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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.} ========================================================== %INTEGRATIVE DIALOGUE PROMOTE RELIGIOUS UNDERSTAND 960615 People often cluster together in mutual support societies which specialize upon consensus/conformal thinking. Such societies often exclude from their membership creative people who have complementary insights to offer. Thus such societies often become narrow mutual admiration societies which accentuate attitudes, assumptions, beliefs and patterns of behavior which are disintegrative---doing so in insurance of what the consequences are. By their fruits we may know them, if we will. We may discover our blind spots by writing out various people's most basic beliefs, assumptions, points of view, ideals, ideas, values, etc. Then let each participant indicate with a "P" their priorities upon which they would recommend focusing attention, "L" their long-term-goals for later attention, "I" the items they would just as soon ignore, and "N" the items that they feel strongly should not be the focus of attention of any kind. The items can then be rank ordered according to a scale such as "P" => +2 points, "L" => +1 point, "I" => 0 points, "N" => -1 point. This we may call the 2PL-N scale. For purposes of consideration of minority points of view we may devise another scale where "P" => +1 and "L" => +1; which we may call the PL scale. Then minorities of 1/3 on the PL scale should be heard but not have the power to dominate. Items which are top ranked on the 2PL-N scale and enjoy majority support on the PL scale should be the focus of most of the attention. By knowing how people have voted in a survey as above---it is usually possible to identify contrasting points of view and the contrasting people who support the contrasting points of view. It will be helpful to work to help such contrasting people to learn how to be in dialogue with each other regarding their attitudes, assumptions, beliefs and patterns of behavior---in an effort to help all participants become aware of their integrative and disintegrative fruits. A major effort will need to be made to avoid focusing upon conflicts which divide---rather then upon agreements which may unite the participants. Within some religious groups the following statements might be the focus of a survey as suggested above. 1. There are no contradictions between parts of the Bible. 2. Jesus Christ is the only way for humans to reach God and Heaven. 3. Christians are called by God to obey all the commandments found in the Bible. 4. The Bible gives one set of standards for all people to be guided by, regardless of their personal differences. 5. The life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus did not change any duty to obey Old Testament commandments. 6. Christians are called to use all means available to convert all humans to Christian beliefs, rituals and behavior patterns. 7. It is un-Christian to tolerate un-Christian beliefs and behaviors. 8. There is no ambiguity in God's commandments; the choice is always a clear one between obedience and disobedience. 9. The texts of Holy Scriptures are literally true and should not be interpreted by humans. 10. Christians must conform themselves to proper beliefs and patterns of behavior to achieve their salvation. 11. The salvation of each Christian depends primarily upon their own individual beliefs and pattern of behavior. 12. It is sometimes necessary for Christian Churches to excommunicate members who do not conform properly to Christian beliefs and patterns of behavior. 13. God cannot reveal to any modern person any new truths not found in the Bible. 14. All truths which modern people need can be found in the Bible. 15. The Christian Moral Code is the central feature of the New Testament Gospel. 16. It is important for Christians to identify and avoid associating with evil people in the world. 17. The essence of evil is alienation from God and God's children. 18. Christians should strive to lead lives of moral perfection, always obeying all of God's holy commandments. 19. All of the commandment of the Old Testament are as important and valid today as when they were first given by God long ago. 20. Good Christians trust the leaders whom God provides them. 21. Christians should not look beyond the Bible for spiritual and moral guidance. 22. True Christian living is full of paradoxes; i.e., truths which often seem contradictory to each other. 23. True peacemaking often entails finding creative ways to fulfill apparently conflicting ideals and values. 24. God's will is not fulfilled by willfully excommunicating any person. 25. Behavior which encourage people to be secretive, deceptive and dishonest---are evil behaviors. 26. Personal and communal integrity are essentially interdependent upon each other; neither of them can be properly sacrificed to promote the other. 27. Human forgiveness and love more often promote true healing---than do human judgements and condemnations. 28. Honesty and humility promote true healing more often than do arrogance and pride. 29. God loves all people. 30. Only a small fraction of people will get to heaven in the last days. 31. It is a heresy to pretend to be serving God when one is being judgmental and without love. 32. It is blasphemy to try to do for God what we want to do for ourselves. 33. God is an angry judgmental man like an alcoholic/addictive father. Conflict among Christians indicates: 34. Some Christians have yielded to temptations to be unfaithful and disobedient. 35. Some Christians are not taking the Scriptures seriously enough. 36. Some Christians have been misled. 37. The Devil is at work within the church. 38. Christians are not obeying God's commandments. 39. The leaders have not been firm enough. 40. Christians have not truly resolved conflicts between important ideas, ideals and values. 41. Christians are being led by conflicting assumptions, attitudes and convictions. 42. Christians are not dealing honestly with their differences. 43. God needs us to stick together to help him overcome the forces of evil. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================