Saturday, February 25, 2012

The "Born This Way" Philosophy.

One of my friends told me a story about something that happened in his comparative religion class. They were discussing abortion, and one girl, who was a devout Christian, was saying that it was immoral and should not be practiced. She held firm in this view until one boy asked her, "Would you still fight for a baby's right to life if it grew up to be gay?" This, in my friend's words, "froze the room," and our Christian became uncertain. I wish I had been there.

First of all, the answer is yes. If the child we save at the clinic on a random Monday grows up to be gay, or a school teacher, or a drug dealer, or a doctor - it doesn't matter.

But here's what gets me upset: Do certain people not deserve life? No. Everyone deserves their shot at life. I don't have to agree or support what they do, but they still deserve life. This segways nicely into my next rant. I HATE the "born this way" philosophy.

This is a philosophy that has become prevalent in the World and glorified in the media. Yes, somethings we are born with and cannot change, like our ethnicity, our gender, and our families. (I know some people think you can change those things, but sorry, buddy, you can't.) Other things, like our interests, the type of people we want to spend time with, and our beliefs are ours. We choose them, even if we do so at a very young age. I am a firm believer in the principle of "moral agency." What that means is that God has given us the ability and the opportunity to make choices about what we do and who we become. (Still, the consequences of our actions are set. We choose the outcome with the first step we take.) The "BTW" philosophy has three major flaws:

1. It insults the intelligence and individuality of people.

2. It denies people that "freedom" that it claims to hold dear.

3. It states that people can never change. Ever.

If people are "born that way," then they don't make choices about who they are. They are born into a category or classification. They are born into a label, such as "hippie", "prep", "gay", "straight", "jock". Can you imagine what this implies? Picture a doctor and a nurse in a newborn nursery. They have a pen and a stack of Post-It notes. They walk up to a baby, look at him, and the doctor says "This one's emo." The nurse then writes "EMO" on a Post-It and sticks it to the child's forehead. That child then grows up hearing "Oh, he's just emo," over and over again. The child has a very small chance of becoming anything but emo. That's just what the BTW philosophy says.

The BTW philosophy claims to embrace freedom to do whatever people feel is best for them, or in other words, determine their own morality. Yet, as expressed above, if people are in fact "born this way," wouldn't that mean that their morality is not determined by themselves? That something bigger than them, whether it be God, or biology, or something else, already hardwired them to be a certain way? If this is the case, then they can kiss their "freedom" goodbye. They are playing into the hands of the (natural) man.

I just finished reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo again. It is SO GOOD. In it, there is a character named Javert. Now, Javert is a policeman who hunts for the protagonist, Jean Valjean, for decades. Jean Valjean repents of his original crime of stealing bread, and his breaking of his parole, but Javert cannot wrap his mind around the fact that people can change. We know people can change, I mean, just look at Lindsey Lohan. She went from adorable child-star to insane, drugged-up shoplifter. (It makes me so sad.) Was she born an insane, drugged-up shoplifter? No, anyone could tell you that. She made some dumb choices. Now, how about the opposite? If you have ever walked into a church, you would see dozens and dozens of people who are trying to change for the better. The BTW philosophy states that people are born a certain way, and neither cannot, nor should not try to change. "If you were born lazy, that's cool. You can never change, so I guess you'll just suck at life. If you were born annoying, no worries, you just won't ever have friends. You were born with sociopathic tendencies? Oh, well then, you should hurt whoever you feel like, because you ARE a sociopath, and that's who you are! It's your identity! If you ever change, then you'll be denying the true YOU! You'll never be happy if you change. Why let society make you feel like you need to change? What you're doing is right for you. Be the victim! Don't worry about how you make others feel - it's all about what makes YOU happy!"

Bleh. It was hard for me to write all that crud. The BTW philosophy is an excuse for selfishness and laziness when it comes to improving one's self. It is so disappointing to me to see how many people have fallen into this trap. Don't ever let yourself think that you were just "born this way". It's a way out of facing decisions. Unfortunately for those people that do fall into it, there will be a day when they have to stand and account for those choices they made. The World has begun to applaud people not as they make their way through the marathon of life, but is now encouraging people to never leave the starting line. We should all be striving  to move forward, and not dwell on the way we began. The song should say something along the lines of, "Look how far I've come, I was born that way."

Think about it.

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