way.”

    Other people disagreeing with us gives us the chance to see things from their perspective; so, even if they are wrong, we can at least take what they say into consideration and get to know how they see the world. We can attempt to understand them better, without necessarily having to compromise our own beliefs.

  25. Zulu Sep 02, 2010 9:00 am 25

    @B (comment #21)

    Good point and the answer to your concern is in the article. Here are a couple of references:

    “When our freedom of thought is not at stake, why should we resent being contradicted by someone who thinks differently?” (and the key point here is “when our freedom of thoughts is not at stake”)

    “If however I am right, the fact of successfully managing the conflict by bringing the argument to a close will help me become more acutely conscious of the validity of my own beliefs, and altogether more tolerant—for, as you may have experienced, the more certain we are of the validity of our views, the less upset or angry we are likely to get with those who do not think as we do.”

    I think you may be reading too much into the article.

  26. B Sep 02, 2010 9:49 pm 26

    @Zulu: It seems that you too are pretty educated in the anatomy of the soul.

    @ Everybody:
    My arguments against the article is the article seen as a whole and her process of reasoning. I think the reason some people like this article is that they find “one sentence”, out of context, and focus on that.

  27. Frankie Sep 03, 2010 7:26 pm 27

    The field of cognitive processing and perception is an amazing place to try to understand people’s judgments and choices. According to available literature, a person could be right when judging from her own “frame of reference” or “status quo” (while making a biased decision). This phenomena, leads to irrational decisions in many situations!

    So if we realize that other’s reality is true to that person, then we can be more tolerant.

    This doesn’t mean that we need to change/or not change our reality, but to know that there are other views out there that could be valid or not! So be careful in judging….

  28. notodogma Sep 03, 2010 8:37 pm 28

    Heated arguments about faith, those verbal wars of religion, are an interesting phenomenon when one thinks about it. People getting all emotional and frustrated arguing about something none of them really have any direct experience of, much less any objective evidence for.
    Perhaps a little humility about one’s beliefs, understanding and wisdom is all this article is advocating. Can’t hurt, can it? Can I take it further and suggest a small dose of self-deprecation? Relax…

  29. B Sep 04, 2010 9:46 am 29

    @Zulu (comment 25):
    I have read the article many times. So no, a reference to the article does not solve anything. I don’t bother nor have I time to start writing long comments. And now besides the article many comments are also absurd, so there is need for a book to respond to all this. But even if one were to do this, the problem is:

    An immature will never comprehend the state of a mature
    So it is better to stop talking; peace with you.

  30. B Sep 04, 2010 10:13 am 30

    I wanted to draw attention to some mechanisms which the article neglects and I don’t really want to “discuss”. But the other comments distracted this aim.

  31. B Sep 04, 2010 10:20 am 31

    I have experienced the mechanisms which I wanted to talk about personally and I also have strong theoretical support for them. So I don’t really care if some people disagree with me.

  32. Blake Sep 05, 2010 5:23 pm 32

    @ Polo: Indeed you made an interesting observation in your PS section. The articles message is in action right here in the comments.

    I like to focus on the theme of tolerance. I had a question. When do we draw the line on being tolerant? or should we ever draw such a line?

    Here are two of Ostad Elahi’s 100 Maxims of Guidance:
    “The more one’s mind expands, the more patient and tolerant one becomes.”

    “More ignorant than the ignorant is one who says “I know” – a true human being always seeks to learn from others.”

    The first maxim points to a gradual process of becoming more tolerant which requires one to keep expanding their mind. In the second maxim I notice to expand one’s mind I have to always learn from others.

  33. JW Sep 05, 2010 9:43 pm 33

    Dear Sophie,
    Thank you for posting such a practical, wonderful and thought provoking article, a good sign of that is all the interaction and response it created among the readers 😉

    @ Zolo, Blake and Polo: I found your comments to be very practical, relevant and of great value.

    I see effective communication with others as having the ability to exchange our thoughts, feelings and intentions in a respectful and tolerant manner, but as Sophie mentions the personal challenge occurs when the other party disagrees or criticizes our point of view and in the way that we response or react to them in return.

    In such scenarios I have managed to develop the ability to keep my calm, listen and observe the other person’s point of disagreement and criticism, if I find myself at fault I have no objections with admitting it and correcting myself for I see this as an opportunity to discover something new about myself and refine my personality for the truth is that sometimes we fail to see out faults within and may find some constructive outside criticism be a blessing!

    And on the other hand, once I have digested the other person’s point of view and found it not be true or constructive I see no reason to be agitated or offended, for them not agreeing with my view really has no effect on my belief, faith and confidence in the subject matter, I see it as only reinforcing my own belief and having had a chance to reexamine my thoughts and what I am confident about in a positive way.

    But I will admit that my challenge is with when I am criticized and judged by others, when they most confidently pass judgment on me and in so many words state that “it is my way. Or the high way” for to me this is no longer “communicating” I see this as a form of dictation with zero tolerance and very often feel annoyed, contemptuous, or even angry and in some cases have come to despise or detest and resent the person followed by a feeling of detachment, I am sure the roots of such feelings are also related to the “Ego” an am still seeking the best ways to deal with this and would be very open to hearing your thoughts about this.

    @ B

    I see the main practical points in this article to be in relation to our level of “tolerance and our “Ego” By using our behavior and reactions in such social scenarios as a barometer to gage of level of personal tolerance, egotism and self centeredness,

    And if so, how can this article by misleading and strayed?

    I view most of your comments and especially the following comments posted below to be lack the capacity of any tolerance and having no respect for any other view than your own! As a reader I see you saying:” it’s my way, or the high way” “you don’t know, I know” “My opinion on the subject is paramount” I feel that the roots of such thoughts and words are an extremely inflated ego and presenting an extreme state of self-importance, self-image which is what the author is trying to make us conscious of and which you have managed to play out well and set a perfect example of! Well at least that’s how your words are coming across:

    On comment 15:

    “Confronted with such dogmatic and irrational attitude is another reason for getting “upset”. After reaching this point it would be time to make use of another kind of logic, namely the logic of the fist” followed by your word to the end of the comment.

    On comment 29:

    “An immature will never comprehend the state of a mature”? Followed by your comments 30 and 31.

    I would recommend you review the following points in this article as food for further thought:

    “How come we feel so upset when our beliefs are not shared by others?”
    “How do we come to despise or detest someone only because they disagree with what we say?”
    “Feeling annoyed, contemptuous, or even angry because someone thinks differently from us is decidedly an indication that our ego has been somehow hurt.”
    “If someone happens to disagree with us or criticize our beliefs, our ego feels rejected, belittled. As a consequence, we get angry”
    “In fact, that other people disagree with me should be considered as an opportunity to reassess my own beliefs, to carefully re-examine their relevance. It is an occasion to wonder if others could possibly be right in any way.”
    “The matter is quite simple. If the others are right and I am aware of it, then I should accept that I’ve been mistaken. This may not be easy, but I should try to become more understanding and less assertive.”

    Sincerely,
    JW

  34. B Sep 06, 2010 7:03 pm 34

    @JW (comment 33):
    I have read and reread this article several times, analyzed it, recalled in my mind different situations in my life where I have had “a crash over beliefs”, thought about the assumptions of the article, ….., so on and so forth, and finally I have written some comments about the article (and then responded to some other comments, again by carefully reading the comments). But some of you accuse me for being intolerant and attack me “in the name of tolerance”!!

    I am not saying tolerance is bad, but saying that the articles way is not the way to become tolerant.

    I have never felt any hostility towards anyone in these comment series. Nor detested anyone or felt angry… But I am pretty sure you have these negative feeling about me. So maybe you should think about the citations you have made from the article yourself.

    As for why this article is strayed: Read comments 10, 15 and 21 one more time. In comment 10 notice “materialistic foundation”. If you still don’t understand after reading these comments, then read comment 29.

    Also, don’t confuse “respect” with “accept”.
    You problem seems to be that you love political correctness.
    Besides, I just mentioned in comment 29 that I have read the article many times. Why then do you start giving me “advises” by making citations from the article?!!

  35. B Sep 06, 2010 9:31 pm 35

    A comment on “It’s my way or the highway” (in relation to JW comment 33):
    This attitude is not necessary bad. It simply means “I have taken a stance and don’t want to discuss anymore, so don’t argue with me”. For this attitude to be positive, the person has to, of course, not be dogmatic. That is: it depends on the situation.

  36. AJ Sep 07, 2010 12:59 am 36

    When it comes to our spiritual beliefs and outlook towards life often those beliefs find their way in to our emotions. Once we are convinced we have found the answer we take comfort in the beliefs. The stronger those beliefs grow, the more emotionally involved we become with them. Living within the boundaries of our life philosophy is our comfort zone and one feels compelled to protect these boundaries. Perhaps our mind has an immune system just like the body, the function of which is to protect formed opinions.

    We feel good when others agree with us, we grow to like people who concur with our opinion and dislike those who disagree with us. Agreeing with me means you understand I am intelligent and you naturally respect me and your recognition of me is genuine and what do I think of you, I think you are a smart individual too by virtue of agreeing with me. In a similar way we often view people who disagree with us as unintelligent and they disagree with me hence their respect is of protocol and not authentic , you are attacking the fabric of my beliefs and wish to shake it’s foundation , how can I allow that, we have a conflict and this could grow to animosity.

    The fact that you agree with me means I can trust you, that we share a common interest—faith, business, friendship, networking and socializing, and so on. The fact that you disagree with me, on the other hand, means it’s better we keep our distance, that you are not to be trusted. Isn’t this the reason why a society ultimately becomes polarized?
    Our pride seeks dominance, power and superiority and control over others. Sometimes our opinions and beliefs become means for those objectives.
    It is a self-learning process to stay in a correct state of mind and be genuine while trying to convince others over an issue. However, we all benefit a bit more from learning (getting convinced) than from wishing to teach (convincing others). Sometimes we come across an individual who is genuine, knowledgeable, charismatic and can disarm our pride, an individual who can teach us and not take advantage of us. This happens rarely, but it is a great experience.

    Is there a practical way for individuals and civilizations to agree to disagree and go through some extent of ideological depolarization? Such a depolarization is badly needed in the era of global village when in order to sustain a global civilization we seek for stronger common grounds and feel the need to be less inhomogeneous. I believe this may be obtained if we choose a universal code of ethics as the driving force in regulating our relationships.

    The world needs to become less about a universal set of “Expression Codes” and more about a universal set of guidelines concerning our rights and our duties towards each other.

  37. JW Sep 07, 2010 10:55 pm 37

    @B
    I simply see the various comments on this blog as a dialog and communication of views and ideas between souls! I am sorry to see that when other readers do not agree with your opinion and view you interpret it as being accused and attacked!

    Personally, I show interest in reading such articles and blogs with the intention of learning something and will occasionally leave a comment of appreciation or to point out a positive point that may hold some universal value by keeping a pure intention, I am not here to lecture, guide, teach or judge others for I know I am nowhere close to have mastered such topics which further motivates me to show interest in reading such blogs in the first place!

    I simply pointed out that “as a reader” the type of energy and line of thought that I pick up from your comments are those that I would associate with the “Ego”. Am I an authority on the subject? Absolutely not, it is just a point of view of another human being!

    And as for some of the comments of you not being tolerant or holding respect for other readers, every word carries a certain quality and effect, when we use such strong language as I mentioned you used in your comment 15 and 29 and your last comment to me “your problem seems to be that you love political correctness” or making a remark such as the article is leading the readers astray?

    By making such comments you are pointing out that the mediators of this site do not have the ability to recognize the quality of an article they see as fit enough to be posted on the site and the readers lack the ability to recognize and make decisions on their own, a wiser and more intelligent voice as your own must step up to guide them!

    I simply see such language and form of communication to be judgmental and self-centered and to be the language of the ego!
    As it is mentioned in this article I would ask myself:
    “When our freedom of thought is not at stake, why should we resent being contradicted by someone who thinks differently?” Why?

    At the end it does not matter what others may think of our opinions, the important thing for me is that every action has a reaction and how the reaction of my own words and behavior will affect me in both the material and spiritual dimension?

    @AJ

    Thank you for your wonderful compliment to this blog.
    I specially found your last 2 paragraphs to be a wonderful subject for further thought:
    How can we practically bring this to be would be a wonderful topic for an article and blog of its own that would be most beneficial to the times we live in.

  38. Ali Tinat(Zoghi). Sep 10, 2010 12:47 pm 38

    The ultimate self serving notion, a debunked one at best due to its self sentimental values, is “being right!” It is a false notion for one often equates “being right” to also having the right to impose one’s ideas upon others at any cost! A quick look at the history indicates that most dictators actually had exactly the same idea at the outset that eventually brought so much pain and suppression to the masses in general. “Being right,” also makes one to feel self righteous, another egoistic fabrication at best, hence making one’s prejudice and judgmental actions toward others fully justifiable!

  39. HA Sep 15, 2010 5:38 pm 39

    Thank you for such educational and practical article.
    The highlight for me was “try not to identify oneself with one’s beliefs”. This is exactly what I am struggling with. Thanks again and look forward to see more material on the topic of “Tolerance” in the future.

  40. YS Dec 21, 2010 1:10 am 40

    I have to say that I do find it pretty funny that this whole article talks about clashing of beliefs and the comments underneath are doing just that. I feel like the people who are going back and forth as to why this article is valid or invalid should just agree to disagree.
    I enjoyed reading the article and the different opinions in the comments. Thank you.

  41. NN Jun 19, 2011 6:57 pm 41

    After re-reading this article today I think to myself that when someone disagrees with me, they are not pointing at me, but rather what I am saying. It can be hard at times, because my first instinct to to raise my voice and be defensive towards the other person. Why is this? I create excuses and claim it’s the way the other person is “telling” me something and what I am saying is how I feel. Trying to relax and truly hear what the person is saying is a struggle, even when I don’t agree with what the person is saying. Just recently someone gave me advice that I am trying to reflect on, and that is when saying something think about what you are saying and where you got the information from. Opinions are based off of personal likes and dislikes, and sometimes experience. But to get hot headed over a discussion simply because you are stuck in a certain mindset will only get you nowhere. Truly reflecting on what someone says to you even if you don’t agree, can help you accept other viewpoints and see different perspectives out their in society. Not all of them might apply to you, but I think coping with your reaction to it is the biggest test, and how you can handle yourself whenever the situation presents itself in different surroundings.
    This article helped me today cope with a “conflicting” situation and I am reflecting on how I can change my approach to better handle the situation. Thank You!

  42. PRESCHOOLER Jul 18, 2012 4:32 pm 42

    I USED TO THINK MYSELF WITTY, FRIENDLY AND OUTGOING, COMPASSIONATE AND EMPATHETIC IN MY STUDIES AND INTERACTIONS WITH OTHERS. I AM TOLD I AM ARROGANT, PUSHY, RUDE, AND I NOW AM AFRAID TO OPEN MY MOUTH. HELP

  43. adissam Jul 21, 2012 1:20 am 43

    This line might help:
    “Feeling annoyed, contemptuous, or even angry because someone thinks differently from us…”
    and then, one can also consider that
    “It is an occasion to wonder if others…”

    Just some ideas.

  44. k Jul 21, 2012 10:08 pm 44

    In line with “re’s” comment 18 in the post “Humility 2” http://www.e-ostadelahi.com/eoe-en/humility-2-definition/ I think tolerance is proportional to our spiritual growth, with the reference which Blake has made in comment 32 (in this article).

  45. B Aug 06, 2012 11:36 pm 45

    Two years after: When reading some of my comments above I feel embarrassed and ashamed. I must admit that some of my “choices of words” were a bit extreme and not appropriate in a public forum. It reminds me of the recording of our actions and thoughts!
    But fundamentally, I still do not agree with this article and my opinion has not changed, because to my understanding the article is not compatible with Natural Spirituality (for example all this “freedom of thought” which is not at stake). The problem is that this presumably ” freedom of thought” (which does not have a real existence) *is* at stake!

    Interestingly some of the things (e.g. “the effect of words”), which JW also wrote about in comment 37, are related to the author’s new post ” The art of listening”.
    @JW: Who says that when the Editorial Board has accepted an article, that one should let ones psychological membrane be totally permeable?
    If someone lectured in the comment sections it was you. I just have my way of expressing myself (which I probably should work on), but that you get so upset by my natural way of expressing myself is is a sign of your *ego*.

  46. 7 Nov 25, 2012 4:58 pm 46

    Thank you Sophie! This article is amazing! After almost two and half years, it still helps me when I read it! I still have may problems in the same subjects and struggling daily.

    @ Almo on comment 17
    Thank you, for your comment, it helped me !

    1. My knowledge and understanding of the science of spirituality and medicine of the soul is not even enough to remedy my own flaws.
    2. I have not been given any Divine responsibility to guide, nor am I suited for it.
    3. God is the ultimate omnipresent teacher that guides everyone the way He knows to be best.
    My ego is so dilated that it hurts to confirm that I don’t have any knowledge after 20 years of reading and practicing. All I believe in is based on my emotions!
    2, and 3, answered the voices that come to me “I care for people and want to help them”. I feel sorry for people!
    However, I keep forgetting I better focus on my own flaws that are too many! I am not in good shape myself, with this limited time on earth!
    My soul has lots of work to do! Why do I have to convince other people! let’s just do my own work!

  47. 7 Dec 21, 2012 5:35 pm 47

    @notodogma

    “Why should I care what people think of my beliefs, and why should I care what they believe in?”
    I often think about your comment (16)!
    How did you get there! You are too advanced for me!
    What is the first step for me to get to where you are?
    Please help me develop this amazing virtue! I know it is a long road, and takes a long time for me to get there, however, what do you think the first step is for someone who is very elementary, and tries to save the world, while she herself is drowning!

  48. notodogma Dec 25, 2012 2:45 pm 48

    @7, “How did you get there! You are too advanced for me!”
    Aging.
    Age is the only thing I might be more advanced in than you.
    So if ever I am virtuous in no longer paying attention to certain things, I can take no credit for it.
    The benefit of aging, I find, is that one gets tired of and unimpressed by grand metaphysical discourses, inflamed or otherwise, and of seemingly far-reaching theories and concepts that people spend so much time arguing and fussing about.
    It all rings increasingly pretentious and hollow.
    What counts, I and many before me have found, is not what one says or professes to believe (talk is cheap).
    It’s how one leads one’s life.
    Merry Christmas to all.

  49. 7 Dec 29, 2012 11:40 am 49

    @notodogma

    Thank you! “Aging”! So simple and so meaningful! Such a brilliant answer!
    Now I am thinking the answer is so obvious! Why did I think of it myself (of course the puzzele get easy when it is solved). Your answer made me realized, it is really childish to get upset over small things, we just have to rise above it. When I think that I am older that other people (my soul must be older, specially from the ones who “do not believe in God”), it relaxes me. The reality is, it really does not matter what other people think of my belief.
    “Aging” is such a magical word! This concept applies to many different situations in life. Now I just have to remember it and apply it in VIVO.

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