Too Many Religions, Not Enough Tolerance

By JJ
@myklj999 (16720)
July 19, 2008 10:07am CST
It's come to the point that there are more religions than Baskin-Robbins has ice cream flavors. All religions seem pretty much the same to me in that it is the worship of a Deity or Deities that control our lives and what occurs in them. Now, while I am not of any one religion, I think there must be a Higher Power or Greater Wisdom or something out there. Maybe it's just an alien race that seeded us here thousands of years ago. I'll probably never know. But it seems strange to me that of all these different religions, they all seem to teach tolerance and kindness towards others, yet what I think is the most visible of them, Christianity, appears to be loaded with many whom unduly and unfairly attack those who believe different. Now, I'm not saying all Christians are like this; but if you base it on percentages, the Christian followers are the least tolerant of anyone. Almost every other group can have a discussion about the differences between their group and someone else's without resorting to name calling and threats of Hell and damnation except for the Christians (again, let me emphasis I don't mean all Christians.) Why is this? Are they so insecure in their own belief that anyone questioning it is a threat to them? Why can't they just have a conversation about how loved they feel by their God and not about "My God is the only God and any who don't believe are stupid ignorant Godless Pagans/Heathens/ so on and so forth. They seem to equate Paganism and Heathenism with Atheism, when in fact the only people that don't believe in any God are the Atheists. Now there's a rude bunch for ya if you try to talk religion! So what do you think it is that makes so many Christians so insecure in their belief that they feel they must denigrate anyone who believes differently?
7 people like this
21 responses
@Pitgull (1523)
• United States
19 Jul 08
They seem to be open to listening to your beliefs in their God, but when you start questioning, they close off. Close minded. This is usually a development of brainwashing. People can brainwash themselves. I just read this post about Pagans, and it was completely offensive, coming from a Catholic. Isn't it there God they quote all the time that says Only He can judge me....and yet these people think if they believe they have the right to judge everyone else. Just because you believe in God, does not mean you are a good person. Hell...that's the fear mongering that goes along with the Republicans of our country.... I told someone how I did not believe in the Devil, and then they asked how could I not? That means I'll blame God for everything that happens in life. No, I don't blame God or the Devil for good or bad things in the world, THAT IS REAL LIFE!!!!!! ack, I'm not yelling at you, thanks for letting me vent, and wonderful wording of your conversation, writing about these issues and not being offensive, is a hard task and I think you accomplished it beautifully.
4 people like this
@tigertang (1750)
• Singapore
19 Jul 08
I think someone should do a thesis on this - someone really should examine how the growing number of religions has lead to the situation of people having less tolerance for each other. I also think it's really cool that you have placed this on mylot, a place where people have been free to behave as they really are. You get see people who claim to be Christians, Jews and Muslims - people who claim to have a special connection to God behaving in the most ungodly way. I don't what it is but people who claim to have a special relationship with God have a special talent of behaving in a very ungodly fashion. But perhaps it's not just the number of religions leading to greater intolerant between people. You should also look at the various sects of the same religion being more intolerant of each other than anything else. Look at the way Catholics and Protestants have been each other's throats for much of Europeans history. Look at the way Sunni's and Shia's are busy killing each other in the Middle East. I think it may not be so much the religion at fault here but the belief that people of that religion have the "exclusive" franchise on God. Personally, the teachings o f Christ are Godly in what they teach and I also think the Prophet Mohamed makes allot of sense. However, both their followers have developed the idea that they and they alone have the exclusive franchise for God and the problem with thinking you have the exclusive, is the fact that you have to understand that everyone else is wrong. And there in lies the problem with too many religions - or too many exclusive franchises for God.
• United States
28 Jul 08
Hi tigertang. I was very impressed with your response on this subject and would be very interested to get your thoughts about a discussion I started. We have similar ideas on the followers of religion and I think you would find the discussion interesting. Looking forward to hearing from you! http://www.mylot.com/w/discussions/1626338.aspx?p=1#2_17628589
1 person likes this
@Hatley (164524)
• Garden Grove, California
19 Jul 08
myklj999 hi you are so right there are too many religions and not many people who have any tolerance. I have my own 'religious beliefs that are sorta Christian and sorta every thing else, but I stick to them and I practice the golden' rule as taught to me by my ,mom,do into others as you would have them do unto you. It works if one uses it. I respect all peoples religous beliefs and ask only that they respect mine. but it doesnt seem to soak into many p;eoples heads that I do not want to be preaced at, I do not care ifyou are holly rollers, catholic, jehovahs witnesses or mormon, leave me and my own personal beliefs along. I respect yours so why do you preach at me, why do you think your religion is better than mine, why cannot you people take care of your own religious view and let me take care of mine. I dont know what it is that makes Christians feel they must tear a p;erson of another belief apart? I wish I did. we all need to practice tolerance, even here in mylot as one of our dear members has left because of harassment.'its just not right she did nothing wrong.
@KrauseHome (35529)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Personally, in my opinion, this is one of the Best responses I have ever read. If more Christians could look on things this way, what a better world this would be to live in as well.
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
19 Jul 08
Hi myklj999, As you say, all Christians are not like this, and we have to make that point very clear. There are also some Muslims here who are not tolerant of others, although I've also discovered that is not true of all Muslims either. Most people in the Americas were raised in the Christian tradition or at least surrounded by it, and in a lot of cases don't know enough about other traditions to judge them. Like you I could never be an Atheist, although I have no problem with those who chose that way, I feel that there has to be something more than we see here. Before judging anyone, I think we have to look at their upbringing and lets face it, many have been taught to be intolerant, even by sometimes well meaning parents. Those who are convinced that their way is the only way feel an obligation to teach their children what they believe is the truth. This holds true if one is a fundamentalist Christian, a Mormon, a Jehovah's Witness, or one of a hundred other smaller groups. This same people have been told that they must tell others of this truth and that it is of the utmost importance. The problem for all of them is the same, they have no proof other than to quote the Bible, which is pointless to someone who doesn't believe it. We all get upset sometimes when others don't see things our way, we get frustrated and say things things that would be better left unsaid, this I think is what happens with these Christians and others who resort to name calling. Blessings.
2 people like this
@p1kef1sh (45640)
19 Jul 08
Forgive them Myklj for the know not what they do. The real issue is that having said how my faith guides me I then cannot grasp that maybe yours guides you just as effectively. Even being an atheist doesn't mean you don't have faith in at least yourself.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Jul 08
I agree with you. I have noticed that those that follow catholisism are some of the most intollerant people that I have ever run in to. From what I can tell from speaking to some of them they believe that what they believe is the only thing that could possibly be right and if you aren't catholic then you are damned to an eternity of fire and brimstone. What I think is really funny about the catholic religion is that they think that you can go out, do whatever the heck you want then as long as you go and confess what you have just done and then say a few "hail marys" that all is good and you can go back out and do the exact thing over and over again. What astounds me is that the book that they say is absolutely correct and true and they believe completely in (by the way.... the way it is currently translated it cannot be completely true, 'cause it contradicts itself I am sure that in the original language it didn't but the way that it is currently translated it does.) says that when you repent you are supposed to make a commitment to God to attempt NOT to commit the sin again. That is not how the catholics make their belief system work. Which leads me to ask... how can they claim that they believe in the bible when they seem to shun one of its principle teachings.
2 people like this
@Barbietre (1440)
• United States
19 Jul 08
I do agree, there are many exteme religions that say that. But the mainstream ones do not seem so, at least right now. I am a fallen away Catholic and the church has softened on that part, we feel anyome who believes in their faith and lives a decent life will be "saved". But I have friend who belongs to a church who has taken upon itself to rebaptize deceased people into their religion so they will be saved. I think that is real nerve. I have mentioned that to her and she denies it, but it has the largest geneolgy resources in the world. So figure it out. A Jewish group caught wind of this and sued them to make them stop. I also beliee it really does not matter what you call Him/Her there can only be one supreme being, I mean come more than one Creator, get a grip!
1 person likes this
@tessah (6621)
• United States
20 Jul 08
its all fine and good for you to beleive in only one supreme being, only one creator.. but your last statement here of telling others who beleive differently to "get a grip" negates every single word you spoke of tolerance and respecting others beleifs.. because SOME of us do NOT beleive there is only ONE.. and we have no need to get a grip on anything.
1 person likes this
@mmiller26 (1932)
• Canada
19 Jul 08
This is a tough one and I'm not sure how to answer. A lot of Christians have a massive persecution complex and it's mostly imagined. Even though Christianity makes up a HUGE portion of the world's religious base and the Catholic church has enjoyed enormous power through the ages, and that the United States government is filled with right-wing fundamentalists, (and the evangelical Christianity that is practiced there is not practiced anywhere else--that's what you get for having a country founded by Puritans) they believe that there's some other entity or religion trying to bring them down. It's fear, plain and simple, that something different might come along and threaten their way of life. Fear always leads to hatred. We've seen that throughout history. Religion, by its very definition is intolerant, I suppose. A religion cannot claim that their God is the one true God and be tolerant that there are other gods out there being worshiped. There may be tolerant people within it, but tolerance does not stem from fundamentalism. These people follow blindly like sheep and do not question what they're told. Religion without reason and thought leads to fanaticism, and fanatics have no use for anyone who doesn't believe what they believe. I consider myself to be Christian but my brand of Christianity is far removed from the bible-thumping different-hating insecure fire-and-brimstone eternal damnation....crap...that is taught in a lot of churches today. And I get annoyed when people like that get in my face. I don't worship the bible. I don't have much use for it, as a matter of fact. I pay attention to Jesus and the life lessons he had to impart, and a very big part of what he had to say was simply, love one another. Love each other, and accept each other. Don't judge because you're not perfect either. Strive to bring peace to the world around you. Everyone out there are your brothers and sisters, and treat them like family. A lot of Christians have gotten away from that message, and maybe that's why they have so much to fear.
1 person likes this
@uath13 (8207)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Ever considered a job in the Christian ministry? Sounds like you'd make a fine example.
1 person likes this
@mmiller26 (1932)
• Canada
20 Jul 08
I think I'd have a really tough time with that and would probably give myself stress-related heart problems in no time. lol. I get worked up enough as it is wrangling with people here on MyLot who use their faith as a weapon. But I do thank you. That's a very nice compliment.
• United States
21 Jul 08
In the definition of Agnostic that Mykl presented, I guess I'm a "b": one who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism. When I was a child, I went to the same church that my grandparents (my father's parents) went to. It was a First Christian Church. I went to Sunday school classes, read about Jesus and God. I sang the children's Christian songs and the hymns. So, back then, I didbelieve there is a God. As years passed, though, I started to doubt whether there is a God or not. I can't put my finger on any one thing that caused this turn around for me. Even today, I can't say that I believe there is a God because I'm not sure. My questions are: Who is God? Why can we not see God? How can God be an eternal being while man and woman live an average of, say, 70 years? Are the stories in the bible true or are they just that...stories? etc. There would have had to have been a Creator...how else would the universe and people have been placed the way they are? Sure, I'm not familiar with all the religions of the world. It would take too much time to try to learn something of all of them. From what little I have read of it, the "religion" closest to teaching of a creator is the one that Native Americans have. In my opinion, the Native Americans took better care of what was created on the earth for them better than any other people ever have.
• United States
21 Jul 08
oopss.....hit the "post comment" button by accident. It seems to me that even though there are many nations of the Native Americans, they have a common religion. That's my take on it anyway.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Jul 08
Did you ever think that it seems like the majority of Christians act like that because those are the ones you are seeing? What you don't see are the ones who choose to stay out of those discussions altogether because they know it's pointless to try to change some people.
1 person likes this
@myklj999 (16720)
19 Jul 08
We aren't talking about trying to change anyone; we're talking about why can't some people be more tolerant of others and accept them as they are without trying to say what they believe is wrong.
1 person likes this
@Gorcon (320)
• United States
28 Jul 08
I believe that in every religion there is some beauty. However, those extremists and literalists of each religion distort and make the religion ugly and intolerant. In each of the three Abrahamic faiths we have extremists: Islam has extremists, Christanity has extremists (Christian fundamentalists), and so does Judaism (as we see in Zionism). It's just up to the individual to look past these extreme elements and see the truth of these religions and start educating yourself based on your own research and not based on any news reports or extremists who claim that they are the true representation of their faith.
@skinnychick (6907)
• United States
21 Jul 08
Key word- INSECURE. Maybe they doubt the religion themselves deep down but won't admit it. It makes it easier to bash other religions as an outlet for their own insecurity. Another reason is good old fashioned ignorance. Most never take the time to research and find out about other faiths or religions or haven't bothered to look up athiest in the dictionary. They just bash at will because it isn't agreeable to what they believe.
1 person likes this
@umart13 (841)
• Ireland
20 Jul 08
Hello myklj999. Oh! I don't know. There are 5 billion people on the planet. If you take the Catholics, the Muslims, the Buddhists and Hindus, then you have covered the vast majority of the people throughout the world. Many of the religions are very similar. I could group them into a belief in the one God; a belief in the Gods of Nature; and a philosophy for living. I don't believe there are many exceptions outside of these categories and they do not have to conflict with each other. The great irony is that all these religions preach tolerance, so we have to ask ourselves where this intolerance comes from. Something has become badly distorted through the course of history. All the best. Umart
1 person likes this
@cutelang (83)
• Philippines
20 Jul 08
Not all the so called Christians are real true Christians but rather they are YAHWIST AND NEO-JUDAIST.the Real True Christiana are the Gnostic Ones!! Most of the Yahwist are intolerant because Yahweh command them so and are afraid of the anger and punishment of Yahweh.WHAT A CRUEL GOD!!!
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Jul 08
Personally I believe there is only one supreme being who is known by many different name by different people. Our world would be a much better place if tolerance was practiced by everyone. However as far as I see in our time and age Muslims and their Islamic beliefs are the most intolerant. They are a bloodthirsty bunch using the name of Allah as the reason/excuse for all their crimes.
1 person likes this
@uath13 (8207)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Simple answer... If they've got the spotlight pointed on someone else, it's not shining on them.
1 person likes this
@KrauseHome (35529)
• United States
20 Jul 08
You have posted some excellent thoughts here. Personally, for someone who says they are not sure what they believe, I feel this is some of the best insight anyone could ever have. I totally agree that there are a lot of Christian people in various religions who are BIG hypocrits, and quick to judge others never stopping to remember only God was perfect, and it is Freedom to choose what will help us in this life as well. I am a Christian, know how I believe, what I believe, but realize I am also human as well. No, I may not like some of the things people are doing out there in the world that I consider SIN, but I am not going to judge you for it. Personally, that is your Freedom of choice, and I don't see why I should talk down to you for it either.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Jul 08
Personally I don't have a religion. Mine is a Pantheistic philosophy in that all matter & energy exists within the natural laws of the Universe and cannot be changed, destroyed or created. To me the entire Universe, including all of nature on the Earth to the most distant dark matter of the farthest galaxy is equally important and deserves reverence, awe and fascination, the entirety of the Universe including humans is "God" though I tend not to use that term very often. I do not feel that the Universe needs to be worshipped, dogmatized, doctrinized or ritualized in any way, shape or form. Any personal reverence I give to the Universe is only important to me. My reverence is based knowledge, provable fact, empirical evidence or sound logical theory and how it makes me feel. The more I know the more reverence I have. I don't fear a divine punishment or believe in a divine reward. Everyone lives by a personal code of conduct and ethics that we learn from experience. Good and evil are created by each individual and results in their actions. The people who need to believe in a divine being? Well, I have no problem with that, human psychology being what it is, as long as they can understand that it is not what I believe nor do I want to believe. Belief in the supernatural or people who say someone can break the laws of physics at will is not within the realm of reality in my book. Back to human psychology and organized religion. Taking into consideration our nature to believe what we are told by people we trust, it doesn't really surprise me that religion has become the biggest block of separation known to humankind. The ancients, with the idea of protecting their families and villages adopted the "us against them" mentality, we are right they are wrong, we are good they are evil, all ties in. We have separated humankind into so many groups, religion, nationality, culture, skin color, language, states, etc. Until we can pull together instead of separating ourselves nothing will change. I hope that made sense.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Jul 08
As a Christian I believe there is only one God. All worship this one God, unless you are a satanist or agnostic. All may not recognise our one God but He is the only one to worship. God does not control our life as He has given us all free will. Hopefully all will recognise our one true God, one day and live in peace. We must accept one another and witness through our actions and LOVE.
@myklj999 (16720)
20 Jul 08
As a Christian I believe there is only one God. As is your right to believe. All worship this one God, unless you are a satanist or agnostic. Now you're beginning to show your ignorance; do you know what 'agnostic' means? And Pagans do not worship 'this one God' either. Go back to school. All may not recognise our one God but He is the only one to worship. And right there is the intolerance I'm talking about.
@tessah (6621)
• United States
20 Jul 08
"All worship this one God, unless you are a satanist or agnostic." false ignorant statement.. learn something about theology, and then try again. "We must accept one another and witness through our actions and LOVE. " try practicing what you preach.. because at the moment yer a filthy hypocrit.
• United States
20 Jul 08
Sounds to me like you may be the ignorant one as to the best of my knowledge an agnostic is one who does not believe in God. There is only one God who created everything. Some dont recognise this so if they are worshiping "another god" they are really worshiping the one true God as he is the only one. They just dont realize that yet. I accept people of all faiths. God gave us free will to choose our path. But please forgive me if I do have the wrong definition of agnostic,if I do then I am ignorant on that. God Bless
• Australia
30 Aug 08
So I have read through all the posts on this topic so far and have been very impressed with the high level of simple acceptance I have found here. It gives me great joy to see people just being able to voice thier ideas and not get totally reamed for it. So I would like to ask for the same courtesy. I was born into the Mormon Religion. I have always felt that it has been a good and true religion despite some of the down sides in history that have shown up. But I ask you to show me one religion that hasn't had a human factor built in that hasn't done something wrong in God's name. On that note here's how I choose to look at it. In the beginning was God, That is God the Father and He had a Son, even named Jesus Christ and they together as "God's" created this earth and sent the souls of mankind to earth to be tested. They just like any good parent gave us a set of rules to help guide us in life just like you would give a child. These rules are here to protect us and show us how to get back into the eternal arms of our Heavenly father. We call it free will. Now with that free will there are consequences of our actions. Now along with this opportunity we have Satan who did not want to follow God's plan of free will so He was cast out of heaven just has you would cast a wayward child out of a home for extreme reasons. Now because of this Satan has decided to thawart the Plan of happiness that God has offered which is to do what is right as often as we can and strive to be the best mortal beings we can with the atonement of Jesus Christ to make up the difference so that we can eternally progress. Now as part of our human nature we are going to say "I don't like that rule" so we change it or "I don't like the way that law is written" So we change it. Thus we have thousands of different religions and trains of thought about religion no matter what their standard belief system. In the end I guess, If you believe in the Christian relgion, we all find out. Again I thank you all for listening and ask please if you disagree let me know but don't send me hate mail just because. Or if you would like to know more on how I believe please feel free to pm me and I will be glad to share.
@myklj999 (16720)
30 Aug 08
Although some of my discussions do get rather heated, most people in them can exchange ideas and opinions without getting personal with each other about it. I am lucky that way... Just one question: It seems to me that Satan was cast out for exercising his "free will". I believe he may just be a rebel at heart but still loves his Father but doesn't know how to reconcile the differences. I hear that God loves all; can he even forgive Satan if he asks? Just food for thought.
• Australia
31 Aug 08
As God is omnipotent, Yes it is possible. Likely I think not. Satan made his choice and chooses to live with it. He already new what was in store from the beginning being a son of God Just as Christ was and is. Here's a thought however that was posed that made really think. Can God create a rock that He can't move. Think hard on all the options before you answer that. It might just suprise you the way it comes out.