The most dangerous people in the world are those who believe that their way is the right way.
History proves this observation about people. All we have to do is remember the Inquisition, Hitler, and today’s Jihadist Muslims. These are the extremes of the way people who believe they are right and righteous can behave, but there are many less extreme people who also believe that they have the right answer, either through their God’s word or through their national patriotism or loyalty to their leader.
In all these cases, those who believe they have the right way separate themselves from those who don’t and create an us versus them attitude by which they treat others differently than those who believe their way. They may treat them with disdain and distrust, or they may treat them with pity, with a desire to save them, but they do not treat them as equals human beings.
Quite frequently, the thems are somewhat dehumanized by the uses giving uses the right to treat those who are seen as different from them in demeaning or abusive ways. Think, for example, of the way we treated Africans when European and American Christians broken families to capture and then subordinate those taken from their homeland to slavery. Or, think about the way we treated the Native Americans of our country when we took their land without negotiations of any merit and broke families up in order to Christianize their “heathen” children.
This abuse of others happened because the Roman Catholic Church and Christian Europeans of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries believed that non-Christian people from different cultures were primitive and subordinate human beings who did not qualify to be treated by the laws and rules of western civilization.
Similarly, males have used and abused females throughout history. Because males have been typically endowed with greater physical strength than females by nature, they naturally became the dominant humans in tribes and then societies, not much differently than the dominance of alpha males in various animal societies, and they used their power to control and use material goods and people to serve their wishes. Unfortunately, along with this evolution of male dominance came a belief that females were not equal to males and, therefore, could be used and abused.
In modern day society we see a similar disregard of human beings who suffer from mental illness or other cognitive or physical disabilities and are poor, homeless or incapable of properly caring for themselves. The disregard comes from the rich and capable members of the same society because of their belief that the disabled persons are derelicts unfit for equality with them. You cannot have compassion for people who you do not believe are equal human beings.
The reason such abuse of humans by other humans happens, in my opinion, is because those who feel righteous in their own or their group’s beliefs tend to view others only from a “skin deep” or superficial position. That is, they see and respond only to the differences in others and judge them accordingly rather than looking through the “skin deep” differences to see that any other person they encounter is an equal human being.
Individual differences in thoughts, beliefs, and physical makeup will always exist and should not be a barrier to upholding as a highest human priority respect and preservation of the rights to basic equality for all human beings. This requires compassion for all other humans, something that can only happen when we stop believing that we have the most right answers to life and come to accept the fact that so do most other people in their own ways.
Think about this: the most universal of God’s laws is the Golden Rule, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. According to Wikipedia, virtually every religion that has existed or exists has this as one of his primary laws from God. Whether or not you believe in a higher being, universality of anything usually underscores its value for humanity.
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