Monday, May 05, 2008

The Alphabet Backwards: "Q" is for Questions

Well, it's alphabet backwards day, one of my worst ever ideas but I'm sticking with it anyway. I guess there were a lot of other things I could have done with the letter Q, but I'm think this is an important one. Here's my question:

Why don't people question things more?

When did we become a society that just swallowed any pap the media handed out to us as though it were truth, without thinking about it? Why don't we question the motives behind incendiary and hate-mongering talk? Why don't we question whether "no new taxes" actually serves our highest good? Why don't we question whether our President is lying about things? Why don't we question those stupid emails that come into our mailboxes that make absolutely no sense if you stop and think for even 20 seconds. If the world was really coming to an end, if there was some new virus destroying every computer in America, if X detergent was really killing babies, don't you think you'd have heard about it in the news? Why don't people stop and think?

My primary vote was cast a long time ago for Dennis Kucinich. It bothers me that people didn't question the media's motives for silencing a great man. One reason, I think is because Dennis K asks questions about important issues. He asked questions (and offered answers) about universal health care, about peace, about impeachment... all things that the forces currently running this country into the ground don't want asked. Questions move the world forward. They are the foundation for all scientific advancement. We know that. But they are also the basis for intellectual, social and spiritual growth.

I've never understood the idea of "unquestioning faith." To me that isn't faith at all. How can one have a true relationship with the Divine if you have never questioned the who and what and how of what you profess to believe? How can one understand the tenets of one's faith if one doesn't question them? I find that mind boggling. But I digress

Questions are important, whether they are trivial or deep. Children know this. They question everything. It's how they figure out who they are and how the world works. When we stop asking questions, stop looking beneath the surface, we rob ourselves and our lives of a richness that is what makes it worth living. We rob ourselves of the opportunity to find the truth and we put ourselves at the mercy of those who would control us.

I've been saddened by the whole Rev. Wright debacle that is playing out in the media right now. I don't agree with all this man says, but I'm not black and I haven't lived my life with the shadow of racism hanging over me. Still, when I heard the clips being played over and over in the news, I wondered why nobody was asking about the context in which these sentences were offered? What was really being said? What was their intent? When I asked those questions, I came to a very different conclusion than what the media was implying. I also asked the question? Do I agree with everything every pastor I ever listened to has said? Did I leave the church when they said something I didn't like? Is it possible to love someone and disagree with what they preach? Aren't people profoundly complex and multi-faceted?

I'm going to stop here and let Bill Moyers - one of my favorite people on earth - ask some questions and suggest some answers on the subject of the Rev. Wright.

That's it for the letter "Q." I'm sick with a touch of the flu today. If I am even less coherent than usual, I apologize. Hopefully, Bill Moyers will make up for my failings.


Jeni said...

Thanks for a very insightful post today. And, especially for the Bill Moyers video! Frankly, I don't understand why more people can't follow the train of thought of the Rev. Wright. No, I didn't like hearing his words but I had to stop and think about the walk of life he has had that differs greatly from mine, and try to put myself then in his shoes to get a better grasp on what he was saying -and why. That, along with Bill Moyers speech give me a firm belief that he is not the racist many accused Rev. Wright of being but a free thinker, speaking from his circumstances.
People, angry over his comments about 9-11 will say America didn't invite those attacks but in essence, because of our attitude towards other nations, societies, trying to impose the American way of life on many without taking into consideration the differences in cultures, ethnic groups, religions, etc., did in a manner of speaking invite others to try to give us what they see as a dose of our own medicine. This does not mean I approved of the attacks, just that I can understand somewhat the aspects that may be the undercurrent that helped cause them.

Dianne said...

If this is you "incoherent" then when you're coherent you truly should run the world.

I think that, in part, questioning stopped right after 9/11 when the Bush machine saw their opportunity to turn the masses into frightened knee jerks. Every single time anyone asked a question they were accused of being unpatriotic in the face of such tragedy. When we questioned Iraq we were likened to terrorists, we were accused of not supporting the troops.

The Rev. Wright insanity has really upset me - for all the reasons you listed so eloquently.

Raven said...

Hi jeni - don't you just love Bill Moyers? I think dianne hit the nail on the head when she said many are intimidated from discussing these things because the Bush administration turned asking questions into being a traitor.

Nothing condones 9/11 or any act of terrorism, but terrorism doesn't spring out of nowhere and not looking at and understanding the whys of terrorism is a guarantee that it will continue to flourish.

hi dianne - I think you are right about the intimidation thing. I feel sorry for Obama being snared in this. Part of me wonders why Wright is adding fuel to the fire of the media, but then again why shouldn't he have a right to defend himself and to speak his mind. I love Bill Moyers. He's one of my heroes.

maryt/theteach said...

Katherine, what Bill Moyers said (I listened to him hanging on every word) was so reasonable and understanding. The question is why can't we all be as rational as Moyers. Why are so many people so angry? Why does the media emphasize out of all proportion the meaning of Rev. Wright's words. I was so saddened by everything that happened between Wright and Obama. Why weren't more people saddened?

What you said, the questions you asked are so thoughtful and sympathetic...I admire what you've said. :)