...you encounter the town's most notorious hamster diddler.
And there's no doubt this person diddles hamsters: Not only have they been convicted of hamster diddling in the first, second, and third degrees but they also have a website where they've uploaded selfies of themselves diddling hamsters.
And as you're entering and the hamster diddler is leaving, they lean over to you and say:
"Don't go in there, the kitchen is on fire!"
Now, do you:
(a) Ignore whatever that damned hamster diddler has to say because =feh!= they're a hamster diddler, f'r cryin' out loud! and proudly march into the restaurant. ..................... ...or... (b) Do you look inside to ascertain if you can see smoke and/or cooks running around screaming with flames billowing off of their chef's hats?
Because if -- if! -- the hamster diddler is telling the truth that's valuable information to know!
Got into an interesting online discussion with someone regarding the previous post.
Essentially the person I was discussing the topic with wanted no part of Bertrand Russell on the grounds he was an atheist who favored big government.
Okay, be that as it may, does any of that negate the validity of what he said?
The truth, as Agent Mulder frequently reminded us, is out there. And it doesn't matter from whose lips or depraved fingers it may fall. It's either true or it's not.
The ancient church had no problem accepting the findings of pagans, polytheists, Mithrans, Muslims, Hindus, diests, Gnostics, and agnostics in matters pertaining to things outside the theological realm.
Their findings in science & math & metallurgy & medicine & engineering either worked...
...or it didn't work.
And if it didn't work it didn't matter how bona fide their bona fides were: It didn't work!
And if it did work -- It worked! -- no matter how how suspect their philosophical and/or theological roots.
You are not betraying your faith -- whatever it may be -- to look at something a person of another faith did and say, "Yeah, in that particular area they're right".
It doesn't touch your theological underpinnings, it doesn't crumple up your church. You just acknowledge it
And move on.
We have far too often allowed ourselves to be divided and have far too often followed blindly when some pundit tells us "We are always right, they are always wrong; ignore everything they have to say and especially don't listen to anything that contradicts what you've been told by us!"
First off, anybody who is confident they speak / write the truth has no bashfulness re confronting contrarian opinions: They will either expose weaknesses in their own thinking, or at the very least give us an opportunity to understand why those with opposing points of view possess those views.
Second, no mortal human being, not even yrs trly is always 100% right all the time, and even a sincere person who is absolutely right re a particular situation today may be wrong on that same situation tomorrow as new evidence comes in or conditions change.
'Twas ever thus...
Bottom line: Don't automatically dismiss something a hamster diddler has to say.
Not unless you want to have your after dinner mints in the burn ward.
art by Drew Friedman
 Or non-faith.
 And, truth be told, too willingly -- nay, eagerly! -- participate in the divisiveness.
 Although some folks have some pretty decent batting averages.