Why Tolerance is Intolerable (A comment on a message of tolerance to LGBT)
24 June 2015
When one's position is informed by values, tolerance of other positions informed by other values, is intolerable.
Why? Because if you believe in the One True God, then what of other believers of other faiths? Obviously their gods are false. Then how can one tolerate those of other faiths?
Obviously only in a patronising way. Not necessarily overtly patronising. But in your heart of hearts, you KNOW you are the follower of the One True God (OTG, reg'd trademark), and those of other faiths are obviously wrong, deluded, and hell-bound.
How else can you tolerate them except with the Knowledge that they are wrong, but you have to keep your mouth shut because, hey - multi-culti, diverse and fruity, let's all just get along or the ISD will get you for sedition?
It is probably the wrong kind of tolerance. The kind that never goes anywhere. The kind that doesn't grow into anything positive or productive. The kind that keeps everything seething under the surface. The kind that says, "you stay on your side and I'll stay on my side. Good fence makes good neighbours."
Religion calls us to be humble. (Those that I know of) But the faithful take pride in their Faith, in their Faithfulness, in their understanding of the minutiae of their Faith.
It is this "understanding" of their faith that overwrought Malaysians raised a hoohah over Farah Ann's hoohoo.
But true Muslims are humble. If I am not wrong, "Muslim" is derived from the word meaning "submission"...
Similarly, in the eyes of the OTG, we are all sinners, and we should have the humility of sinners, and we should all heed the words, "let he who is without sin, cast the first stone."
A lapsed Catholic met a Priest who knew he had stopped going to Church and the Priest asked him why he stopped. "I can't stand it. It's full of hypocrites!". "It's okay," says the Priest. "We have room for one more."
We are all sinners (and possibly hypocrites). So let the one among us who is without sin, cast the first stone.
"Judge not, that you be not judged."
God does not presume to judge a man before his time. Neither should we.
"Oh so we should let murderers, and thieves, and rapists go free?"
Of course not.
The distinction is between Sin and Crime. Whether a man is sinful or not, is not for us to judge.
Whether a man has committed a crime or not, that is part of the social compact of living in a society, and society has the right to judge and decide on the punishment for the crime.
The danger is when we conflate sin with crime.
Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.
Ah! but Section 377A makes homosexual acts a crime.
Yes it does. And if some guy "377A" you, you can report to the police and he will get arrested and charged according to the law.
Tolerance is not enough. Or Tolerance without the humility to entertain the niggling possibility that you might be wrong is merely patronising forbearance.
It takes a certain arrogance to believe that we have the right to tell people what is right and what is wrong. Fortunately, we have Religion to give you that arrogance, that sense of righteous indignation to fuel your intolerance, or at least to excuse it.
When I was a practising believer in the "One True God" (or OTG as in the quoted text above), the question one invariably asks is "so what happens to believers of other gods?"
If you are Christian and perhaps Muslim (I'm guessing here), you might have been told, the unfaithful (infidels) go to hell.
"But, some of them are my friends," you protest.
"Well, you should probably stop being friends with them."
"But some of them are really good people!"
"If they are really good people, they would believe in the OTG. If they don't, no matter how good they appear to be, they are not. They are going to hell."
If you are lucky enough, you may actually find wise religious teacher (or pastor, or priest, or imam, or asatizah, or mentor), who will actually give a good answer: "The OTG is wise beyond our understanding. He will show mercy if mercy (in His Infinite Wisdom) is called for. He will judge with compassion. It is not for us to judge people. Only the OTG has that right. Your duty as a follower of the OTG is to reflect his love, his wisdom, his compassion. Your duty is to love, not decide who deserves to be love and who does not."
"Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone"
(In case this Biblical reference eludes you, a brief explanation.)
When the Jewish religious leaders (Pharisees? Sadducees?) bought a woman who had been caught committing adultery (IIRC) to Jesus, they tested Jesus. "This woman was caught committing adultery. Scripture says the punishment for such is stoning. What say you?"
They were testing Jesus, trying to break his influence over the people.
And after trying to ignore them (or thinking furiously for an answer, for an escape from this "trap"), Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone."
And the religious leaders quietly left. Leaving the adulteress unstoned (in a good way).
The point and the lesson was that we will one day be called to judgement, but we are not called to judge others.
That is a privilege some have taken upon themselves with great hubris.
Religion tends to attract those who seek rationalisation for their bigotry. It is ironic but it seems to be true.
If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, religion often is the first.
[Which makes the Religious Patriot a bookended scoundrel?]