Particular points of interest he made in the letter include:
It appears this [student] felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.
I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”
If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate [towards people who hold different beliefs/values]; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn…
Something that I realized by reading this article, is that this culture of “self-absorption” and “narcissism” is not exclusive to any one university.
In fact, I’ve seen it in my university firsthand… and thought that it was just part of my university’s culture.
This bothers me because as the situation is unraveled, the student’s (mentioned in the letter) belief that the university is wrong for making him listen to a sermon that made him feel uncomfortable, is just not logical. First of all, it is not the university’s intention to offend. Also, it is ultimately the receiver’s decision to choose whether or not they get offended by what they are told. It is a choice.
Just as an example of what I am trying to get at, I’ll reference an experience of mine in grade 5. I was playing soccer and my team won against the other team. Angry, a girl from the other team decided to call me a “damn chink”. Her intention was to offend/hurt me. However, even after hearing that, I found that I couldn’t care less. I went through the rest of the day unfazed.
However, I am aware that it is impossible to let absolutely nothing bother you. There will be times when someone says something that hurts your feelings or is so offensive that you can’t generate diplomacy. Yes, you will want to react. In fact, let’s say that you do react. Reacting, on it’s own, is not wrong; it’s how you react which affects the resulting dynamic.
It’s a fairly recent trend where people will defend their views by labeling people who disagree as “hater” or “narrow-minded”. But is refusing to understand where another person is coming from, and why they have those views, not an example of said “narrow-mindedness”? Also, by calling another person a “hater”/”ignorant ass” because they won’t see things your way, doesn’t this also make you a “hater”? Even if they didn’t intend to attack you in the first place, you are most definitely attacking them now. In that way, doesn’t saying that you are “victimized” because your “right” views are not supported by others, and then attempting to pressure them into aligning their views with yours, make them a “victim” too?
This reminds me of a recent event on campus when a pro-life group posted papers advertising a learning session. Pro-choice activists decided to tear down these posters because they were potentially “triggering”. It made me wonder, “Why couldn’t they just post their pro-choice posters beside them and let people choose for themselves which one and what parts of each one they want to believe?” By tearing down the pro-life posters, are they not imposing their views on the possible viewers? People are smart and have their own minds. Those people didn’t need to do the thinking for them.
I think that many people are starting to cross a line with regards to this. People have opinions. These opinions may not match. You can try to justify your view, but if they won’t take it, don’t try to force that change. If two people have already stated their points, tried justifying them, but yielded no stance change, here is where the adage “agreeing to disagree” would be best for both parties.
I guess a good general rule would be: Don’t look for things to be offended at but in the chance that you do, don’t fight fire with fire.