Posted by: Brad Stanford | October 26, 2013

Two Kinds of People

I’ve wanted to write a book called “There Are Two Kinds Of People” for a long time. Each chapter in the book would take two opposite approaches to life and show where they butt heads and why. The purpose would be to create sort of a peacemaker’s manual, while illustrating the absurdity of thinking that we can create laws on one part of the planet that would make sense everywhere else.

Just in Texas alone, the idea of treating Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio exactly the same is ridiculous. Throw in Chicago, L.A., New York, or even Little Rock, and you’ve got some serious culture differences to play with.

So, instead of trying to write a book, I think I will try to express those thoughts here, and see what happens. Perhaps this will be the sketchpad for some final product in the future.

We have to somehow pick two categories to start with out of thousands, so I’ll go right for what i see as the basic premise behind all interactions.

There are two kinds of people. Good and evil.

Right there, I just a lost the humanists, atheists, and a good portion of philosophers. AH! Didn’t think I would see that, did you? Truth is, I have thought for a long time about the debate over whether there is such a thing as good and evil, or if it is simply the result of our abilities to see patterns in the noise. Rather than go on a 2,000-word diatribe that would simply rehash old thoughts on the subject using my own words, I will cut to the chase. If there is no higher authority than man, then there can not be good and evil. If there is a higher authority, then good and evil exists.

Here’s what I mean:

If you accept the premises that there is no higher authority than man, and all men are created equal, or at least, we have all evolved from the same circumstances, then who is one man to tell another what to do? Why should there be any laws, if there is nothing “right” and nothing “wrong”.

Yes, yes, society must function, blah, blah, blah. You know who it is that always claims that laws must keep society functioning? The weak. Those who are unable to win the King Of The Mountain contest that results from there being no laws. So they (wisely) skew the playing field to get a chance of survival by telling other people that it’s somehow “wrong” to destroy others in an effort to guarantee the survival of the fittest, while at the same time claiming “evolution” as the result of the natural process called, “survival of the fittest”.

Lame.

Ignoring the law for the moment, I find that people who think this way also see it as acceptable to, say, commit adultery, until their own spouse does it to them. Somehow, things magically become right and wrong when it happens to them.

So I see a great amount of confusion on that side of the philosophical debate. This along with the fact that this mode of thinking doesn’t actually explain what I see going on in the world, and I’m left looking for a more sensible explanation, like the idea of good and evil being measurable things.

Now there are those on the G&E side of things that believe in two distinct forces, like gravity would be a force. Then there are those who fall into the camp that G&E are not forces, but merely standards that actions can be measured against. Then comes further divisions on the source(s) of those standards, and so forth. So it’s not like there is a Fundamental Baptist stranglehold on the idea of G&E.

But the idea that an act can be categorized as one or the other – that’s what this side is all about. Like I said at the beginning, this really depends on there being a higher authority than man, or else you have one man arbitrarily defining what is good and what is evil. As far as I know, throughout history, man has called this authority “God” (yes, in the historically universal language of American English).

If you have God telling man what is right and wrong because it’s His game and His rules, then man would be wise to follow it to get the most out of life. Simply stated, “good” is what God wants, and evil is opposite of that.

Yes, this opens an enormous, multi-millenial discussion about who God is, where He is, and if that’s even provable. But here’s the bottom line of all this, as we approach 800 words now: there are these two opinions that face off every day. Those who think that there is no such thing as morality, because no man can tell another what to do, and those who think that not only is there right and wrong, but everything would be better off if all of us would adhere to God’s laws.

When, as a peacemaker, I think about bringing these two sides to the table, I understand the impossibleness of the situation. One side thinks there shouldn’t even be a table to come to; the other thinks they will use this opportunity to convince the other side of right and wrong. Both have no motivation to understand each other.

Indeed. The first job, then, is to find common ground, and there is always one base instinct to start from:

“Do you both want to live?”

If either of them answer no, there is no peace to be made, and it’s time to leave quickly. Otherwise, that’s the common ground.

But how sad if that’s the only common ground we share.

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