Today something interesting happened.
I overheard a conversation about religion that struck me as slightly offensive. Actually, that may be too strong a word . . . It was definitely somewhere between disrespectful and offensive, though. The details don't matter so much, except that I felt like the general message of the conversation was that religion is meant for people who can't, or don't want to, think for themselves. That religious people are generally just living life according to the dictates of someone else, rather than making smart decisions on their own.
I've heard these kinds of things my whole life. People have been telling me my whole life -- in as nice a way as possible, mind you -- that I'm an idiot for following a religion, and an organized one at that. It's nothing new. But rather than defend my position, I'd rather move on to the interesting thing that happened, and it is this: The interesting thing is that I realized there are two ways to look at life. One way is to see the world as inhabited by idiots. That everyone around you is stupid or at least extremely lazy. They don't make good decisions when left to their own devices, and if they don't believe the same way you do, it must be because they're simply not as smart. This means that when you meet someone, you automatically expect them to prove themselves to you. Everyone is an idiot until proven otherwise.
The other way is to see the world as inhabited by capable beings who try their hardest to make good decisions every day. That everyone around you is generally as smart as they can be, and they make the best decisions they can when left to their own devices. If they don't believe the same way you do, it must be because they have different reasons and different priorities. This means that when you meet someone, you automatically expect them to be at least as smart as you. Everyone is smart until proven otherwise.
I fall into the second approach. There are millions of people who believe and live differently than me, but I certainly don't think it's because they can't think for themselves or because I am vastly smarter than they are. Sure, I'm probably smarter than some, but I'm also much less smart than others. I'd just like the same kind of respect, especially from people who are as smarter or smarter.
Thing I'm thankful for: rice pudding (Good on ya, Google!)