Friday, March 24, 2006

can religious be tolerant?

i hoped to write this after reading keshi's faithless-journey posted last week but due to my illness and then work had to put it off till today.
like most people who discuss religion she says,
I believe that no 'Religion' teaches you to kill or make a mockery out of others (not that I have heard of such religions). But if you cant tolerate another person's faith or you harm people just 'cos they are different, then I reckon you haven't realised what faith is all about. Such people I believe have no faith whatsoever and are doing shame to their own so-called 'Religion'. 'Cos a 'Religion' should bring peace to you and others around you.
is it correct to assume that religions should bring peace and truly religious should be tolerant?

imo these are wrong assumptions. opposites are true in fact. only the fact that most people are not religious and don't really care much about religion prevents the world from turning into one unending war zone.

religions and their true followers are and should be unable to tolerate other beliefs. this is intrinsic to all belief systems based on irrational foundations.

all religions are based on such irrational supernatural foundations; god, karmic cycle, reincarnation, etc. they must, because the questions that religions give solutions to cannot be solved through reason alone. main ones being how to separate good from bad, and what comes after death. most people due to various reasons are unable to accept that there is no universal standard moral system and that there is nothing after death. luckily for the world most of these people follow their inherited arbitrary beliefs and associated morality without thinking too much about them and happily transgress them whenever their selfish needs 'tempt' them to.

problems arise when people really try to live by principles of their religion. then they cannot but fail to understand that their religion's fundamental beliefs are not compatible with other religions'. god of old testament, allah, jesus the son of god, and reincarnation are mutually exclusive for instance, in spite of some claims to the contrary. since their lives are based on their religions (in some cases nothing but religion) religious people run headon into two mutually exclusive choices. either they have to accept that 'truth' and thus morality is relative and there are no universal standards, in effect abandoning their religion or to defend their 'truth' and religion to the best of their ability.

in other words truly religious cannot but be intolerant.

one can object that founders of religions for the most part preached to their followers to be tolerant. if they were men of peace it would have been far better if these founders never created religions based on irrationality in the first place, because irrational faith invariably collides with other faiths. when the core of their teaching is at stake their followers are correct to pay scant heed to their secondary teachings on tolerance.

intolerance does not mean violence even with religious people. most are non violent. only the least intelligent or the most excitable turn violent. most priests and monks are men of 'peace' but if you probe you will see they are all of them intolerant at the core and quite willing to use whatever socially acceptable methods available to respectfully suppress any opposition. anti conversion bill in front of sri lanka parliament is just one such method. this is just an example one can find such things in every country and in every religion.

hopefully most people will continue to be selfish nonobservant sinners in the future as they are now.


Janin said...

Yeah strange that buddhism is such a "peace loving religion" - Note my quotes and yet they continually manage to keep this country on the brink of war. I think that answers the question in your posting. I think the non-religious (Aethiest / Humanists) would do a better job at peace, but that would involve us chalenging our conservatism cows will fly and eons will pass before that ever happens - i ain't waiting.......

Venus-Metamorphosed said...

Religion cannot bring peace, atleast not if the scriptures are to be followed. Asking the people to be tolerant and kind to one another and also asking them "spread the one true word of the one true god"? How would that work? Truly "God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability" [Oscar wilde]. On the other hand, if you are not fanatically religious you could be much more tolerant of people and their faiths, and you could do so without the guilt. I agree with you totaly.
Very intersting post.

Keshi said...

Being 'religious' isnt abt being fanatic...that was my whole point :) Alot of ppl think that being 'religious' is being tied to some God...thats not what I meant by Faith...Faith is altogether different and alot of ppl mix it up with a god, rituals, text books etc etc...and thats when we go wrong.

**in other words truly religious cannot but be intolerant.

WRONG Sittingnut :):) Even u who calim to be an Aethist can be truly 'religious'...religious to the beliefs that u have abt peace, not religious to a God. U r tolerant cos u r 'religious' in whatever u claim to be ur 'religion' it ur own philosophy, ur work, ur ways of life etc...

Thats what I meant...I hope this clears what I wanted to convey...:)


**On the other hand, if you are not fanatically religious you could be much more tolerant of people and their faiths

true...but being fanatic isnt necessarily being 'religious' :)


sittingnut said...

janin :
good to see you here.
i think we don't have to fear anything as long as truly religious do not have real power.

it's nice you dropped in.
if you are not fanatically religious you could be much more tolerant of people and their faiths, and you could do so without the guilt - my point exactly, though one needs not be fanatical to be intolerant.

hey mate. thanks :-)
i am not disagreeing with the gist of your post, just making the point that religious as defined in this post (which will largely correspond with normally accepted meaning of religious) cannot really be honestly tolerant.
as defined by you in your comment we can be tolerant, certainly. :-)

Keshi said...

**that religious as defined in this post (which will largely correspond with normally accepted meaning of religious) cannot really be honestly tolerant.

totally agreed! :)


Nitin said...

Since we are on the topic, I recommend Sam Harris' excellent book - The End of Faith (link)

sittingnut said...

thanks for the information. haven't read that book sounds very interesting.


Anonymous said...

Sittingnut darling,

You don't know a lot. That's why you write so much. (Just like those who talk a lot)

So stop coming up with crap to fill the blogosphere with.

sittingnut said...

sorry dear i know this is too much for your brain but we all have to make do with what we have. you better go browse some cartoon, better still go watch one if its not past your bed time :-)

Jack Point said...

Monotheistic reliogions are essentially intolerent. Polytheistic religions tend to do better, particularly if they are open to accepting new gods as in the case of the Greeks and the Romans.

When one must accept only one god, everyone who cannot accept that god becomes an infidel.

Infidels are viewed (at best) with suspicion by most religions.

sittingnut said...

jack point:
good point. :-)
those greek and roman ones would hardly count as religions these days. on the other hand we have socrates and the incidents in athens during the peloponnesean war when ppl (including alcibiades)were prosecuted for religious crimes, not to mention prosecution of christans in rome. then there is hinduism in india at present. but i admit they are more tolerant