Spirituality and religion have been on my mind a lot lately. So has Zevia soda, but that won’t make a riveting blog, so today’s missive is about tolerance. Particularly, tolerance of different religions and/or spiritual paths other than our own.
Just some background, my spiritual path included some wandering about hither and yon, studying this and that, then finally finding the right “flavor” of Buddhism for me. I was raised Christian and really dug it until I began thinking about it. Questions about what would happen to the souls of cognitively impaired folks who couldn’t understand that Jesus was supposed to be their savior–I never saw a clause in the Bible stating they were exempt from hell simply because they lacked the IQ to grasp the concept. Sending someone to an eternal fire party because of this seemed really cruel to me. The questions continued in my mind until I decided I no longer believed any of it. So I enjoyed trying some other traditions until I landed on Nicheren Buddhism.
One similarity among many religions is the concept of that particular religion being the only “right” one, and that adherents must convert others to their beliefs. That has chapped my ass for many years, no matter what the religion is. Who are we to say what is right for someone else? How demeaning is that??? Like they are too dumb to figure out what is in their best interest–that is the gist of that to me. So, here is Annie’s First Tolerance Teaching:
Everyone is allowed his or her own spiritual/religious path, no matter how stupid, demeaning, or (insert your own derogatory term here) it seems to you. Not everyone’s path is the same. That is how it should be.
Another massive problem is deciding that the teachings of your religion should apply to the masses, and everyone should have to live by that, no matter what. For example, religions that believe homosexuality is a sin. All right, whatever. Go ahead and have that belief if it works for you. Don’t have sex with those sharing your gender. Good for you. This leads us to Annie’s Second Tolerance Teaching:
Let others live by their own guidelines and needs, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else.
How on earth does homosexual marriage “hurt” “traditional” marriage? Can anyone provide a reasonable, rational explanation of why certain humans should be denied the same rights as others because of who they love? Marriage provides MAJOR benefits to those who care to partake, in terms of being able to be with loved ones as they die, taxes, participating in decision making if their loved one has been in a severe accident and may be withdrawn from life support, etc. You never consider these benefits until you can’t have them. Now if your spiritual path condones torturing others, then we have problems.
We often think that our path is the only one we can find value in. No need to partake in a Hindu service, or learn about Jainism. Surprise! Annie’s Third Tolerance Teaching:
Other religions/paths can offer amazing insight, inspiration, and learning as a supplement to our current beliefs.
I adore experiencing various schools of thought. So fascinating, and so uplifting, to notice the commonalities and differences among them.
Try out some tolerance this week–notice how much calmer and happier you are when you take your head trash to the dumpster!