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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.} ========================================================== %EITHER/OR PRISON 971104 "Either/or" people are often imprisoned in assumptions, convictions and beliefs --- which they fear to examine openly and honestly in public ways. They may think: 1. If opponents are at all right in what the opponents say, then they themselves cannot be at all right in what they themselves are saying. 2. There can be no common ground between what they and their opponents are saying. 3. Paradoxes are the work of the Devil. 4. Ambiguity and doubts must be eliminated. 5. They are called by God to contend with those who disagree with them; to be contentious in contending for God. 6. It is heresy and/or a sign of little faith to agree with anything which the opposition says or hints at. 7. It is heresy to let-go of, or detach from, any of one's traditionally cherished assumptions, convictions, beliefs or practices. 8. Heretics must be excluded from the inner-circle of trusted friends and leaders. 9. Everyone is in competition for scarce/limited resources such as love, acceptance, inclusion, affection, intimacy, respect, honor; what one gets --- another loses. 10. Only those who are the most trustworthy and best ---are to be permitted to be included, respected, honored and permitted to serve in leadership positions. 11. Security is achieved through one's own faith, dedication, discipline and hard work. 12. Salvation is a scarce commodity which is available only to the select few who are the best. 13. The key to salvation is obedience. 14. Conflict is inevitable; what matters is being on the right side of each conflict and helping that side win. 15. When in doubt --- be suspicious of the personal and communal integrity of others. 16. The righteous ones must defend the purity of their beliefs, faith, practices and community. 17. Righteousness depends upon conformity to right: scriptural choices/interpretations, rituals, doctrines, prescriptions, proscriptions, confessions, and behaviors. 18. People are (at a very fundamental level) not worthy of trust and respect --- due to original sin and disobedience. 19. There is only one narrow way to get into heaven. 20. Tolerance is intolerable to the most righteous. 21. We must get others to gather around and agree. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================