“Thinking Outside the Box” One of the biggest problems these days facing society is the lack of people

who can/are willing to “think outside the box”. This sad trend can be seen across most disciplines, be it religion, politics, economics or even what is considered normal in society to name just a few. While there are those in society who are free thinkers it often seems that more and more people are either incapable or afraid to thinking for themselves especially when it comes to the topics mentioned above. It all too often seems that many people can only parrot what propaganda that they are exposed to and cannot form their own opinions and thoughts. How often have we all heard or read someone parroting the same information time and time again and when asked why they feel that way or believe what they do they say “Ohhhh, because so and so said it is true” or “Ohhhhh, such and such a website was talking about it so it must be true”. A good example and everyone’s favorite, how many peoples’ justification for why the war in Iraq is legitimate boils down to “because some government website said so”? Pointing to a government website as proof of why a war is legitimate I think has to be the ultimate in backing up my point. Of course these websites are going to say it is legitimate when talking about a US government website. When looking for political truths the last place I would look would be a government site as they are going to be slanted with the current leadership. Using these kinds of sites just goes to show that people cannot think for themselves. The mentality of “well the government says it is true then it must be” is a very dangerous mentality for people to have as it leads to more serious problems later down the road. Take a look at Nazi Germany for an example of the kinds of problems that can occur. The people of Germany at the time fell sway to Hitler’s propaganda machine for various reasons. The people were looking for someone to blame for their problems and Hitler capitalized on this by providing a scapegoat for their problems. Rather then think for themselves they decided that if the legitimately elected government said that this was the cause of their problems then they were more then happy to accept this. Before the objection or point can be made, yes not everyone fell to the propaganda; there were those who did resist and when caught they were dealt with harshly. Once the people realized what was happening it was too late as Hitler had already firmly entrenched himself as absolute ruler with the support of the military and the secret police making him almost completely untouchable. So, are the people themselves responsible for what happened in WWII? Only to the point of that they were unable or was it they were unwilling to see what Hitler was trying to do when they may have been able to prevent it. The blame for the great majority of what happened does indeed fall squarely on the shoulders of Hitler , his advisors and the upper echelons of his military and secret police. A discussion of why he was able to rise to power is a discussion for another thread. What do I mean by “thinking outside the box” when it comes to religion? This is actually very simple to understand I think. Believe in the divine being your faith teaches and their main teachings but keep your mind open to other faiths and beliefs. Keep in mind that

there is more then just one religion. Now sit back and think about what other faiths teach and compare them for yourself. You should now be able to see that many faiths teach the same basic things. Do not be afraid to challenge things either. While those who are the spiritual leadership of the faith may be “divinely inspired” they are still human beings like you and I and therefore can make mistakes. If something they say or do seems wrong to you don’t just accept it at face value because some religious figured said it was correct. Look within your own heart, soul and mind and decide if it is right or not. Here is a good one to get started on….look at the view that many have taught through the years that only one religion is “correct and will lead to salvation” … To me this seems a bit egotistical to think that only a small portion of humans can reach “salvation” especially when you look at how young many of the religions out there are…does that mean that anyone who was born before these religions can not be saved? Does that mean that people on remote islands that have been all but isolated from “civilization” for countless years and never heard of religion or a specific religion are doomed for all time? Also, as I stated I a separate thread, many of these Holy books from the different faiths were written many countless centuries ago…Not only was the capacity for understanding and reasoning vastly different then they are today [b]but [/b] also one must keep in mind that these texts have been translated from language to language over countless years, as with everything else, languages change over time. So it is easy to see that the possibility that texts have lost their original meaning is quite a real possibility. Not only do you have to take into account the changes in languages over the years but the simple fact that translating texts is never an exact science. Often times the original meaning of a text must be guessed by the person making the translation. If we can not even be certain of the translations of these great and holy books then how can we take what they say literally? Thus, it is easy to see that even when it comes to religion we must begin to think for ourselves more and interpret what they say and come to our own understanding of them. To make it more evident that we must interpret these books for ourselves and think about what they are trying to say one must also take into account the fact that any work that was divinely inspired risks being misinterpreted at the very writing of them due to the fact that understanding and knowledge of the divine is infinitely superior to our own even at this time. While the people of the time of the crusades and the time of Inquisition can be at least partially excused for not thinking for themselves as the majority of people in that time were uneducated there is no excuse for people in this day and age not to think for themselves as many these days, at least in the richer nations, are provided with education. If people continue to simply regurgitate that which is fed to them by various institutions and not think for themselves then the horrors that have occurred in the past centuries will continue to repeat themselves, and with the improved weapons of war that have been developed the death toll and damage caused by societies non-thinking will be earth shattering, and quite possibly in a very literal way.

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