In this post, I wrote that I was really happy for the older relative of mine who wanted to work in the temple.
And in the comments to this post, Jonathan compared baptism for the dead to flag desecration, which I agree with. I think his comparison has merit.
So here we have a contradiction (on the same blog, no less). On the one hand I’m happy for my relative, but on the other hand, I disagree on a philosophical level about what she might be doing (baptisms for the dead). It reminds me of the line in the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” where Teyve says “They can’t both be right!”.
I believe there are contradictions inherent in modern everyday life. I try to be the best person I can be. I try not to make decisions that will negatively impact other people. I try to not purchase clothing made in sweat shops. I try to consume locally grown food. I serve jury duty and encourage non registered friends to register and vote.
But with that said, modern life is not simple. There are times when I’m not able to live up to these standards. If my clothing is made here in the United States, the fabric (or dye) might be made in a different country. It’s difficult to live a life of integrity – and from my experience, even more difficult to live a life full of integrity with little ones.
The best any of us can do is to try and be the best person possible, and to take self-inventories on a regular basis.
I have lots of friends with many different beliefs. They may also be members of many different organizations. I may disagree with their organizations. As an example, I’ll take the ACLU. The ACLU defends many people who wouldn’t have a voice otherwise, but they defend some groups I disagree with. I may disagree with some of those groups (the neo-nazis come to mind) but I realize why someone has to defend them.
There are all sorts of groups and organizations that I may disagree with the premise of. Those groups may take actions that I disagree with strongly.
And I can still support and care about my loved ones who may be involved in groups or organizations. Some may be as harmless as the local PTA (parent teacher association). Others are not so harmless.
In the end, my opinion is just my opinion. I believe each person has to live by the dictates of their own conscience, and I want to give others that freedom.
I don’t think that I arrogantly have to tell a relative of mine NOT to light a candle for me in a Roman Catholic church because I disagree with it. I’ll spend my time and energy on something I can actually change or impact.