To create straw men and women
Community life of any kind is difficult, or another way to say it would be, if there are two or more people living or working together, there will be some level of struggle between them. It helps if those who belong to a community share the same values, though the difficulties will always be there. Some groupings are forced more or less. Going to school, being in the military, the work place of course, or perhaps the most difficult situation, being in some sort of prison, are examples of ‘communities’ were there may be no central core to allow on some level some sort of deep communication. Of course forced communities do not least long, unless one is in prison for a long period of time with others who can’t leave.
In our world today, as our ability to communicate expands, where news is instant, our sense of place changes, as well as for many, community. No matter what kind of community one belongs to, one freely entered into, or one forced by circumstances, there can arise many problems, many of which seem insurmountable.
In any group there will be a left, right and middle. This goes for all political parties, in religions and yes in communities no matter how small they are. People are just different, an obvious fact, but this palpable truth does little in helping many communities towards some kind of peace. Of course the fighting is normal and perhaps needed. The issue becomes serious when sides are taken and then there is only shouting, avoidance, or outright violence.
Many of us live in a world populated by straw-men and women, stereotypes that are easily dealt with and shelved. No one likes being made into straw. An image other than the one being attacked and then beaten over the head with simplistic prejudices that have no real depth, or bearing, for the one have the stuffing beaten out of them, for discounting only leads to further anger and rage.
An atheist for many theists is evil and selfish, godless and should not be trusted. Theists for atheist are simple minded, irrational and weak, who need to grow up. Muslims for many are all warlike and evil, and should not be trusted. For many Muslims I guess it is the same in what they say about Christians. No one likes being ‘straw’, yet I would say most of us are good at creating others into that image.
If we don’t actually see each other and at least seek to listen and to understand, then our wars will get worse, our hatreds deeper and our sense of being right stronger and more self righteous….until one day it will all end with a whimper after a big bang.