Intolerance


We need more bridges and a lot less walls between us

I don’t know when it started or how it became so prevalent in our culture but large chunks of our society are very intolerant of things and people that they don’t understand and this has translated into individuals that are very quick to condemn that which is different. Regardless of whether those differences are spiritual, sexual, political or moral doesn’t much matter anymore as it seems to enrage those who see the world differently all the same. The concept of “live and let live” seems to have been lost along the way as people clamor to make sure that everyone knows what is acceptable to believe and that they follow the straight and narrow.

The other thing that goes hand in hand with this new trend is that lots of people seem to have a temper that is barely contained and things like road rage that never went any further than yelling or making rude hand gestures at the car that cut you off now has escalated to the point where some people actually take physical action against the offender usually in a violent way. So in general people are less tolerant than they used to be and they have hair triggers on their anger towards those who in their judgment have dissed them in some way or another. In other words civility seems to have gone the way of other extinct species and we as a society seem to have no problem with opening up with both barrels at people who dare to violate what we consider the norms we should all live by.

Maybe this started with the concept that we all deserve the best that life can offer and to accept anything less is not to live up to your potential. Maybe the corporate mantra that Gordon Gekko espoused, who was played by Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street, has finally sunk in at the main street level which was “Greed is good.” Maybe the politicizing of religion has made us all think that compromise between the left and the right is akin to making a deal with the devil and must be avoided at all costs. I don’t know. It seems that there is no more room for compromise within our society and especially within politics where the drama plays out every time an issue comes up that needs a bi-partisan solution. Each time it fails miserably because there is no longer any room for compromise regardless of whether it is for the greater good or not.

Another byproduct of the intolerance of other ideas and beliefs is that it seems that we have come to the conclusion that anything goes as we battle against the viewpoints that we find offensive. In the political arena lies and exaggerations are apparently an acceptable form of winning against your opponent. I can only assume that those who support candidates that lie and exaggerate also condone those statements as a legitimate way to wage war against your political opponent. Maybe they think that the ends (getting elected) justifies whatever means are necessary to achieve those goals. Perhaps the imagery of Ephesians 6:12 has permeated the followers of the Republican party as it says “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

This means that the struggle is not just against the politicians who are running for election but against the forces of darkness that are what is really behind them. If that is the case then any dirty trick and any tactic would be acceptable when battling the forces of darkness. Politicians themselves don’t care one way or the other and just want to win and if they can do so by wooing the fundamentalist vote then so much the better. So is this what we have to look forward to in the coming years? Are people becoming ever more polarized until we reach a point that they move from rude behavior to riots and then on to revolution? Whatever happened to the injunction that you should love your neighbor as yourself? Or is that prefaced with “as long as they are not different from you.”

Perhaps politicians, spiritual leaders and even regular everyday people might want to take a breath as the world teeters on some major changes and think about how they treat one another. Perhaps they might want to think about the respect that is due another human being regardless of whether they believe the same things as you do. The world economy is precariously balanced on a precipice which will only take a few well-placed pushes to shove it off the edge and the environment is heading towards a point of no return in regards to the damage that we have done to it. The rich are getting very rich and the poor are finding it hard to get a job or feed their families. The American dream of owning a home has become a nightmare of foreclosures and homelessness. Is this really the world that you want to leave your children and your grandchildren? I really hope not because they don’t deserve to be left to clean up the mess we have made of this world. We are so concerned about leaving a huge national debt to our children but that is only a small part of the damage that mankind has done to this country and the world. Change starts with the individual. Change starts with me and it starts with you.

Michael

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