Every person of faith must choose if faith is water or cement in their lives. That choice is sometimes a lifetime in the making. A faith that is cement is meant to be absolute, definable, tangible, and - most importantly - defendable.
To understand such terrorist organizations the model of a superorganism may be useful. It refers to a complex structure comprised of elements that could not behave at higher levels independently but exhibit specialized functions.
Religion aside, I firmly believe that those who argue that homosexuality is a choice do so in order to justify senseless beatings of gays and lesbians, and continued discrimination and mistreatment against them. I also believe without a doubt that it is a choice to be a nasty human being.
We try to display ourselves as strong, independent beings, as confident and un-phased by the events around us. In reality, it is often a show, a facade, a cry for attention rather than an element of fortitude.
You may not want to disappoint those closest to you, but it is your life. When you don't change, you keep doing the same thing over and over, perhaps expecting a different result. Albert Einstein referred to this as the definition of insanity. You're not insane, are you?
"Assad was a master of evasion, dodging, weaving, demanding absolute certainty; he treated the interview as a game of chess, making the necessary moves to avoid having to admit the evidence he knows (I believe) is there."
These deeply-held beliefs and faulty assumptions prevent us from putting ourselves out there and taking risks, strategies that happy people rely on to succeed. They also prevent us from having those tough conversations, whether with ourselves or with important people in our lives.
My friend was having trouble reconciling the fact that I am both a scientist whom she respects and someone who calls himself a Christian. How do I tell my friend that being a Christian has not always been foundationally defined on belief, but a transformative way of newly living, a faith?
In houses of worship, we share so many important milestones of our lives. We are a community, unlike any other. This amazing, intangible, but palpable, "mystery" of the Holy is what gives us common ground on which to stand.
Altruism is a lofty aspiration. The do-gooders of the world are widely revered for their pureness of heart, selflessness and generosity. Could it be that they have an ulterior motive? Even if their reward is simply to feel good about themselves?
Because our beliefs are so powerful, we actually may be shocked that others could think the way they do. How could they believe that? They must be crazy! We may even become suspicious of them for thinking so illogically, and more importantly, for thinking so acutely opposite to us.
Language is important. Our actions follow our thoughts. Your first step to healthy living may well be to simply listen to your words, the phrases that you spin and then, if need be, stop and rewrite them.