I Respectfully Disagree

My dog was not feeling very tolerant toward that squirrel. Photo credit: Doree Weller

My dog was not feeling very tolerant toward that squirrel.
Photo credit: Doree Weller

I write a lot about tolerance and acceptance, and that I feel that they’re “good” qualities.  I’m sure most people agree with me.  However, people with liberal mindsets often put down people with more conservative mindsets for not “accepting” what they feel is okay.  And that’s where things get thorny.

For the record, I’m pro-human rights, which in my mind, means I support gay marriage (or marriage equality) and the right for LGBTQ people to just be treated as people.

However, not everyone agrees that being gay, for example, is “okay.”  A lot of people are even more opposed to gay marriage, and the Supreme Court ruling isn’t changing their minds.  That’s because people often object to gay marriage on religious or moral grounds.

About this time in the discussion, someone usually says that Jesus preached tolerance for all, and that it’s not tolerant to be anti-gay or anti-gay marriage.

I respectfully disagree.

Tolerance doesn’t mean that you like something.  It doesn’t mean that it’s okay with you.  It means that you tolerate it.

According to dictionary.com, tolerance means:

1.a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.

Nothing in there says that you have to condone an attitude, but I would like to point out that in order to be “fair” and “objective,” you have to understand.

One of the arguments people sometimes use against gay marriage is that “it’s not good for children,” and this is often based on anecdotal evidence of a few people raised in gay marriages who feel it negatively impacted them.  I can find thousands of people raised in heterosexual marriages or by single parents who feel that their parents’ relationship damaged them.  That doesn’t make heterosexual relationships to blame.

On the other hand, many people put down religious people for their intolerant attitudes by pointing to the extremists who don’t accurately portray religion.  The first group to pop to mind is the Westboro Baptist Church who protest funerals.  While they identify themselves as Christians, even other Christians believe them to be a “hate group.”  Just because someone has an opinion, and they’re Christian, doesn’t mean that all Christians believe the same way.

Let’s start treating one another as individuals, asking questions, and treating one another with respect.  At the core, we all want the same thing: to live our lives the best way we know how.  For Christians, that means figuring out how best to follow Jesus’s teachings.  For the LBGTQ community, that means being treated as equals.  For some people, those two ideas mesh well, but others can’t reconcile them.

I’m going to say something some might disagree with, and it’s that it’s okay if people disagree.  Respectfully disagreeing means that we listen to the other side and respond with respect.  The key here is that you honestly listen, and when you respond, you do so without name-calling, put-downs, or a condescending attitude.  These two issues make people quite passionate, and it can be difficult to be respectful in a discussion, but that’s tolerance.  Two people can have a disagreement, come no closer to agreeing by the end of it, and still listen to one another and respect one another.

My tolerance only ends when someone advocates or threatens harm to self or others.  That’s my line.  I love listening to people who disagree with me because I might learn something.  I love talking to people who disagree with me because I might teach something.  But if someone starts speaking in a disrespectful manner, my ears generally shut off, and I don’t hear anything but the disrespectful parts of the speech.

What are your thoughts on tolerance?

I Don’t Have to Have All The Answers (And it’s okay)

Renaissance Fair, AZ Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Renaissance Fair, AZ
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

My belief system is pretty simple: treat all living things with kindness and respect, don’t hurt anyone, and I don’t have to know all the answers.  Life is pretty miraculous, and I believe that there’s a lot I don’t understand.  And I’m actually okay with that.  I prefer it that way.  For me, questions of religion and morality become simple.

Sometimes in my group, people will ask what I believe.  Or they may ask me if something sounds “crazy.”  My response is always the same: There are many things in this world beyond my understanding.  There are times when that response doesn’t satisfy people.  My lack of curiosity frustrates them, as if I’m deliberately holding answers.  I am curious; I’m just not likely to get the answers to some of my questions.  As to other questions; I’m patient.  Many of the answers will come in time.

People have always searched for answers to questions, and that’s not going to stop.  Differences are what makes the world such an interesting place, and there are those who are curious and will search for answers.  I enjoy listening to their answers, even as in the back of my head, I’m not convinced.  I’m just not convinced, even when others are so sure that their answers are the right one.

But just because an answer might not be the right one doesn’t mean it’s the wrong one either.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

-From Hamlet

Don’t Manipulate Me!

Museum of Natural History; Photo credit: Doree Weller

Museum of Natural History; Photo credit: Doree Weller

I always feel a twinge of guilt when I ignore things like, “Share if you hate cancer!” or “Share if you want a cure for diabetes!”  Well, of course I want to rid the world of cancer, diabetes, childhood diseases, adult diseases, male pattern baldness, and everything else, but I fail to see how my sharing a status that someone else came up with helps anyone.  Do I need to share this because if I don’t, people will assume that I support people getting cancer?

I’m all about supporting my friends.  If you have something going on with you, I’ll be there for you during your fight with whatever.  If you are a writer or an artist, I’ll share your stuff if you want me to.  But some random manipulative status?  No, I’m not going to do that.  It would be like asking me to share a status that says, “Share if you think the sky is blue!”

I get it; it’s all about awareness.  But I’m inundated with so many different things that I’m no longer aware of them, and I’ll bet most other people aren’t either.  Tell me something I don’t know about it.  Tell me something I can do to help.

I don’t mind you posting things about awareness.  Post whatever you want.  It’s just the ones that say “Share if you hate *fill in the blank*” that I dislike.  I don’t mind sharing things that I think are meaningful.  I have a friend who struggled with breast cancer, and she kept a blog about the reality of living with cancer.  I shared that.  I learned so much I didn’t know about breast cancer.  She kept it real and ugly, and showed how brave and beautiful she was, especially on days when she felt neither.  Show me real.

Now, maybe I don’t understand how sharing statuses help promote awareness, and I’m always up for discussion.  If you have a different opinion, I’d love to hear it.

*Note that I purposely left religious statuses out of this.  Part of the reason for that is that someone actually posted about that today, saying that she was saved by Jesus and wants everyone else to be too, which is why she shares things about it, and is her way of praying for others.  I can live with that.


by The TV Guy

imagesThe path of our existence is at times guided by those who know more than we do. Sometimes we follow those who say the right things and offer us a new take on old ideas. This documentary titled Kumare is what happens when one man decides to give the people what they want in order to prove a point. This film attempts to show how with the right look and language anyone can create a following of people looking for more in their lives. There is of course a twist at the end that brings it all together. This is worth a look it may make you question how you look at faith.

Little Mosque

by The TV Guy

imagesWhen an Anglican preacher rents space in the church to a group of Muslim followers, the corny laughs never end. The Canadian sitcom, Little Mosque on the Prairie, or just Little Mosque, as it is known on Hulu, offers the local residents of Mercy an opportunity to understand their Muslim neighbors.

The show does its due diligence to de-mystify the second largest religion on the planet by explaining what their faith is really about. The series in its totality is available on Hulu. If you are looking for a light and funny sitcom with little edginess, than this is the one for you. This show is safe for all ages and harkens back to era in American television that has been gone for decades. This straight-laced comedy with no sexual innuendo is just clean family fun.