Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tolerance by Nannette Croce

We are a very diverse group we YOG women, not to mention our guests. Not long ago we had an e-mail conversation, our equivalent of the water cooler, where we discussed our varied beliefs or lack there of. Angie and I represented the two ends of the spectrum, she with her strong faith and I with my atheism. Kat and Barb were somewhere in between.

What a joy it was to discuss our differences openly and honestly with no fear of rejection.

I mentioned at the time that I don’t broadcast my atheism very often. Not because I’m ashamed––I come from a proud tradition of political thinkers––but because I don’t like being linked with those atheists who see themselves as the sole voice of reason and condemn anyone who does not agree.

What I despise is proselytizing and intolerance by anyone. To me believing or not believing or what you believe in is a matter of choice. If it brings comfort or, better yet, encourages someone to reach a hand out to others, faith is a good thing. If it closes minds and creates enemies, it’s a bad thing.

I have known highly moral individuals on both ends of the spectrum and am aware that historically both faith and atheism have been used to excuse inhumane behavior. However, if our little group is indicative, and I believe it is, tolerance generally trumps intolerance, no matter what the media tries to tell us. On an individual basis we accept differences more than disdain them, and often acceptance of one individual multiplies into an acceptance of an entire group.

I am grateful for the friends and acquaintances who accept me for my acts and deeds rather than my beliefs.


Barbara Quinn said...

Accept you? Heck I embrace you and hold you so tightly I don't know how you can breathe... Great post.

Angie Ledbetter said...

I believe we will be judged and/or accepted by our acts more than our labels.

Loved the post, Nan. And I'm proud always to call you friend. (Think of that old Sweet Baby James tune, You've Got a Friend.") ;)

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