Saturday, April 24, 2010

On Christianity and Religious Tolerance

"Those who believe the Ten Commandments is the basis for American jurisprudence are no less adamant than Moses in insisting that there be "no other Gods" before the God of the Bible. The modern idea that formed as a result of more and more immigrants coming to America and bringing their non-Christian religious traditions along with them (and worse than that, some would argue, popularizing them here) that all religious belief systems deserve equal respect really was not the "original intent" (as they call it) of our Founders." Doug B. from Groping the Elephant.

Doug has a great post today on Christianity in America and the paradoxical themes of freedom (in this case religious freedom) and the intolerance and exclusivity of the Christian faith. This is exactly the kind of topic I hope the PBS documentary God in America I wrote about on Thursday will at least briefly mention when it airs in October. How then does the average Bible believin', freedom lovin' American reconcile the two without blowing a circuit? Outside of not giving it much thought or establishing the beliefs in God and the Bible as superseding the universal rights of being human I can't see any other way around it. The rights and beliefs of others more than likely loses out in this battle whenever personal faith is challenged. This is because personal faith is so closely tied to our identity that any attack on the faith is a personal strike against us. This is insanity! And this is why I've departed from Mainstream Christianity to a very Liberal expression of Christianity (if I even continue to call myself a Christian at all is a topic I've written about in the past and something I will touch upon again in the near future). I do not see suppressing the universal rights of our neighbor just to secure my own sense of security in divisive and exclusive beliefs as the core of being Christian. Tolerance is not a Christian ideal but it is a human ideal. At the very least we should be progressing forward and not just meeting the status quo of the Founding Fathers. We should be more loving than Jesus, more compassionate than our scripture, and far surpass the original intent of our very human, and very fallible Founding Fathers.

4 comments:

Doug B said...

I certainly appreciate the kind mention and expression that you enjoyed my post. It is my opinion that hoary old traditions do not serve us moderns very well. In fact, they are back of much of the strife in our country and in the world today. I think we should, as you suggest, move ever forward.

chris said...

"This is insanity! And this is why I've departed from Mainstream Christianity to a very Liberal expression of Christianity (if I even continue to call myself a Christian at all is a topic I've written about in the past and something I will touch upon again in the near future.)"

Wonderfu post, and I completely relate to your statement on being Christian.

Al said...

Perhaps 'tolerance' is only the beginning. Perhaps we need to move beyond just 'putting up with' someone else's beliefs and begin to appreciate and even embrace the variety and complexity of human understanding.

In a different vein, I find it quite interesting (as a Canadian) to see the loyalty to a constitutional document over and above even greater expressions of human rights. It's as if there is no greater wisdom possible than has already been expressed in the US constitution.

Don said...

As you know, I too have expressed doubts as to whether my former friends in the institution would consider me a Christian if they really knew the extent of the changes which I have gone through in the last five years. Good Post!

Post a Comment