Tolerance is understanding. It is open to new light.
Those who are tolerant are always eager to explore viewpoints other than their own.--Wilferd A. Peterson
The other day I posted a harmless little piece about how Easter was for me when I was a little girl; it wasn't meant to materialistic in any way. In essence, it was about the long-time tradition of Easter outfits and had nothing at all to do with religion. It was about a time, long, long ago, an innocent little memory that I chose to share, a simple remembrance of my childhood. Yet, someone chose to twist what I had written and decided that they should pray for me because my priorities aren't straight. In other words, he/she was instructing me that church is not for socialization and looking at others pretty clothes, and basically, I should be ashamed. This post had nothing to do with church and religion; indeed, it was more about the changes that occur over time....
...but this just goes to show you how far intolerance will go. Before I begin, I'd like to clarify something. I do not talk religion on my blog or elsewhere. I have no need to because I respect everyone else's viewpoints. Several years ago, when I chose to become an ordained minister, my choice was Interfaith because I believe that there is good in all. I believe in tolerance. And, during my studies of other religions, as well as Paganism, I found that the core values or the essential teachings of all these religions are remarkably similar. The single most common theme amongst all the great religions of the world is tolerance and love for others.
We live in an age where we are supposed to be tolerant, not only of other faiths, but of others in general; yet, when you look around all you see is a lot of fighting and protesting. Where is the tolerance? Sadly, more often than not, others feel it necessary to impose their faith onto others by trying to make others that do not share their views feel less worthy just that person tried to do to me. They tell others that they have to conform to their beliefs, principles and ideas...to accept that you are a sinner and need to ask forgiveness.
As I see it, the problem is that everyone seems to expect everyone else to be tolerant of their values and beliefs, yet they don't think they have to be tolerant back. Maybe this is because they truly believe they are right, and it's a hard for them to accept anything that goes against their belief. But just imagine how beautiful religion could be if Christians, Pagans, Muslims, Jews, or any one of a plethora of religious groups can join together to take care of families in need, to organize food drives.
In my opinion, respect means allowing another person the right to be who they are and believe what they want to believe without interfering or condemning. And that goes for blogging as well. These are our little havens, our space where we feel safe to post about whatever we may. We welcome comments, but we don't welcome someone who is overly critical and mean. I follow many blogs and love to comment, but sometimes it happens that I disagree in some way with what they said on their blog; in this case, I will pass on commenting rather than say something disagreeable on their blog. And furthermore, if I happen upon a total strangers' blog and find that there are differences in their beliefs and mine, I'll just move on rather than taking the time to render a nasty comment. I don't even know the person, so who am I to criticize.
So, hon, please don't waste your time praying for me. I'm already further along spiritually than you are. I am at peace with myself for I know and practice tolerance for all...and that, my friend, is what spirituality and religion is all about. If anything, I should be praying for you, that one day you will find the same peace that I have and not be so closed-minded that you have to come to someone else's blog and try to dictate how they should live. Remember....
A closed mind is a dying mind.
(Forgive the rant, please. Intolerance is something that really gets under my skin. And it especially irritates me when someone feels they have the right to come into my space with their catty remarks. I respect others and I expect the same in return.)