Our thinking is influenced by many factors. What we are exposed to, what interests us, and what values are of most importance influence how we understand and 'put together' our realities. These underlying issues also affect and influence what we choose to read, and educate ourselves and how we understand this information within the context of other understandings in our "world" (reality). So, thinking and one's understanding and commitment to one's values, is a life-long process. One should remain open to new information, as long as one lives.
I have many times underlined our "equal before law" value, here in America. But, the value of "equal", must also understand complementary. We do complement one another when we are open to discussion, dialogue, and defense of our opinions, commitments and values. All of us have something to bring to the 'table" for the whole of society and its betterment.
This got me thinking about marriage. Marriage is a social contract between two people, who decide to commit to one another and share their lives. The religious like to term the agreement as "covenant", as they view the commitment as "an agreement before God", while secularists like to affirm the voluntary nature of the "contract" and its dissolvability. We can agree to disagree about the definitions and understanding of what marriage is about.
But, what should be of value and importance is what constitutes the "best" for society? This is where the social sciences, not just religious convictions, help us to form a better "world". We should listen to what social science has to say, so that we will not be boondoggling our future as a society. Religion can have a voice, if they remain open, otherwise, they will be regulated to the "corner" where they wear a "dunce hat" and the "secularists" will dismiss them as irrelavant.
Religion is equal in the sense of "having a voice". But, it should not remain shrill, angry, prejuidiced, dismissive, condescending, certain, or arrogant. All of us have an opportunity to bring an enlargment of understanding if we agree to agree where we can, change what we see needs changing, and agreeing to disagree where we can't come to resolutions. This way our society, and culture at large can be what the Founders framed for us, "a unified diversity".
Arvo Pärt at St. Vladimir’s Seminary
3 hours ago