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I think this is an important issue:|
In a recent debate, coolmax told me that "acting as a judge is absolutely unacceptable" in regards to discussion of culture.
In many ways, I agree with this; we are here to discuss cultural differences, and to focus on greater understanding of those differences. Not to force one side to believe what the other side says.
In that light, I would like to examine coolmax's own comments regarding culture. One of my favorite gems, from a discussion he started about why he thinks western women cannot remain faithful to their husbands, is this:
"95% of you claim yourselves as "devout Christian". what God told you to do? what are you doing now?
Does God ever tell you to exchange sex partners? Does God allow you to abuse your freedom in sex? Does God ever tell you to enjoy promiscuity? Does God ever tell you to swap your wives or husbands? Does god ever tell you to enjoy sex with animals (some of you claim its their freedom if they like it)?
You're virtually come-outers.
Stop your pray for good if you're not sincere.
You have utterly discarded your christian tenet. you're traitors of your own belief."
Now please note several items from the above post:
1) He doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. He makes up a completely imaginary figure that 95% of westerners claim to be devout Christians (a figure that I demonstrated is completely wrong, and a figure for which he can provide no support or proof whatsoever).
In other words, he is determined to make westerners look bad, and will make up information or lie in order to support such arguments
2) He COMPLETELY judges and condemns all westerners. He calls them traitors and accuses them of being insincere. And this is far from being the only example of such behavior.
I think that this IS an important issue, particularly in a forum like this where people from very different cultural backgrounds are trying to communicate with each other, and understand each other.
Putting coolmax to the side for the moment -- as everyone can plainly see the hypocrisy of his complaints -- how can we discuss cultural differences without appearing to condemn other cultures?
Is the purpose of this forum to prove that one culture is better than another? Or is the purpose to simply understand each other better, without condemnation?
If a culture does something that we consider is REALLY wrong, such as sacrificing babies to their gods, should we condemn that? Or just accept it?
When is it proper to CONDEMN something in another culture, and when is it proper to simply say, "it is different from what I believe, but it is their right to believe it"?
I am interested to hear people's comments and ideas on this.