Xref: taco alt.atheism:13259 alt.pagan:8492 talk.religion.misc:44201 Subject: Tolerance in

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Xref: taco alt.atheism:13259 alt.pagan:8492 talk.religion.misc:44201 Path: ncsuvm!taco!gatech!mailer.cc.fsu.edu!aleph!mayne From: mayne@aleph.cs.fsu.edu (William Mayne) Newsgroups: alt.atheism,alt.pagan,talk.religion.misc Subject: Tolerance in Religion (Was Re: GIVE ME A BREAK!!) Message-ID: <1991Aug12.124559.20401@mailer.cc.fsu.edu> Date: 12 Aug 91 16:45:59 GMT References: <6934@gazette.bcm.tmc.edu> <16510172@hpcvaac.cv.hp.com> Reply-To: mayne@cs.fsu.edu Organization: Florida State University Dept. of Computer Science Lines: 97 In article <16510172@hpcvaac.cv.hp.com> billn@hpcvaac.cv.hp.com (bill nelson) writes: [Answering the question:] >>So why is it that the people in this group [alt.pagan, but applicable in >>other groups to which this is posted] are so interested in attacking >>Christians? > >Yes, Pagans also have their fundamentalists and hate mongers. Fortunately, >they tend to be in much smaller numbers than the Christian and Moslem >sects... As I will show, this is no accident, and not because pagans are naturally better people. [Again quoting the earlier post:] >>Remember salvation is only through our Lord Jesus Christ. We await and >> pray for His return Amen! > >And you want tolerance from others. Do you know what a hypocrite is? Before I lose all of my audience let me get to the good stuff, namely an excerpt which makes the case far more eloquently than I can. My own comments on the above and the quoted material below follow. [Excerpts from "Tolerance in Religion", an essay by Francis Story, reprinted in "The Buddhist Outlook", Buddhist Publication Society, Sri Lanka, 1973, pages 229-231.] *** BEGIN QUOTE *** "If all who died outside the faith were condemned to eternal damnation, it was clearly the duty of the believers to save them at all costs. There could be no question of tolerating other religions which, by definition, were evil... "From such a viewpoint as this, tolerance could never be seen as a virtue, but only as a reprehensible weakness of faith or a disregard for the welfare of others... "But whatever the motive, or mixture of motives, the central fact on which it all rests is the teaching of the exclusiveness of salvation. The more firmly this belief is held, the less possibility there is of tolerance. It is only when the religious conviction weakens that the bare possibility of tolerating other faiths can make an entry... "To die an unbeliever is to die in an irreversible state of sin. It is not my purpose here to point out the injustice and illogicality of this view; it is already apparent to everyone who has thought seriously about it with an unbiased mind. Yet for the past two thousand years it has been the prevailing religious idea in the West, and it still shapes the religious thinking of many people... "In the case of most theistic religions, therefore, tolerance can only be regarded as an unhealthy symptom, a sign of approaching dissolution. The robust believer does not understand it; to him, the prime duty of life is to draw others into the fold, and for this purpose he will use any means whatsoever. If by torture a man may be coersed into accepting the "true faith", and so saved for eternity - let him be tortured. If he is obdurate, and likely to be a source of infection to others - and particularly if, like Giordano Bruno, he is intelligent enough to be listened to with respect - let him be killed. Rather one man should die than a million should be led to damnation by his heresy. That is the warped morality that inspired the Inquisition, ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ and it is still with us. Only weakness prevents it from functioning as in former times. "Accepting the initial position, that salvation is granted only on acknowledgement of one particular god and church, the conclusion is logical enough. The warping of the moral sense comes about not through ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ wilful perversion but through an initial error, blindly accepted and ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ conscientiously carried to its extreme." ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ *** END QUOTE *** [emphasis added] Lately there has been a rash of these types of exchanges. The usual defense given by Christians is "Don't judge all Christians by what luny fundamentalists do." I have done my fair share of Christian bashing, but should make it clear that I do not claim that all Christians are in fact bigots, nor that bigotry is confined to exclusive theistic religions. What I do claim is that intolerance, far from being an aberration in Christianity, is a natural and logical consequence of orthodox doctrine - regardless of any high minded morals which may have also been taught by Jesus Christ or the religion built around him by Paul and others. Among all the religions I know Islam alone shares this philosophical weakness and resulting bloody history. Human nature being what it is bigotry will indeed be found in any group. What sets a few apart is that the bigotry found there is not just human frailty. The official beliefs in practice encourage and actually stimulate it, whatever their professed intent. Hence am not making the error of confusing a sublime philosophy with the acts of its all too human adherents. I am actually making a distinction between the religion and the followers and directly attacking the religion itself. To the extent that followers are sincere and logical the criticism applies to individuals indirectly. They too are victims of a perverse idiology. Bill Mayne

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