Some Thoughts on Faith and Intolerance

There has been a lot of hate, talk of religion and the holidays falling on my windshield of life in the last week or two. It seems those three things should not be able to co-exist. In fact one would hope that one of those would cancel the other out, or at least not be the source. So how do we tolerate the intolerable? How do we honor our freedom to speak our truth even when it flies in the face of the very teachings many claim to follow? Truth is I don’t know. I’m just a guy who tries to be his best self and stumbles quite a bit in the process. It sure seems there is a war brewing. Jesus is white. Santa is white,  I’m offended at you wishing me a Merry Christmas…

It seems so pointless and trivial. I could tell you of a large school of thought that would point out that Jesus was Middle Eastern and his birthday would have been no where near December. But what does it matter? Why does it matter? If we weren’t so wrapped in something as fragile as appearance, why would it matter what color he was?  People are putting so much energy into something that should be of no consequence. If this matters to you, I ask you to ask yourself, why? Shouldn’t any following of Jesus be based on his teachings, and only his teachings? And what of these teachings? Why are those that seem to shout the loudest the least informed about their own chosen path? I’ve read the bible, but I certainly wouldn’t consider myself an expert. In fact I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on anything…except maybe tacos. How novel of an idea is that? To remove the pressure of knowing everything, to be a perpetual student, always learning. But I digress into flights of fancy. 

I know of no passage in the new Testament where Jesus espoused hate and intolerance. I mean he got a little cranky with those temple merchants but I remember teachings of tolerance, and love. So how does that translate to so many of his followers as the exact opposite? I don’t know. It sure makes me wish more people would read the manual that their whole life philosophy stems from. It’s good stuff.

I’m not Christian, but many of the teachings are good rules to live by.  As are the teachings of the Buddha, Mohammed, the Torah and numerous other philosophies. Which by the way, most have the same teachings, so why must we beat the crap out of each other with our differences when the similarities far outweigh the differences? What is it with our addiction to division? With our obsession with uniformity? How can a nation built on freedom be so allergic to it?

We live in a largely Christian nation. I have no problem with that. I say Merry Christmas…happily. In my mind I am wishing you happiness and joy for the season. Of course ideally it would be year round, but lately we can’t even get through a season. So while I follow no particular path, but rather all paths that offer me something to learn, which are most, I am still in the minority. I’m fine with that. I have no need for matching jersey’s. But where I take issue and a lot of those people who are supposedly at “war” with Christmas, is the intolerance of any other point of view. I don’t mind honoring the traditions of the many, as long as the many honor the possibility that others find a different path to a good life. It does nothing to me to honor Christianity. It takes nothing away from me. So why are so many threatened at the simple acknowledgment of the unique mind. Isn’t that our greatest gift no matter who you think the creator is?


We live in complex times. It’s the price of our progress as a species. That’s why you don’t learn calculus in kindergarten. Race. Guns. Wealth. It seems a good place to start is where we are. Honor the complexities and admit that we don’t know everything. Admitting what we don’t know seems a good start to knowing.


The purpose of this piece is not to give you the answers, I don’t know them. It’s not to tell you what to think, but to implore you to think. Tolerance should be a human instinct. If you follow a path, are you honoring it with your humanity? If you don’t follow a path you are still a part of humanity, and that is the road that we all share. 


As for what color Jesus is, I still say it shouldn’t matter, but personally, I think he’s purple.

Published in: on December 19, 2013 at 8:47 PM  Comments (2)  
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