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The everyday life of a psychiatry resident (who was born on a Thursday).

Archive for December 16th, 2010

Friendship – Reverb 10, Day 16

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What is Reverb10?

December 16 – Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)

I’m a bit late in completing today’s reverb 10, but there are several reasons why you will forgive me. One reason is that it is still today in my time zone, but the most important is that I am now 3/8 of the way through my medical education! Just 2.5 more years to go!

This was another prompt that I’m not sure I can interpret faithfully, and that doesn’t matter because I have decided that I’m simply not going to even try. I love my current friends, but I can’t say that they have been perspective changing. Maybe they were last year, when I first met them, but not this year. We agree on too much. We have reinforced each other’s perspectives but we have not done much, if any, changing of each other.

No, the people who have changed my perspective on the world the most this year have been people I don’t agree with, and this is something that I’ve done a lot of thinking about. And for good reason. This has been the year of the Tea Party. The year of realizing that there are medical students and doctors who have moral objections to abortion (I guess I just never thought about their possible existence). The year of actively trying to understand those I want to avoid because of our differences in beliefs.

I admit I’ve blogged about this already, right around when I first started thinking about it. But I’ve had so many more thoughts since. I’ve kept up with that woman’s blog. I’ve read some Mormon blogs. I’ve occasionally read up on the Tea Party movement. I watched Religiulus and found it, well, ridiculous and quite biased, but an interesting look at the far end of all of this. I was raised Roman Catholic so religion is not a foreign thing to me by any means, but the way it manifests in people’s lives is interesting. It can be so beautiful in some people, and so downright upsetting and tragic in others.

And through it all I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that people with a strong faith in religion are not necessarily people I cannot be friends with. That just because people may not have my same views on abortion, or gay marriage (or gay people in general), that it doesn’t automatically make them someone not worth knowing, or at least, not worth knowing about. I’m not about to become best buds with a lot of these people, but I’m not about to completely discount them either.

If I really believe that I am right, the best way to spread my views is not to completely alienate those I disagree with. I need to understand them first, and then maybe someday, I need to engage with them. My family is religious, and I come from a religious country, but it’s very different in Ghana. Yes there are people blindly following poorly credentialed religious leaders and being misguided, but there isn’t as much… hate. There isn’t quite as much pride or aggression. Religion was everywhere in Ghana and yet even though the US is apparently more secular, religion somehow feels more oppressive here and I’ve learned to try to avoid it. Don’t get me wrong. I have been and will again be very frustrated with how religion has influenced people in Ghana (we’re starting to get our own mega-churches), but I have never been scared by it. I have never felt threatened by it there.

In a way, I think religion is a red herring in all this. It was easy to think, well, it’s the deeply religious people in the US that I disagree with. But no. That’s not quite it. It’s much deeper than that, and I’m still working on untangling it all.

Written by Aba

December 16, 2010 at 11:38 pm

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