Sunday Sermon September 5, 2010 Ethnocentrism

I felt compelled to write this week with a very special day approaching here in the United States. On September 11, we will be remembering the many that were killed in the attacks in New York nine years ago. Many nations grieved with us and we thank those who have offered kind words in remembrance. The towers now gone and a hole left where they once stood we are troubled again with conflict in the area as there is protest about plans to build a mosque near the area as mentioned in another blog recently. Another event that has led me to write this is a dispute between a couple family members about how Jediism is not real because it does not fall into their definition of their religion. As we are all individuals and entitled to our own opinions this is my opinion on matters of discrimination and the lesser evil of ethnocentrism. 

Ethnocentrism is a term that until recently I had not heard. It was mentioned in an Anthropology class that I am taking this year and the book definition is “The practice of viewing the customs of other societies in terms of one’s own.” And “The belief that one’s own culture is superior to all others.” Where this sounds much like discrimination I see a subtle difference as ethnocentrism is more a mental view that can lead to acts of discrimination. Both however are in dire need of elimination.

As stated on this site one of our Jedi beliefs is stated as: Jedi believe in working towards a culture that is relatively free of discrimination on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, national origin, degree of ability, age, etc. In order for this to happen we first need to find a way to stop seeing our unique cultures as superior to others. Everyone in this world and even the universe is as different as snowflakes. How then can we say that one is better than another? Are blue eyes better than brown? Is engineering knowledge better than security knowledge? Even though this is an apples to oranges look it also hold true to apples to apples. I may prefer green apples and you, red. The only thing we can really say is that one is better for me.

Focusing on the religious standing, nobody can say that they have all the answers to what is right and what is wrong. We must all look at our own life and figure out what works for us. How do we do that? The best way is started in our initiates program with a study of several religions. We can also branch out into studying as many other religions and beliefs as we can. In this way we are broken free or the known ideas that re are raised to believe and forbidden to question. Only after we have all the facts and once we see all the angles can we decide which view is right for us. The biggest mistake that many make next is that once we see what is right for us we then assume that it is best for everyone else. So, step two is to understand that different does not mean better. We do not have to go out and convert members to believe as we believe because we see our way as the right way. All that we can do is to hold true to our values and beliefs and if others choose to follow then we can guide them to understand what we see as right. The third step then is to accept others rights to believe as they choose.

Here at the Temple we believe in a Syncretistic look at religion in such we may remain members of whatever faith we have and add to it the belief and faith of the temple. This outlook still does not make us better than any other religion just better for us and different than others. Let us be free of the need to feel better than other people. Let us reach out and see that the acts of one person do not define the beliefs of the culture as a whole. Just because the terrorist that attacked the Twin Towers were Muslim does not mean that all Muslims are terrorist. Ethnocentrism in these cases can be stated in one of my favorite quotes saying: “We all judge by our own standards”. Let us judge by the standard of tolerance, understanding, and peace. May the Force be with us all.

Comments (6)

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nicely put, this is a far more eloquent statement of what i was thinking when i posted the mosque blog. <br /><br />everyone judges by their own standards of right and wrong, only by removing ourselves from these standards can we judge...

nicely put, this is a far more eloquent statement of what i was thinking when i posted the mosque blog. <br /><br />everyone judges by their own standards of right and wrong, only by removing ourselves from these standards can we judge objectively. each person must learn how to keep their own personal views from clouding their judgement. <br /><br />tolerance, understanding, and peace are obtained through knowledge, and wisdom.

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The was marvilous, though I fear that we do judge without thought of our own standards. Humanity has a great distance to travel until we evolve into a society that is indeed torlerant of those who are not the same as ourselves. But truely a...

The was marvilous, though I fear that we do judge without thought of our own standards. Humanity has a great distance to travel until we evolve into a society that is indeed torlerant of those who are not the same as ourselves. But truely a wonderful sermon Robert, I look forward to your next one. Espeacially as if it along the same standard as this one.

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Ethnocentrism is sadly at work right now in current events. A Pastor from Florida decides to have a Quaran burning in response to the news of the NY Mosque, and now this is leading to protests in Afganistan, and further danger to US troops...

Ethnocentrism is sadly at work right now in current events. A Pastor from Florida decides to have a Quaran burning in response to the news of the NY Mosque, and now this is leading to protests in Afganistan, and further danger to US troops stationed over there. The 'certain point of view principal' comes to mind here, as well as the dangers of Absolutism. Not ALL Muslims want to kill non Muslims. Likewise not ALL Christians feel that ALL Muslims are terrorist murderers. However so long as the few of either faction believe in their respective misconceptions then there will be more conflict and bloodshed. From my personal point of view I see neither as the true evil, but rather the cloud of delusion and disillusion between the two beliefs is where the true darkness and evil lies. A great lesson of how religious (and political) conflict can lead to excessive strife is the Bosnian Conflict of the 90s. This was a conflict that resulted from hundreds of years of indifference and religious intolerance.

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Great sermon. As a new member it's refreshing to see that we practice what we preach or in this case preach what we preach, I mean that the principles laid out in the initiates training (which I'm currently studying) are consistent with your day...

Great sermon. As a new member it's refreshing to see that we practice what we preach or in this case preach what we preach, I mean that the principles laid out in the initiates training (which I'm currently studying) are consistent with your day to day. Thanks

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Another thing that intrigues me and I did not put it in the sermon but when people of different religions make comments about "Killing the American infidel" one thing they do not appear to understand is that there are Americans that practice...

Another thing that intrigues me and I did not put it in the sermon but when people of different religions make comments about "Killing the American infidel" one thing they do not appear to understand is that there are Americans that practice almost if not all religions. I heard about the Quran burnings and it just reinforces the idea that we need to stop thinking we are better. This country was founded on the basis of religious freedom so intolerance that is being displayed in my opinion is just a spit in the face of our forefathers.

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just saw on the news that the church is still planning to go through with the burning... :sigh: <br /><br />such hypocrites....they speak to their congregation of tolerance then turn around and do something intolerant. and as shenlong pointed out...

just saw on the news that the church is still planning to go through with the burning... :sigh: <br /><br />such hypocrites....they speak to their congregation of tolerance then turn around and do something intolerant. and as shenlong pointed out this is creating greater problems for our troops in afghanistan....troops that are fighting for the same freedoms and ideals that are being spit on by the church doing the burnings.<br /><br />my stepdad once told me: "no matter how good you are, there is always somebody better"....i mainly used that phrase as a means of pushing myself harder, however it can be applied anywhere. if we all applied that theory in everyday occassions there would be no "i'm better then everyone else"

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