There is a large difference between differences in ideological focus and irreconcilable differences. For me, the differences have not yet reached irreconcilable and I doubt they ever will. The turning point for me would likely be the vatican, pope, or diocese actively promoting violence against any group that has done nothing to us (and before anyone jumps on the crusades/inquisition band wagon Ill point out that no such event has happened in my lifetime).
What constitutes a point of irreconcilability? Is turning a blind eye to the fact that your doctrine fuels things like bullying against gays simply an "ideological focus" (or the lack, thereof), or is it a sign of a troublesome trend that's been ongoing for some time now? How many centuries would you like an anti-gay sentiment to be rooted in the church before it's unsupportable? How long would you like the AIDS epidemic to go on, and how many people would you like to see suffer and die because the Pope is spreading lies about contraception to a group of people who listen to him before it goes from being a point of divergence on focus in ideology and becomes a legitimate problem
? Not all devastation comes out and pops you in the nose, in fact, quite often, it doesn't.
A lot of it is literally centuries
in the making and most have grown too complacent to give enough of a damn to take any kind of substantial stand against it. Slacktivism in the form of "talking about it" and signing online petitions and making cute avatars and other things that make you feel good about it and never going beyond that is as useful as the color pink is for curing breast cancer. That is to say, it's not
-- at least not on its own.
We can't all care about everything at once, there's too much in this world that needs curing or aiding or helping or worrying, but if it were any other movement -- any other movement or philosophy or religion at all
that was only provoking the suffering of millions due to the spread of HIV/AIDS and whose ideas were being used to vindicate bullying and violence against gays (or any group, for that matter), it's pretty difficult to argue that anyone associate with said group would be horrified and would do what they could to distance themselves from any association with that group. And if suffering from a distance doesn't directly provoke you to any actual action
(and let's be honest, it's easy to become only temporarily distracted by suffering that seems so distant from us), then just say so.
If everyone leaves a group everytime an ideaolgical difference comes up there wont be any groups for long. Think about it, should I have just left Elliquiy when I felt that cliques were impeding my ability to socialize with other members or when I felt theocism had gotten so out of control I felt discriminated against? I hope you would agree with me that the answer is no. It doesnt matter if its Elliquiy, my friends, or the Catholic church. The best weapon we have to promote change for the better is words, spoken as a member of the group.
Should you have? That's not really a fair question, is it? If I were in your position and I felt so horribly discriminated against while amongst peers I voluntarily
associate with, of course I would leave, why wouldn't I? My time is better spent elsewhere if it's really so disabling and if I'm feeling that offended and outcast from a group that clearly has a different view. You make the mistake of assuming that leaving one group means that others don't exist. Groups are going to form everywhere, it's even already predicted for you in tribalistic human nature, which means there is a group you could feel better suited to if another one was that horrible to you. But that is, after all, just what I would do, and is the danger of using your own choices as an assumption of what others would choose.
And really, I have to disagree with your last statement; the best weapon you have to promote change is to take initiative and show you're willing to actually do something to provoke change, even if it is difficult (as true, long-lasting, powerful
change often is). Example: Let's say you're standing on a stage facing a group of people who are against people who kick puppies. You're looking out at those people and you're swearing up and down that they don't kick puppies and that things will get better, but what you can't see is that the audience is looking behind where you're standing, to where members of your group are...kicking puppies.
And if you glance over your shoulder and see that and still swear you're not a puppy-kicker, what speaks louder? Your words or what people you freely associate with are doing in spite of those words? What are those words doing to change the minds of the puppy-kickers -- do they even care?
Im about to summarize something Oniya said awhile back. Your view of a group of people is colored by the people you meet. If a persons exposure to christians is only from a family that is the very fire & brimestone kind of belief then that is the stereotype they walk away with and hold for a long time. Its part of human nature, likely going back to our more tribalistic mentality of sorting tribes into easy to understand summaries.
However while I would call it human nature, I can also say that it can be overcome with hard work and consistant exposure to people who dont ring true to the stereotype. It took me years to mentally condition myself to look at each person as an individual rather then a member of a racial, religious, political, or social group and even though I do have the occasional slip I believe it is possible to do away with the mentality altogether
So how many people do I have to meet that aren't the typical
fire-and-brimstone Christian before they become more than just an exception to the rule? It's human nature to categorize because it's easy and helps us not only predict, but appropriately adjust our own behavior in response; it's not just a matter of a caveman-like "THIS PERSON IS CHRISTIAN, CHRISTIAN BAAAAD". If I meet someone new who seems like they're very conservative, I'm probably not going to bring up certain topics I think will upset them or start unnecessary controversy as a matter of courtesy
. Your speech patterns and behavior naturally shift with anyone you meet, whether or not you're consciously thinking DON'T JUDGE THIS PERSON THEY ARE AN INDIVIDUAL and I'm pretty sure that no amount of purposeful conditioning will breed that out of you or any other human being.
Hell, you can even look at it as basic Pavlovian conditioning, if you'd like. If I meet 100 Christians and 98 of them don't believe in contraception, think homosexuality is the equivalent of pedophilia, and that all non-believers are going to suffer unspeakable pain in an eternity of damnation, then there's a pretty good chance I'm going to associate most
Christians with Things I Don't Like. Ring a bell, and the dog salivates as it associates that sound with food -- Ring the Christian bell, and I'm probably going to get a bad taste in my mouth from all the negative experiences I've ever had with them.
As Braioch mentioned, and in an addendum to my aforementioned 'matter of courtesy' piece, that judgment does not necessitate that said judged person is automatically going to be treated like shit, merely with caution in respect to what has happened in past encounters. Sometimes you don't even notice that caution. Maybe it's not fair to that person if they're genuinely not like the others, but that only makes them an exception to the more general rule. Ten dogs bite you and you're going to be cautious about approaching the eleventh.