Today's society demands that religion be a personal issue. Concepts such as truth, only one correct religion, or one way to reach God, are an affront to another's religious journey. There's a backlash against the historical stance of many religions that tended toward a heavy-handed approach to converting people. The result is that now the majority in society who follow the religion of "believe what you want (and keep it to yourself)" is following in the honored footsteps of older religions: dogmatic that everyone agree with their world view.
Are you following? As humans, it doesn't really matter if we believe that everyone should be a Muslim/Hindu/Whatever, or that everyone should have a choice, we still feel compelled to force those around us to agree with our view. I'm generalizing here, but the fact is that everyone does this; the difference is how militant you are going to be about it.
Are opinions bad? Is our compulsion toward agreement (by changing your opinion, not mine, of course) a fatal flaw? I'd say yes, but it's not a flaw, per se. Fatal in the sense that we're not going to get away from this inborn characteristic (although it is often fatal in the literal sense). I feel the tragedy here is that the ones the most strongly opinionated seem to be the most prone to action as well (resulting in violence?).
So where do we go with this concept in society?
Can we agree that everyone should be allowed a chance to convince us of his or her opinion? Or is that forcing a false unity on us again? See you can't get away from it, no matter how you try!
Free speech must have been conceived with this corundum in mind. People are going to have opinions and should be allowed to argue about it (albeit non-violently).
Tolerance. There's a buzzword. "Tolerate your neighbor's views." But does that statement really mean what it says? Does the person shouting this mantra really want to tolerate YOUR views? If he or she was going to really practice tolerance, then shouldn't he or she listen to what you have to say... your whole argument... without interruption? Would that be real tolerance? Then you could stop and listen to his opinions, and give him or her a fair turn.
But "tolerance," as it is touted today, is merely another opinion forced upon you and me, only in disguise. What society is really saying is that they don't want you to be able to express their opinion, because then they may have to listen and practice true tolerance.
Diversity is bad (or so society believes). Think like the elite want you to. Abandon your own ideas for the prepackaged, low calorie, corporately sponsored ideas and you'll be fine. You'll finally be agreeing with the state-sponsored religion: humanism (or maybe me-ism?).
Jakim Friant - April 23, 2002
Back to the index...