Refusing to Tolerate Intolerance

July 20, 2010
By Greenhorn SILVER, Iowa City, Iowa
Greenhorn SILVER, Iowa City, Iowa
6 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
The opening scene to "Saving Private Ryan" was not based on the war, but on a dodgeball game that Chuck Norris played when he was in 3rd grade.


I believe that the only absolute moral truth is that there is none.


Yes, this is a loaded statement, to say the least. In saying this I’m proclaiming that no religion or creed is the right one and that things like killing and stealing are acceptable in certain circumstances. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, doesn’t it?


And yet I still strongly believe in this statement. In my youth I attended the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City (we’ll shorten it to “the UU”), a church whose focus was accepting others. Members of the UU were a great conglomeration of different people: heterosexuals, homosexuals, Christians, Pagans, Jews and a multitude of other colorful and unique people who may have been uncomfortable or unwelcome in other religious societies. I admired the doctrine of tolerance that the UU espoused, and soon harbored feelings of distaste for the churches that excluded certain people based on trivial or frivolous things.


My conviction that universal tolerance is needed became even stronger when I studied history. Though my AP European History teacher may have made Darth Vader appear comparatively friendly at times, my classmates and I certainly learned a lot in the class. In our detailed study of European history, one thing in particular jumped out at me: the number of wars. These people were fighting constantly! However, what interested me even more were the seemingly endless religious wars that continually tore the continent apart. Here’s why I found them so intriguing:

1.
Both sides of the religious war usually had doctrines that preached love and good will.
2.
Both sides despised each other.

The hypocrisy of it all blew my mind. How could such a paradox exist without people noticing it and pointing it out? After a bit of pondering, the answer came to me. When one group convinces itself that it is the sole possessor of absolute, capital-T Truth, members of the group start to think that they are justified in forcefully converting people to their faith in order to “save” and “enlighten” them so that they may “attain salvation.” If these “heathens” decide to stick true to their “blasphemy,” then they ought to be killed to “cleanse the earth of their evil presence.”

Unfortunately for these groups, developments and discoveries over history have put major dents in their claims of possessing Truth. Revelations like the fact that the sun does NOT revolve around the earth and the emergence of the science-supported theory of evolution have cast an ominous shadow of doubt over the validity of the doctrines of many religions. Additionally, the sheer number of different faiths, each equally convinced that their way is the only way, hints at the possibility that none of these faiths is the “right” one but that each is simply a different way of viewing life.

I should make something clear: this is not an attack on religion; it is an attack on intolerance. I wholeheartedly applaud the moderates who have come to modify their doctrine to make it more reasonable and applicable to the current age, and I recognize that religion can and has united people in love and compelled them to do great things. However, religion has also united people in hatred against another group, and there are still those who insist that certain groups of people are not worthy of rights or salvation due to their personal actions or beliefs, and this is what I desperately hope will someday change.

Reaching absolute Truth is impossible, and false claims that it has been found have caused social rifts and turmoil from ancient history through the present. Only when everybody accepts that there is no Truth can our world begin to become a more inclusive and accepting community. Thus do I fervently pray to no God in particular that someday the quest for Truth will be forgotten and that everybody can love all their neighbors as they love themselves, no matter who their neighbors may be.


The author's comments:
My city is a small bastion of liberalism, and my experiences in there have affected me greatly. After some pondering about morality and the like, this is what I came up with. See for yourself if you agree or not.

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This article has 8 comments.


on Apr. 3 2013 at 1:52 am
LiraDaeris PLATINUM, Tucson, Arizona
22 articles 0 photos 135 comments

Favorite Quote:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Quick question- you say there is no morality, yet you portray tolerance as something we SHOULD do. That in itself is a moral statement. I would likely say that rather than saying that you believe that you are atheistic but rather nihilistic (that morality/universal truth is unattainable; ex- "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.") Tolerance is your idea of goodness. It isn't bad to have an idea of good or bad, even if you see people coming up with different ideas of what good and bad may be. People can be mistaken in a search for truth just as easily as we can be mistaken about whether or not a person is shy or what is at the center of the solar system. I understand what you mean to say, though. And yes, tolerance is a good thing. It opens the door to real discussion on what's really out there. Tolerance, though, does not mean full acceptance/agreement, and neither does a question mark on a statement unclassified as right or wrong automatically make the answer nonexistent or the statement wrong; it just makes it undetermined at the moment. But, when we give up our search for truth, what lies behind all that we see and experience and study?

on Aug. 3 2010 at 9:39 am
Greenhorn SILVER, Iowa City, Iowa
6 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
The opening scene to "Saving Private Ryan" was not based on the war, but on a dodgeball game that Chuck Norris played when he was in 3rd grade.

Saying that science supports creationism is fairly absurd, but we could debate about that all day and not get anywhere, and that isn't the point of my article.

While true Christianity does preach love and forgiveness, so many people have ignored/warped that message that it's still definitely worth promoting tolerance for others. You guys can all be hard-core creationists for all I care; everybody has the right to their own beliefs, but that doesn't give anybody the right to judge or condemn others because their beliefs are different.


on Aug. 2 2010 at 2:17 pm
toxic.monkey SILVER, Tashkent, Other
6 articles 0 photos 210 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Homo homini lupus"

the author is talking about how the church often tried to supress scientific findings like that because at the time they seemed to go against church doctrine, not about creation or evolution or disproving religion.

on Jul. 31 2010 at 4:36 pm
Greenhorn SILVER, Iowa City, Iowa
6 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
The opening scene to "Saving Private Ryan" was not based on the war, but on a dodgeball game that Chuck Norris played when he was in 3rd grade.

Saying that science supports creationism is fairly absurd, but we could debate whether religion is true all day long, and that wasn't the point of the article. While it's true that Christianity supports love and tolerance at its base, so many people have warped or ignored that message that I think that criticizing said people and promoting tolerance for others is a necessary thing to do, and that was the intent of the article. You can be a hard-core creationist; I don't care, but that doesn't give you the right to condemn others because they disagree.

on Jul. 31 2010 at 3:07 pm
Tintinnabulation BRONZE, Glen Arm, Maryland
4 articles 0 photos 46 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Long enough have you dreamed contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life."-Walt Whitman

Exactly how does the sun not revolving around the Earth disprove religion? Besides, there's plenty of creation evidence out there-scientific and doctrinal.

matt7 BRONZE said...
on Jul. 30 2010 at 6:00 pm
matt7 BRONZE, Charleston, Other
2 articles 0 photos 56 comments

Favorite Quote:
"For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel."
-Martin Luther

Being a Christian does not mean you perfect, it means you are forgiven ;)

Practice of true Christianity includes loving your enemies. Those who killled for the sake of religion had a diffrent motive, $


matt7 BRONZE said...
on Jul. 30 2010 at 5:57 pm
matt7 BRONZE, Charleston, Other
2 articles 0 photos 56 comments

Favorite Quote:
"For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel."
-Martin Luther

"I believe that the only absolute moral truth is that there is none" - Irrational, self defeating :/

on Jul. 23 2010 at 10:00 am
fibonaccimathgenius BRONZE, Birmingham, Michigan
4 articles 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I'm going to bed before you two come up with a worse idea to get us killed -- or worse, expelled." -- Hermione Granger, HP #1 <3 :]

absolutely!!!

keep writing; you're amazing!

i'm an atheist and i've always been intrigued by these questions.

Check out my article, Society's Attitude Towards Atheism.





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