We can’t presume to teach someone manners.”-Alice Evans, 3:10 to Yuma.

This little bit of sanity is uttered during a scene in the movie where the family is sitting down to dinner with a contingent of law men, bounty hunters, railroad enforcers and one very bad man that is being taken to Yuma where he will ultimately be sentenced to death for leading a gang of bandits that have murdered more than their share of railroad agents.

Alice says these words to her son who is trying to get the bad guy to pray over the evening meal with the rest of the family.

She’s right.

Recently there has been a lot of interesting conversation between atheists and theists on a few of my favorite blogs. Good open conversation with very little input from the lurker crowd.

Let there be no mistake both groups must take ownership of a few lurkers. These are people who just can’t help but inject venom into any conversation about God. We get to hear from one set about how people are going to go to hell and we get to hear from another about how irrational, uninformed, and uneducated some people are.

I just read how one commentor just wanted to make people aware of the craziness.

I am aware. I think most of us are aware.

And in the blogosphere as in day to day life I agree with Alice…we can’t presume to teach people manners.

We also can’t presume to make people believe what we believe. When people look at me I want them to see that first and foremost I am a kind and loving person. The rest will follow as it always does.

I don’t need to proclaim my beliefs in a loud shout. I need to live a life of loving kindness and service to my fellow man. When I choose to pray, I don’t need to do it with the showmanship of a televangelist. I do it quietly and from the heart. Do I need to announce to you what I am praying about? No. Does it make me any less strong in my belief than the person who screams and shouts? I don’t believe that it does. Am I willing to share what I believe with anyone who asks? You bet. Do I feel the need to push my beliefs on anyone else? Absolutely not.

I think Alice had it right. Let’s not be presumptuous about anyone else’s manners until we take a look at our own.


Update: I just read another comment on one of my favorites about how googoo eyed and dumb one group is.  C’MON PEOPLE!!!  Where’s the love?

Can’t we agree to disagree without being ugly to one another?

Read all about it on John Shore’s blog and on Sean’s.