Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Don't Be Tolerant
Article ID: 13045
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,659
Times Read: 2,753
RSS Views: 14,845
Posted: August 23rd. 2009
Times Viewed: 2,753
To have tolerance*, to be tolerant, one must have “sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own.” That doesn’t sound very good to me. To be tolerant of other religions means we view them as something we should have sympathy toward, something we will indulge? Could we possibly find a way to be more arrogant and elitist? I’m tired of those who ask for ‘tolerance’ of this or that, especially when it comes to religion.
There is nothing… nothing bad about being different. In fact, differences are the cornerstone of creativity. Without differences there would be no stability to anything, no capacity for it to stand up to the winds of change, and no ability to grow or advance. We shouldn’t be merely tolerant of differences; we should celebrate them! Everything in our universe is different from everything else.
Does that mean we should be tolerant and ‘endure (the) pain or hardship’?
Of course we should all have standards that guide our conduct and set the border between what is acceptable and what isn’t. We must guard against that which can harm, and work against that which degrades our world. Ideas can do these things, no doubt about it. But to rise up against ideas or activities simply because they’re different is not mere intolerance, it’s stupidity.
By actively conflicting with another’s differing ideas, we become engaged with their ideas. In other words, we give their ideas energy! If instead we take their ideas and find ways to fold them into our own, if we truly accept that they may have as much merit as our own and use them to make ours better, then everybody benefits.
Every great idea that has grown in influence has done this. Those who have employed this strategy have seen their ideas grow wings and soar; those who have battled against the ideas of others have seen their own be buried.
All too often I see a great deal of acceptance on the part of one group of Pagans for another with vastly different ideas but (at best) a begrudging tolerance for the ideas and practices of people from other faith groups. The usual ‘justification’ for this is that those other faith groups offer little to no tolerance for us and sometimes preach the demise of ours. This is kindergarten psychology: I won’t let you play with me because you don’t want me to play with you. It’s the Hatfields and McCoys, an ‘us and them’ way of thinking.
If we employ this strategy, we’ll eventually go down in flames. We’re giving energy to the very people who are trying to put us down and if we continue doing so, we’ll end up unable to grow or even maintain the advancements we’ve seen over the last half-century.
This goes beyond bashing of other religions (every time we bash another religion, we degrade our own) . Every time we fail to see the worth of another’s form of spirituality we pass up a chance to learn. I could make an argument that even those people who attempt to fire up their parishioners to destroy us are worth listening to. Though they love to quote passages from their scripture that they interpret as justification for our demise, their brand of religion nevertheless has a place in our society.
A few years ago, I was sent to a Protestant church to listen in on their preacher’s sermon. It was thought that this man was actively trying to rid the community of the local Pagan group’s presence by firing up his parishioners so they would commit vicious acts on the members and property of the Pagan group. They sent me because I wasn’t immediately identifiable to the people of that church as part of the Pagan group.
I sat in the pew and listened to the whole service and talked with some of the parishioners afterwards with an ear tuned for the worst. Although I didn’t find any direct reference to the local Pagan group, what I came away with was disturbing enough. Their way of seeing the world (and those who didn’t believe as they did) was downright frightening.
I left feeling ‘unclean’ somehow. Just that one visit was enough to give me (literally) nightmares for months to come! Now, several years later, I’ve come to see how it all worked out.
The Pagan group didn’t respond to these people as if they were a threat, even when someone decided to desecrate their outdoor circle and they (some of the townspeople who were part of the Protestant church) even tried to work politically to keep the Pagans from holding their meetings.
The leader of the Pagan group kept his group in the public’s eye, always seeking ways to let the non-Pagans know that they were not the demons the preacher in that church warned them against. Now, even the preacher recognizes that the Pagans ‘haven’t been too bad’ for the town. It may not be a resounding tribute, but it certainly isn’t the flaming militant opposition that he preached before.
I also have found a better understanding. The priest of that Pagan group was a lot smarter about the whole matter than I was. My response to the ideas and words of the Protestant church’s preacher and parishioners was a knee-jerk, fight-or-flight reaction, fueled by a biased viewpoint that was looking for problems. And, because I was looking for a threat, I found it there.
I wonder sometimes if I was sent there to learn that lesson. I had served as a representative to an interfaith council before that and had never once thought of any of the other faiths’ representatives as a threat. In fact, odd as it may seem, I actually was threatened during that time by another Pagan group because I was on the council!
Acceptance, even celebration of the differences among us is often difficult, especially if we feel threatened by those differences. Threats generate fear, and fear is the opposite of love (that’s right, hate is not love’s opposite; fear is) . When we fear, our capacity to love goes out the window. We see and hear things in a different way and our interpretations of what we experience are skewed to finding demons everywhere. And, guess what: by giving energy to our fears, we make our world into one filled with demons.
The cure... the only cure is to love those things that have made us afraid. Love and fear can’t occupy the same space. We don’t love by feeling sympathy for something or tolerating it; we love by making it a valued part of us, by accepting it.
So to hell with tolerance; be intolerant of tolerance! Recognize the value of the differences around you. Accept that they are valuable even if they promote something that could be interpreted as a threat to your own way of believing and behaving. If nothing else, they have made you more cautious and circumspect. They may even have made your way of being more energized. If you learn how to accept the differences of others you will strengthen your own spirit; not just make it more powerful, but also give it true strength.
Most people find strength through their religion. If you’re lucky, you find the religion that is truly right for you. Some religions are right for some people and not others; no religion is right for everybody. Our spirituality isn’t right for some people. If they fear us, they will see demons in us. If we fear them, we will create demons in our world as well. If they try to threaten us, love them back… if nothing else, it’ll confuse the heck out of them!
And while they’re standing around trying to figure it all out, maybe… just maybe some sort of acceptance can happen for everybody.
* Tolerance: 1: capacity to endure pain or hardship: ENDURANCE, FORTITUDE, STAMINA
2 a: sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own b: the act of allowing something: TOLERATION
3: the allowable deviation from a standard; especially: the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece -- (From Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary, 2003, v 3.0)
Copyright: (c) 2008 by Blacksun
Location: Everett, Washington
Other Articles: Blacksun95 has posted 2 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Blacksun95... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).