I really like this quote from Carl Sagan (it’s from page 298 of “The Demon-Haunted World”). I had read this book with my friend (the pastor) who I mentioned in my very first blog post. It has been a very long time but I pulled the book off the shelves and found the quote – turns out I had put 3 stars on the side of this paragraph so clearly it impacted me by just the same amount then as it does now. You can read more in context at http://mohandasgandhi.tumblr.com/post/2933212857/in-a-life-short-and-uncertain-it-seems-heartless – turns out I had underlined the entire section written on that blog post – no surprise there, since it makes sense that others see the same value to that section of the book. It really is a notable piece.
While I surely don’t always live up to my goals in this particular area, it is definitely one of my goals to treat others who disagree with me with as much kindness as I can. “temper our criticism with kindness” – not an easy task of a balancing act, but if we all were to make an attempt at this kind of balancing act I feel that as humans our path to finding out about reality would be a shorter one, and the journey would be a happier more peaceful one as well.
Originally posted on Mind of a Mute:
“In the way that scepticism is sometimes applied to issues of public concern, there is a tendency to belittle, to condescend, to ignore the fact that, deluded or not, supporters of superstition and pseudoscience are human beings with real feelings, who, like the sceptics, are trying to figure out how the world works and what our role in it might be. Their motives are in many cases consonant with science. If their culture has not given them all the tools they need to pursue this great quest, let us temper our criticism with kindness. None of us comes fully equipped.” -Carl Sagan
Whether you’re an atheist, theist, agnostic, or…politician(?), your view does not give you the right to put others down for views of their own. We are not robots. We all have a will of our own. We have the right to choose whatever belief system we want. We cannot learn if we believe that we have it all figured out. All of us are trying to find our way in this mysterious world that we were born into and people, circumstances, and environment can shape or even distort those views. This is important to understand before pushing your own flawed, incomplete understanding on them.
…let us temper our criticism with kindness…