"Paint me, warts and all."--Oliver Cromwell, to his official portrait painter as Lord Protector (and Chief Theocrat) of the English Republic, on being asked how he wished to be portrayed in the painting, ca. 1654.
"Let us treat the men and women well: treat them as if they were real: perhaps they are."--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803--82), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Essays, "Experience" (Second Series, 1844).
Friedrich Nietzsche wrote in The Use and Abuse of History, "Man cannot learn to forget, but hangs on the past: however far or fast he runs, that chain runs with him."
Judgment and stereotyping of individuals is a terrible habit, which all of us have been guilty of at least once in our lives. It is lazy, both intellectually and morally, and makes us apply false attributes to individuals and groups who we don't even know. It blinds us to the truth, and limits our ability to love.
I recently saw a poster/picture on Facebook showing Jesus of Nazareth, surrounded by children and disciples, and saying to them (in large, bold letters at the top of the poster):
"Okay. So here is what I want you to do. Love others as I have loved you. Take care of them and don't judge them."
The disciples ask him (in smaller letters):
"What if they are gay, or worship other gods?"
"Or don't worship any god?"
Jesus replies (in large bold letters at the bottom of the poster):
"Did I stutter?"
There are certain things that, in their understated simplicity, speak volumes on humanity, while discerning our own limitations and prejudices. In a Yeshua ben Miriam presented in that poster, who would speak like that to his disciples, his closest friends who--I assume--loved him best, because they could not get past their own little prejudices, I discern ia man one who is worthy of not only my love and respect, but of my fullest attention, begotten Son of God or not. And if this is not an exact quote of Jesus of Nazareth, it is for me the very essence of the Son of Man, and what he stood for before Paul of Tarsus and Constantine the Great limited his vision to their own.
With regard to my fellow human beings, one of our greatest failings as a species is the inability to imagine a Deity who is greater than ourselves. Theist, deist, polytheist, pantheist, agnostic, or atheist; all of us a imagine a Deity who in one way or another is like ourselves, and expect this Deity to hold the same opinions and prejudices that we do. This perception of Deity effects whether we believe in a Deity,
When I re-posted (shared) the poster on Facebook, someone commented, "I'm not a Christian, I don't have to love anyone."