Thursday, October 11, 2007

Religious tolerance

I saw a reference to this bit of religious discussion:

It’s always so frustrating to hear or read about Democrats who have tried or who are trying hard to win over the votes of Christian voters, simply because most of the time, these Democrats don’t have a clue what they’re talking about - because the only time they see fit to talk up the benefits of going to church is when they want your vote. Obama is wading into very unfamiliar territory here, as Christianity by its very nature is not supposed to be a “tolerant” faith. To Christians, you either accept the Lord into your heart as your savior, and ask for forgiveness of your sins, and pledge to live a Christian life, or you don’t.

That's an interesting view of tolerance. Me, when I think of tolerance, I think of "well, you know, we have different beliefs; you think I'm wrong about some stuff, I think you're wrong about some stuff. But we can live with that, right? We don't have to be the same in order to get along in our day to day lives."

Tolerance isn't always comfortable, but up until folks are hurting others, live and let live is a decent motto to have. And I go one step beyond that... if someone is unjustly hurt over a difference, be it a physical assault or a cross-burning or rocks thrown at their windows, a tolerant person will always be able to say "I don't agree with that person, but anyone who knows me knows I didn't want that to happen. I made sure that no one thought I would approve of such a thing."

SisterToldja seems to think "tolerance" means that a church should refuse to have its own beliefs, rather than respecting the belief of other people in other churches. Of course, Paul had words about that. He pointed out that you can't change the world and try to make it less sinful, and he said that you had a right to confront a person you felt was a sinner, and even go so far as to remove that person from your church... but that was the end of it.

Christianity is supposed to be a tolerant religion. It should police its own, and let God worry about those who are not part of their own church. I, for example, am a Wiccan; they have no right, and no call, to tell me if they think my lifestyle is sinful. I'm not in their church; I'm not under their authority, and I am not their responsibility.

And yet I am a citizen of this nation, and deserving of all of the rights and responsibilities a citizen should perform.

A true Christian, who tried to love others as Jesus commanded, would have no problems with that, and certainly have no problems with tolerance.

So, for example, SisterToldja could be tolerant of Obama, accepting that even if he has different political beliefs, he could be a good Christian. Instead, there's just a blanket condemnation; liberals can't possibly be Christians because, well, they can't. Because, you know... liberal. Interested in seeing people feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked and help the sick and imprisoned. And opposed to public displays of piety! Hell, liberals say if you want to pray you should go into your room and lock the door, so your prayers are only between you and God! What kind of a damn fool would go in for any of that claptrap?

Oh, yeah. Heh. Jesus. Well, but besides him? He was a Jew, after all... what kind of Christian would go for that?

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