Friday, April 30, 2010

Concerning Religious Tolerance

A statement I made on about Jews converting to Christianity made quite a few people angry. There had been a number of articles that specifically targeted Jews for conversion to Christianity. I held my tongue over the months, as long as I was not asked my opinion. There is such a thing as free speech that applies to all. When asked my opinion, I stated as follows.

"I must be frank. The thought of Jews converting to Christianity is as repugnant to me as suicide bombers in Israel targeting Jews. One attacks the body. The other targets the soul'.

The comments were swift in coming. Huey Newton said ""Your religious tolerance is limited."That is a gross understatement. He sure fooled me."

I was not surprised that Huey and others were critical of my statement. For a believer, Christian, Jewish or Muslim, the soul and the next world are real Despite my heated differences with them, I at least share that with them.

My main interest with those who are not Jewish is to collaborate in creating a better world. When two armies combine forces, they agree to fight for a common cause. In practical terms, this means not attempting to undermine authority within the camp of one's ally. In practical terms this means that I focus on common interests with Christians and do not engage them in theological debate.

I have defended the rights of religious minorities through writing and the occasional donation. As a blogger I have a little bigger a voice than average. Whether it is Hindus in Pakistan, Christians in India or North Korea, I defend those who are persecuted for their religious beliefs.

It frustrates and saddens me that in the little over a year that I posted on, I wrote several articles on persecuted Christians, Mandaeans and even Muslims who suffered from discrimination without a single Christian writer joining the cause. Why is it that the subject of getting Jews to accept Jesus came up repeatedly, yet the kidnapping, rape and forced conversion to Islam of Coptic girls did not move my born again Christian fellow rantravers to raise their voices?

I hope this situation changes. I am very practically minded. Religious belief is best discussed in a house of worship. Practical work to make the world a better place is what rocks my world. You do a good deed and it lights up your score board. I do a good deed and it lights up my team's score board. Good natured competition and the world is improved. What's wrong with that?

I am regarded as intolerant for saying that it is a tragedy for Jews to leave their faith. To me, tolerance means being civil to those whose beliefs you may even find repulsive. It does not mean loving everyone. It does not mean accepting all faiths as equally valid. Everyone believes that their faith is the most complete and true. You need tolerance as a purely practical necessity so people won't slaughter each other to save each other's souls.

I hope that the born again Christians on will start caring more about their fellow Christians who suffer persecution. But I'm not holding my breath,

No comments: