Intolerance by degree

Religions of the World (Image courtesy of http://projects.usao.edu

Religions of the World (Image courtesy of http://projects.usao.edu

Who's intolerant? (Image courtesy of popreflection.wordpres...

Who’s intolerant?
(Image courtesy of popreflection.wordpres…

Religious Intolerance in Myanmar Image courtesy: nytimes.com

Religious Intolerance in Myanmar
Image courtesy:
nytimes.com

(N.B:  I know how many people could take offense from this post.  Please write your comments, agreement or disagreement.  I welcome them all.)

(N.B.2:  Is anyone else having trouble adding media to a post?  Mine won’t go anywhere down the page, no matter where I put the cursor.)

I spent a part of my time in the Behavioral Unit, not working, but thinking with intention about topics of the day.  One which came often to mind was the different levels of intolerance among human beings, and the forms that intolerance takes.

In the last several months, we citizens of earth have rained upon each other all kinds of intolerance.  I am not singling out followers of Islam — in fact, I believe this is true of members of many faiths, including Christians, Jews, followers of Islam, Hindus, mystics of every shape and belief, Pagans, atheists, agnostics.  Intolerance seems to me an inherent human trait.  How terribly sad.

The ugliest form of intolerance arises among religious groups, many of which believe that their group knows the one right way of doing things, and that followers of  all other faiths are false, infidels, and apostate, developed in direct disharmony with the intolerant group’s supreme being.  I wager most people in the U.S. who read this immediately assume I am talking about Muslims.  In fact, I see many similarities between some Muslim radicals and, (I am going to say it,) some Christians who live in a state of anger and hatred towards anyone not like them.   Let’s look at ourselves — Americans don’t do that anywhere near often enough.

Those Christians among you reading this, if you are still reading this, read on a regular basis not  “God’s Word,” but rather to the writings of men raised in the culture of man as superior to women, and as the masters of the earth.  This is true, no matter how inspired the writers imagined themselves to be.  (Among these groups are those who insist on forcing their wishes and their way of living upon others.)

History certainly bears this out:  we could take as an example the terrorists who bomb innocents, or the Roman Catholic church during their hateful, anti-accepting practices during the Inquisition.  Another examples comes from armies and nations that believe in their right to interfere with other nations and the disagreements that trouble those other countries.  During the Cold War, Americans and other citizens of the West were frightened by the sight of the U.S.S.R. rolling in to force small nations to end up on the Communist side of the argument.  Was that so different from what we are now doing in the Middle East?  Those who served in the U.S. military during those frightening years may still be imbued with the patriotic ideal — but patriotism is often another root of intolerance.  In fact, our country is neither inferior nor superior to any other country.  And just because a person’s faith is strong and unbreakable doesn’t make it right.

I believe that each human should treat the beliefs of others with a different approach:  maybe we should mind our own spiritual lives and keep our noses out of others’.  No matter how superior we believe ourselves or our faiths to be, human is human, and we all will have to learn to accept each other, before we destroy the beautiful, precious and rare planet on which we live.

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4 responses to “Intolerance by degree

  1. Well said Judith, too many people have little tolerance for things they don’t agree with. Instead of moving on and not sweating the small stuff, there comes huge problems. As a non religious person I know those empire me are as intolerant as anyone else, but many religious, heavily religious people, are the most bigoted, racist and intolerant people I know.

  2. This is a good one and an eye opener, if not eye popper, for some. I have never ascribed to any defined religious belief personally. I do, however, truly accept the Dalai Lama’s concept of secular ethics which embraces the acceptance of all mankind as interconnected and the same regardless of religious belief. That is what I see you getting at…kudos my friend!

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