Is a Christian intolerant because he or she disapproves of same-sex marriage?
Answer: No, in my opinion.
Christians are entitled to their moral beliefs, opinions and world views. And they have a right to express those opinions — at least, they should have the right without being ridiculed and “shouted down.”
But they cross the line when they actually do something to oppress people in the name of a religion and god that many do not believe in. We see it happening in countries like Cameroon, Uganda, Russia: LGBT people are being persecuted by Christians. Does anyone honestly think that the founder of Christianity would have condoned that sort of persecution?
There is a fine line between tolerance and intolerance. LGBT people can be guilty of intolerance, too, if they try to suppress the voices of Christians. Still, I have yet to hear of LGBT people actually persecuting Christians . . . like they have persecuted us.
We should all be able to have a healthy discussion without hurting each other, and without infringing on each other’s universal rights as citizens of Planet Earth. (See President’s Obama’s comments in preceding post.)
I think many Christians today are having a difficult time accepting that their world view is not the foundation of Western society any longer. Not so much in Canada, perhaps, where Christian authority has all but faded into obscurity, but certainly in some American states where there is still resistance to the movement to legalize same-sex marriage. And we do hear of Canadian and American religious and family type organizations pouring money and resources into nations in Africa, where the old Christian world view still has a lot of power and where persecution of LGBT people is commonplace.
Yet, one would have to think that Christianity will fade there, too, in time. Perhaps it has almost run its course, served its purpose, to be replaced by philosophies more in tune with modern times.
I wonder sometimes if humans even need spirituality any more. It seems that some people don’t, that they live “the golden rule” – do unto others as you would have them do unto you — without any hope of a reward in the hereafter, without any hope of transcending their mortal coils. They’re good for the sake of being good. In a way, I think they are the most spiritually evolved of all humans.
I know that I need spirituality, and that it has been important to me since grade school, when I walked to school pondering the nature of our existence. A miracle, yes? I still hold some beliefs that have ancient roots. Such as reincarnation. And karma. I don’t believe in the god of the Christians; in fact, I know in my heart that this vengeful, intolerant puppeteer god they preach about is complete fabrication. It is a man-made god. But I do believe in a Universal Energy, and that if we open our hearts to noble purpose, that energy will use us as conduits. And the heart may very well be the seat of the spirit, or immortal spark, if you will, of the Great Energy that fills the heavens and the Earth. Hence the saying, “thou art God.” I don’t believe in heaven or hell or judgment by a divine entity — but I do believe we reap what we sow, which is, in fact, karma. But that’s just me. My late partner didn’t hold any spiritual beliefs, but he was one of the kindest, and most tolerant, people I ever knew.
So, what inspired these musings today? A July 10 article by a Christian, Michael Wagner, called Yes, I am intolerant. And so are you. He makes some interesting points about different world views embracing different concepts of morality, and about Christianity losing its hold as the foundation of our society.
I hope he is wrong, though, about the intolerance of people who disagree with Christians on LGBT issues. I hope LGBT people will let Christians express their views, and will never persecute them . . . as they have persecuted us.
P.S. I am a Theosophist. If you are at all interested in Theosophy, check out the Theosophical Society website.
THEOSOPHY: The word is derived from the Greek theos (god, divinity) and sophia (wisdom). Its philosophy is a contemporary presentation of the perennial wisdom underlying the world’s religions, sciences, and philosophies.
We are not brought into existence by chance nor thrown up into earth-life like wreckage cast along the shore, but are here for infinitely noble purposes.– Katherine Tingley
As you know, I’m not Christian, or any mainstream religion. Yet have often found myself making a similar point as Michael Wagner – that many people who claim to be “tolerant” are just as intolerant, just from a different side. Atheists are frequently intolerant of religious people, people with a different sexual from mainstream look down on mainstream relationships, people who most vociferously stick up for cultural relativity sneer at middle America/Canada (as if that weren’t also a culture). Overall, I find universities to be hotbeds of intolerance.
Very interesting article.
I am not religious but I live by the ”Golden Rule” stated in your article.
At times I find myself very intolerant toward those who try to IMPOSE their religious beliefs on me.
I came across a quote that really (in my opinion) says it all when it comes to religion.
With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things.
But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
Food for thought!!