Tuesday, October 5, 2010

On Tolerance

To all the new faces around here, welcome.

I just wanted to let you know how we roll here.
Monday- Monday on My Mind (what I'm thinking)
Tuesday- Time Travel Tuesday (usually media)
Wednesday- Write Away Wednesday (writing stuff)
Thursday- Talk Back Thursday (interviews)
Friday- Far Out Friday (Japan and travels)

That's not set in stone. Interviews, for example, don't happen very often. And while Wednesday is writing topics, the other days tie in with writing more often than not.

So, tolerance.

I'm starting with this, because more and more, objectors are coming from this camp.

First off, let me say I'm a Christian. Obviously that colours my perception of right and wrong. But I don't get Christians who are up in arms, protesting things and banning things and burning stuff and persecuting people.

That does not add up in my mind. Some extremist religions make sense. I know that sounds crazy, but stay with me for a second. Of course, I disagree with the extremist actions of suicide bombers and the like. But if your religion and your holy materials say that other people should be blown up, and you blow those people up, there is logic there. The underlying premise may be totally wrong, but still this person has reached a logical conclusion given the information they started with.

Not so with Christianity. Christianity and Judaism have the same roots. And the differences between the two (other than the main- JC or not JC) are things like being chosen versus choosing, being forgiven because you asked vs being forgiven because you offered something, etc. So I don't see how you can declare that you follow a God that forgives and asks that you forgive, a God that offers you free choice, and still want to impose your will and your punishments on others. To my mind, THAT is not logical.

One root of prejudice and intolerance is stereotyping. For example, not all gay people are "flagrant." Not all gay men wear pink eye shadow and try to jump everything with an Adam's apple.

Also, we (the levelminded) also have to remember not to stereotype the intolerant.

My neighbour, P, always says, "I hate being on the same side as an idiot." Everyone will think you're an idiot too.

So please remember if you happen to know an idiot who's a Christian, a New Zealander, a tennis player. That not all Christians, New Zealanders or tennis players are idiots.

If you doubt this, think of all the people you've considered idiots over the years. You went to school with some of them, lived in the same country as some of them, were in clubs with them, etc. If all members of all their groups were idiots, then you'd be an idiot too.

THE MORAL: Don't judge a person by an idiot he or she happens to have something in common with.


Like I said, people from extremist religions doing extremist things is perfectly logical. Not right, but logical. But I don't see why people think extremism would fly in Western society.

I don't get why people think that if you don't restrict something, people will do it so much it will kill them. A greater percentage of drinkers died from alcohol during prohibition than now that it's legal. And it's practically a scientific law that if you tell a teen NOT to do something, they'll find a way to do it. Probably every day.

I come from a monotheistic (one religion) country, which causes my neighbour no end of amusement. But most of our laws are pretty open. Abortion is legal, but that doesn't mean that girls just get pregnant willy nilly and abort every other month.

On the other hand, illegality doesn't seem to do anything to affect people getting their hands on things. Marijuana is illegal in Barbados. I've never smoked, but I know lots of people who do, and illegality is not a kink in the supply chain.

So in the end all extremism does is make people dislike you.


I don't get why people can't just avoid the things that bug them. Think certain books destroy the minds of young readers, don't let your kids read them. If they're just being available in your district might result in your kid reading them, then that's really a problem for you and your kid. Let me quote some Jay-z for ya.

"If you having [kid] problems, I feel bad for ya, son,
I got 99 problems and [my kid] ain't one."

That thing that you're so hellbent on taking away from someone, it just might be their lifeline. And maybe, you think they'd be better off dead. But it's not my decision whether you live or die. And it's not your decision whether they do, either.

And that's what's on my mind this Monday (except that it's ticked over to Tuesday most places in the world.)


NiaRaie said...

"So please remember if you happen to know an idiot who's a Christian, a New Zealander, a tennis player. That not all Christians, New Zealanders or tennis players are idiots."
"THE MORAL: Don't judge a person by an idiot he or she happens to have something in common with"

Well said. VERY well said.

Glam,Glitz&Gut said...

If only everyone was so eloquent and lovely minded as you :o)

Marsha Sigman said...

I LOVE this. I personally do not want to be judged by my relatives.lol

And I am all about live and let live. Great Post!

Alleged Author said...

What a wonderful post! Tolerance is something people preach but do not often practice. :(

Jon Paul said...

I'm right with you: restrictions rarely work.

I think that many folks think that you can, in a host of different areas, legislate morality, but it never works. Ethics is something internal. If you're only toeing the line because of some external rule, I'd argue that you aren't in fact being ethical; rather you're play CYA.

Great post, and great food for thought.