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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %TRANSCEND DIVISIVE CONFLICTS BETTER GOOD EVIL SIN+960108 %PERSONAL COMMUNAL INTEGRITY CHRISTIANITY CONFORM+960108 %FRAGMENT PRIDE DIVIDE DIFFERENT RITUAL DOCTRINE+960108 %AUTHORITY SCRIPTURE VIOLENCE WAR TERROR THREAT 960108 Christianity, which is named in honor of a title given to an itinerant non-conformist religious revolutionary from Nazareth in Galilee, has fragmented itself into countless sects---each of which prides itself on the basis of what is its basis for being divided off from the rest. Christians' pride within sects is often rooted in what they have chosen as making them different from each other; rather than being based upon what they have chosen as the basis for being together in love and reconciling service. Consider the grounds for fragmenting Christianity into countless sects: 1. Geographic considerations: Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Rome, Constantinople . . . 2. Rituals: circumcision, baptisms, communion . . . 3. Doctrines: trinity, law, faith, works, gifts . . . 4. Authorities: scripture, people, institutions . . . 5. Art forms: statues, paintings, icons, dance . . . 6. Music: vocal, instrumental, drums, choral . . . 7. Life styles: simple, sophisticated, costly . . . So long as people seek to be better than others it is always easy to find grounds for considering oneself better than others---and to view many people as evil and worthy of destruction. Seeking to be better tends to encourage human divisive tendencies---and so to encourage conflict and violence. Personal and communal integrity is promoted by people who seek to find common grounds for working together in cooperative ways. It is helpful to seek to identify and demonstrate ideals, values and principles upon which the broadest possible agreement can be reached. Such agreement cannot be used as the basis for distinguishing some people as "better" than other people. Decisive people are preoccupied with which people are "better" than other people; who is "good" and who is "evil". Making such judgements is not an essential part of promoting personal and communal integrity. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================