Hi, there! How’s everybody doing? It’s been beautiful weather here this week… right now I’m contemplating riding the bike to ‘work’, lol. I have a few minutes, so I thought I’d grab a glass of tea and chat a bit. So, grab a glass or something and find a comfy spot to relax. The hot topic this week seems to be tolerance. It’s come up in the media, around the lunch table, in other conversations in the office. Unfortunately, some folks seem to be confused as to the meaning of tolerance, or often the word used is acceptance. Tolerance does not mean agreement. Unfortunately, that is the meaning that is being pushed sometimes violently from many quarters who have not been ‘accepted’ in the past. All of a sudden, people who engage in behaviors that used to be taboo, have decided to demand that the rest of us (who are actually in the majority) give our stamp of approval to anything and everything, any religion and every religion, no matter what. I have some rather strong opinions of my own, but even those don’t really matter. This week’s hot button seems to be LGBT.
Since I’m no expert on world religions, I needed to do some online research. The ‘big three’ seem to be Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, so those are the three I looked at. I tried to be fair, impartial and simply let the information speak for itself. I’ll start with The Qur’an and homosexuality. Arguably the oldest organized religion still in existence, the Qur’an of Islam strictly forbids homosexual (LGBT) activities on pain of death to both partners. Pretty cut and dried. Then we could look at Buddhism. The Dalai Lama has stated that homosexuality is not allowed in Buddhism. Christianity has the Scriptures which are held by every branch and every denomination. I’ll stick with the New Testament, in case someone has a problem with the validity of the Old Testament for today’s society. In Romans and again in 1 Timothy, as well as other passages, the apostle Paul makes it clear that homosexuality is a sin. It’s never been seen any other way.
The challenge is to hate the sin but still love the sinner. The bigger challenge is to overcome our culture of hate and pride that insists that anyone who disagrees with us on our pet cause ‘hates’ us. Apparently if we don’t agree, we need to sit down and shut up. The media has been absolutely no help on this one, either, showing footage of all sorts of violent incidents, covering all the sensationalistic uprisings and boycotts, but not showing any of the ‘boring’ footage of peaceful coexistence. I’m talking about the ‘straight’ Buddhist who works alongside the ‘LGBT’ Christian. They work well together, they share their differing views, but without animosity or hatred. I’m talking about the Islamic man who took a taxi cab many miles to return the cell phone of a Christian journalist who had inadvertently left it at a photo shoot.
I overheard a conversation this week between a half-dozen folks about the US Supreme Courts consideration of gay marriage. All of us were Christians of various branches. Since we didn’t all agree on the morality of LGBT, some felt left out of the conversation; some felt it was inappropriate to even have the conversation since we didn’t agree with their views. How sad! Since when do we all have to agree in order to have the right to voice our opinions, however strong they may be? Since when is it wrong to stand by our own convictions – especially if they are rooted in ancient belief and practice? Since when do we need to stop speaking of righteousness in public, just because some have a differing view? That would be the biggest intolerance of all, to deny the traditionalists the right to speak their views, as well as to hear the views of others – who curiously enough, chose to remain silent in the original conversation but to voice their disappointment later.
I have always defined immorality, from the Scriptures, as any sexual conduct outside Biblical marriage – one man and one woman. That being said, do I hate everyone who does not agree with me? Hardly! Will I speak what I believe to be truth when the door opens? Of course I will. Will I also listen to the beliefs of others? Of course. To me, that is true tolerance.
So, what about you? Do you need some true tolerance? Do you need to explore truth? Do you need to talk to someone about the issues, or maybe you’re caught in behaviors you wish you could get out of? Jesus is merciful, He did not come to condemn. Find a pastor or priest. They’ll be happy to help you, show you truth and pray with you.