Sunday, June 11, 2006

A conundrum for some

This recent arrest of alleged terrorists in Canada is going to cause some people to hurt themselves trying to square the circle of their own thinking. The people I have in mind have elevated "Tolerance" to the highest moral level, and yet it is this very tolerance that seems to attract the hostility of terrorists. What to do? What to do?

Uncritical embracing of all belief systems as being equal is doomed for the basic reason that it can't be true. If all beliefs are created equal, what do you do with the system that says YOUR system is inferior? It's an obvious Gotcha. And if you accept the right of believers to criticize your system, where do you draw the line? And if your system doesn't actually stand FOR anything, what do you draw the line with?

Everyone believes in something. Those who claim to be atheists, or even pantheists for that matter, may deny that there is a God of the universe, but they express beliefs about the true nature of existence and man's role in it that are as coherent as Christianity, only without the omnipotent divine element. Concepts of good and evil, mercy and cruelty, right and wrong exist, but conveniently without any moral consequences, merely natural outcomes. That's fine, but much of the human experience is left unexplained when the explainer's world lacks a divine force.

Me, I am a practising Christian who was a vigorous atheist for many years. I think Christianity explains plenty of things about the world and my place in it. But I am just as convinced that the gap between God and Man is greater than the gap between Man and, say, Cat. My cats have ideas about me, how I think in certain situations, what I can and can't do, how I fill my day. And I in turn have ideas about God, how He thinks in certain situations, what He can and can't do, how He fills his day, or His Eons. And while I am content with the coherence of my ideas about God, they are no more likely to be true than my cats' ideas about me.

So before I go telling someone that they are wrong and I am right about religion, I will think how smart the smartest cat is about me, and I will be silent. But I would expect anyone else who is prepared to act against me in the name of his religion to reconsider and then stop, based on the same thinking. And I applaud those who are vigilant in revealing and ending organized attempts by any persons who, in the name of their God, would seek to impose their cat-brained ideas on the rest of the world.

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