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Are we more apt to embrace the foreign?

Just an observation: I think Mormons are more comfortable exploring spiritual things perceived as "foreign", or using them as positive examples such as: Eastern Religion, Yoga, Meditation, Islam and even Astrology. As an experiment, read over that list again. Add a few things to it yourself. I have a hunch you will feel very little animosity towards the items in that list, unless you are racist or have some other personal prejudice against it.

When the spiritual elements hit closer to home, we tend to go on the defensive. The Trinity, Baptist hymns, Muslim polygamy, seer stones, family altars, Pentecostals speaking in tongues, stories of revelations or visitations of heavenly beings, baptisms. Items on this list may be more of a mixed bag of feelings. We may find some of them extremely positive, others extremely negative. This is because we are culturally closer to these practices, and therefore we become more critical of them. What is seen as a deviant form of Christianity is always more offensive to the Christian than a deviant form of Buddhism would be, for example.

Is this good or bad? Should we train ourselves to be equally leery of the foreign practices, or should we be try to be equally accepting of those domestic practices similar to ours? From who do we learn more? and is it because their information is better, or because our minds do not close up to what they have to say?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine refers to this phenomenon as "the vanity of small differences." It is an exceedingly common response to "apostate" practices of all kinds, be they religious, cultural or ritual.