I've been thinking alot about jerseys lately. Football jerseys, baseball, hockey, polo, and so on. However, I've been really thinking about the human fascination with jerseys. Not the sports jerseys, but those jerseys that represent ideology, theology, politics, social acceptance really.
I initially was going to comment on the American fascination with jerseys, but I think it's a human thing. We Americans are just really good at it. Any rate, I've always had a distaste for the concept of having to chose a specific side and fight for it tooth and nail.
Lets start with the easy one. Politics. I find it ethically reprehensible and just plain ignorant to vote purely based on what color jersey a candidate wears. I've known many people who insist on voting for a single party regardless of the issues or even the candidates themselves. In fact, I detest such a thing so much as to say one might as well not vote. One step further, I think someone who doesn't vote is a more responsible voter than one who votes based on their affiliation.
In this behavioral system, I would find it highly likely that a rock painted blue and given a name could win a blue state even if a moderate conservative like John McCain decided to run red. It would not matter. Certain people, let's call them sheep, look for the "R" and pull the handle. And though that example points out Republicans I would be remiss if I did not point out that Democrats do the same thing.
The idea of people coming together has faded away. Divisiveness is what sells. It animates people. Maybe people just like to argue. A lot of what goes on here on beliefnet is me versus you arguing. Although my experience has also shown that many people here are more level headed and debate rather than argue. The forums I normally check out have proved to be more insightfull.
In point of fact, I feel that there is a difference of people on this web site as well as the world. Some are insightful while others are incite-ful. Maybe it's in our human nature to be competitive. Maybe we just want to be right. And maybe we just want to belong to a group. There is the rub. Humans long to be part of something in general but there is a fine line between a community mentality and a group mentality.
Perhaps more so than politics, religion has become a complex system of jerseys. And also perhaps more than politics, religion usually leaves little room for acceptance of each other's jerseys. In a nutshell, the major religions of today claim a single god and that their ways in specific are those that are acceptable to that god. Everyone else is wrong. It's difficult to debate, discuss, or even philosophize that mentality. For Christian, let's say, there is little room to discuss the existence of God or Christ. These are two steadfast truths to a Christian. They may be willing to philosophize about the nature of God or the teachings of Christ but it is not within their ability to question the very existence.
In analogy, if I were sitting in my home watching TV and someone came in and announced that the TV was not there, I would think they are crazy. I also would not bother getting into a debate about the existence of the TV. I would rigidly defend and explain the TV's existence. And likewise, if I were sitting in the room and someone entered and announced there was an invisible unicorn in the attic, I would again think they were nuts. I also would not try to prove there was no invisible unicorn. This person is crazy. He will not let go of his belief even if I took him to the attic and said "look, no unicorn."
Ah but it is invisible! My point is really that if we find ourselves in disagreement with a person who claims a jersey, a team, we will find no enlightenment, no insight and no horizon broadening thought. Such people have very clearly defined boarders of thought. They will not color outside the lines, if you will. If a person is open to all possibilities, yet unwilling to align themselves with a single theology or ideology, he or she will be able to reach great heights in thought.371d36d75e05eda735858f8e467be99c