In Ancient Greece, debating was a sport. Two debaters would meet each other publicly in front of a crowd, pick some random subject, and toss a coin to decide whether or not they were in “favour of the subject” or “against it.” The debater that had the most applause, would be hailed the winner, and all glory would go to him. The exercise serves many purposes; First it forces the debaters to see the arguments of the side they’re not actually in agreement with, since they would 50% of the time, obviously be forced into arguing in a way that was not in alignment with their own actual beliefs. This paradoxically serves many sociologically beneficial purposes. Among other things, it facilitates for “NLP super humans”, which had the capacity to create “rapport” with those of other belief systems than themselves. Implying, it resulted in people capable of infiltrating any “sub culture”, and ease its edges, resulting in more tolerance and understanding.
The reasons why I write about this subject, is because I was asked about the flat Earth movement on Quora today, and I tried my best at explaining it, under the pretext of that it’s the 21st century’s equivalent of this Ancient Greek tradition, and that few of those proclaiming to actually believe in this, actually believe it. If you are really, really intelligent, and you aren’t all that much picky about what others believes about you, you realise that sometimes pretending to believe in something you don’t believe in, might have positive effects on those whom you pretend to be in agreement with. In NLP there is this concept of “rapport” for instance, where the pretext is that you’re supposed to start out with “being insanely (pun!) in agreement with the person whom you are trying to change.” This gives you a window of opportunity to slowly convince the other side of the table about something they originally didn’t think of, or believe in for that matter, and such apply change to their existing belief systems.
Mormons and Orthodox Easter
For reasons I shouldn’t explain, Mormons are particularly close to my heart. My entire life more or less, I’ve had missionaries on my door, believing in that they could somehow baptise me, into becoming a Mormon – Although I always start out by telling them this is not the case, still they come back, again and again – And we talk about the Bible, Jesus and Christianity at large, and we show each other mutual respect, although my actual own beliefs are arguably as far away from theirs as it is possible to come. However, they’re for the most parts gullible teenagers, simply looking for a chance to be accepted and loved, so I can’t avoid trying to give them that which they seek – Realising you’ll first have to give it, to experience receiving it for yourself.
Fundamentally agreeing to be in disagreement
For instance, I believe in that Jesus never died for anybody’s sins – In fact, I don’t even believe he died at all, at least not at the Golgotha. I believe he was saved by a Jewish Pharisee named Nicodemus, who brought healing herbs (Myrrh and Aloe) into the tomb, where Nicodemus and his friends, spent 3 days healing Jesus’ wounds, while pretending to the authorities that Jesus was dead, to avoid having him die for real. Notice, my pretext for believing in this, is that Jesus actually lived, and that the Bible at least partially depicts his life somehow. Hence, I at the end of the line, do not really know if I am right, but that’s what the Bible tells me, as I study it in details, under the assumption of that it’s a “source for truth.”
After a couple of weekends having listened to the Mormon missionaries talking about their beliefs, and supporting their ideas, I tend to explain them what I believe, in such a way that I don’t create cognitive dissonance though. At which point they realise that a “guy whom they are arguably fundamentally in disagreement with, is actually not such a bad guy after all.” – Which of course is my objective in the first place. Often I’ll also quote passages from the Qu’ran to them, which yes, I have read in its entirety, as to they often will say that “truth is truth, and truth can also exist outside of the Bible and the book of Mormon.” – I will also often talk about Thor the Thunder God, and other pagan religions, with the same amount of respect as I talk about Jesus and the Bible for the record.
I find most of these Mormon boys and girls, simply gullible, cute, and beautiful. Sure, they believe in something I cannot ever believe in, but that’s not the point, because our conversations always starts out with some variation of the following; “Do you believe in Jesus?” – As to my answer is; “Yes! I believe Jesus lives, I believe he is good, and I believe he is our teacher!”
The paradox is that I can say that with a straight face, without lying about my own beliefs at all, and such create “rapport” with people whom I happen to believe in should learn about alternative beliefs, in such a way that they end up having mutual respect for these alternatives. The parts that he never died, I simply wait a couple of months before I drop. And as I “drop it”, we normally have such a great extent of rapport, that admitting to my “full beliefs”, rarely if ever makes them resent me in any ways, and we part as friends, them loving me, and me loving them … ❤
This is the paradox about championing something you don’t believe in, and arguably the recipe for wisdom, allowing us all to see each other as “different but not less”. And to a high functioning Asperger, having taught himself the power of humour and social engineering over the years, that fact is for obvious reasons extremely dear to my own heart, and something I am proud to dedicate my life towards. So here it comes, are you ready for it? Can you believe that which I believe in …?
Hallelujah, Jesus lives!
And maybe, just maybe, the Earth is also flat … 😉