Occasionally I rant about intolerance. Which often leads into a rant about religious intolerance. (Because I’m sorry to say that a lot of the most vocal intolerance I see is religiously motivated). Which often leads to some friends of mine being hurt because ‘I hate their beliefs’. Which I don’t. It isn’t religion I dislike, its fanaticism; it’s the uncontrollable desire to force other people to think the same way you do. Only one of my Christian friends even comes close to falling into that category, and she doesn’t quite manage it since she knows when to shut up.
There’s nothing wrong with faith. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to follow the moral code you believe your deity has laid before you. Or the moral code that you have settled upon by any other method. The point at which I start getting upset is when you take your moral set and try to impose it upon others with no consideration for their own moral set. Believing that someone is wrong and knowing they are wrong are two very different kettles of fish. I understand that some of the things I believe go utterly against some of the things other people believe. I believe that I am right. I do not object in the slightest to an intellectual debate of the differences in our beliefs. If your argument is valid you have a chance of swaying me. Please do not be offended if my opinion does not change. I will not be offended if I fail to sway you.
My Christian friends occasionally think that I hate their religion. Because occasionally someone calling themselves a good Christian stands up and says something that I find morally abhorrent, and I feel the need to respond. Because when I see someone hating in the name of their religion it makes me cross. Because the only kind of God I am capable of believing in wouldn’t expect that kind of nastiness from their brethren. So I can only assume that the decision to spout hate about the lifestyles of their fellow man has very little to do with their belief in God.
Whatever happened to the Golden Rule? I’m pretty sure these same people trying to make me conform to their beliefs would be very opposed to me trying to make them conform to mine; would be the first to scream ‘foul’ if I tried to get my government to make laws excluding them or forcing them to do things my way.
Your government is supposed to make its decisions without bias. To show no favouritism to any group. Of course it seldom works this way. Because people are greedy, self absorbed and insensitive. We all want it our way. But we cannot all have it our way. So wherever possible we should be aiming to make laws that include everyone; that allow everyone to have their own beliefs. Beliefs should only be a legal issue when they impose themselves on people’s wellbeing. If you believe that God wants you to run around shooting people, it’s definitely time for the law to tell you that’s not ok. Anything that isn’t hurting anyone is no one’s business but yours. Before you say something stupid let me point out that removing someone’s rights counts as hurting them. If in doubt; DON’T BE A DICK.
It’s time, and long past, for people to put aside their malice. To accept that others have the same right to their beliefs as you do. Time to understand that to make others live by your beliefs is to strip them of their free will.