Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thoughts on Tolerance

The dictionary defines tolerance as 'a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc.,differ from one's own'. Now imagine using its verb form in a sentence- for example, I can tolerate you. Meaning, your presence is a nuisance, but yes, I can still live with it. It doesn't sound nice to me, because you are merely willing to tolerate me, not accept me for who I am. I could be black, white, brown, or yellow; gay or straight; Christian, Hindu, Muslim, agnostic, or even atheist...You wouldn't be able to empathize with me, you wouldn't agree with my views and we wouldn't meet eye to eye, but you can still put up with me, and we could at least agree to disagree. And yet, today, being able to tolerate is the least that we can do. Sure, if we could put aside all our differences, and move from mere 'tolerance to acceptance to (even better) celebration of differences', we would be living in utopia. But somewhat ironically, it seems as if we have even lost this ability to tolerate. While the human race, supposedly progressive, should be moving forward from tolerance to the highest form of celebration, it appears to me that we are actually regressing.

Why do I sound so pessimistic? Well, it's got to do with the release of the trailer of a movie titled Innocence of Muslims, released a few days ago on Youtube. The director of the movie went by the name of Sam Bacile, allegedly an Egyptian American although he claimed to be Israeli-American. There are several rumours about the actual identity of this director, but I don't think none has hitherto been proved true.Well, the nationality or the religion of the director doesn't matter so much (at least to me) more than the fact that this film has been made with the sole purpose to enrage, infuriate the faithful. It was built on the ugliness of hate. As simple as that. He neither apologized nor felt much remorse for what he did. On the contrary, he still believes in his mission, and that is what disgusts me.

I genuinely find it difficult to believe that a person could actually have so much hate for someone, just because they happen to follow a different religion! And really, is religion even something over which we should fight? I agree that organised religion is more about an identity, a feeling of belonging to a particular group united by common beliefs and practices, influenced by cultural norms, and it is not just about God. However, isn't God still the centre of every religion? And after all, isn't God the same, no matter what name you call Him by? I remember as a child I was confused over whether I should call Him Krishna, like my parents, or Jesus, like Sister Sheeba who taught me math in primary school. As an answer to this confusion, Appa used an analogy- A lady has many roles to play in her life. She is a daughter, a mother, a sister, and a wife. Accordingly, different people call her by different names, but no matter what name is used, the lady remains the same. In the same way, God is the same, no matter what name you use. Well you may or may not agree with me over this. After all, if you cannot see my point, you still have your God, and I still have mine. I simply fail to see why there should be so much hatred towards someone whose view of God happens to differ from yours.

To be fair, the reactions to this video are also quite disturbing. Protests and riots, mostly across the Middle East, resulted in injury, and sometimes even death. While it is true that the religious sentiments of many have been hurt, is violence of this nature the solution to the issue? It saddens me to think that we have foolish hate-spewers like Bacile or whoever he is on the one hand, and then we also have people who react impulsively, fuelled by anger and no surprise, hate again. The wise ones told us a long time ago that hate begets only hate. And yet we don't learn. When did we become so hateful?

4 comments:

  1. Hey,
    Congratulations.
    You have been awarded "The Versatile Blogger Award".
    Click on the link for more details.

    Take Care. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Krishna!

    I kinda stumbled upon your blog via Dhanya's blog where she wrote a post about self identity as a result of your own post on self identity. I have to say; I am very much digging your blog. I like how it has a style that really connects with me. And most importantly, I like the content that you write about.
    Thank you:D
    Looking forward to reading more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hakeem!
      Welcome to my blog! So glad to hear from you :) Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my posts; it does mean a lot to me. :)

      Delete

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thoughts on Tolerance

The dictionary defines tolerance as 'a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc.,differ from one's own'. Now imagine using its verb form in a sentence- for example, I can tolerate you. Meaning, your presence is a nuisance, but yes, I can still live with it. It doesn't sound nice to me, because you are merely willing to tolerate me, not accept me for who I am. I could be black, white, brown, or yellow; gay or straight; Christian, Hindu, Muslim, agnostic, or even atheist...You wouldn't be able to empathize with me, you wouldn't agree with my views and we wouldn't meet eye to eye, but you can still put up with me, and we could at least agree to disagree. And yet, today, being able to tolerate is the least that we can do. Sure, if we could put aside all our differences, and move from mere 'tolerance to acceptance to (even better) celebration of differences', we would be living in utopia. But somewhat ironically, it seems as if we have even lost this ability to tolerate. While the human race, supposedly progressive, should be moving forward from tolerance to the highest form of celebration, it appears to me that we are actually regressing.

Why do I sound so pessimistic? Well, it's got to do with the release of the trailer of a movie titled Innocence of Muslims, released a few days ago on Youtube. The director of the movie went by the name of Sam Bacile, allegedly an Egyptian American although he claimed to be Israeli-American. There are several rumours about the actual identity of this director, but I don't think none has hitherto been proved true.Well, the nationality or the religion of the director doesn't matter so much (at least to me) more than the fact that this film has been made with the sole purpose to enrage, infuriate the faithful. It was built on the ugliness of hate. As simple as that. He neither apologized nor felt much remorse for what he did. On the contrary, he still believes in his mission, and that is what disgusts me.

I genuinely find it difficult to believe that a person could actually have so much hate for someone, just because they happen to follow a different religion! And really, is religion even something over which we should fight? I agree that organised religion is more about an identity, a feeling of belonging to a particular group united by common beliefs and practices, influenced by cultural norms, and it is not just about God. However, isn't God still the centre of every religion? And after all, isn't God the same, no matter what name you call Him by? I remember as a child I was confused over whether I should call Him Krishna, like my parents, or Jesus, like Sister Sheeba who taught me math in primary school. As an answer to this confusion, Appa used an analogy- A lady has many roles to play in her life. She is a daughter, a mother, a sister, and a wife. Accordingly, different people call her by different names, but no matter what name is used, the lady remains the same. In the same way, God is the same, no matter what name you use. Well you may or may not agree with me over this. After all, if you cannot see my point, you still have your God, and I still have mine. I simply fail to see why there should be so much hatred towards someone whose view of God happens to differ from yours.

To be fair, the reactions to this video are also quite disturbing. Protests and riots, mostly across the Middle East, resulted in injury, and sometimes even death. While it is true that the religious sentiments of many have been hurt, is violence of this nature the solution to the issue? It saddens me to think that we have foolish hate-spewers like Bacile or whoever he is on the one hand, and then we also have people who react impulsively, fuelled by anger and no surprise, hate again. The wise ones told us a long time ago that hate begets only hate. And yet we don't learn. When did we become so hateful?

4 comments:

  1. Hey,
    Congratulations.
    You have been awarded "The Versatile Blogger Award".
    Click on the link for more details.

    Take Care. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Krishna!

    I kinda stumbled upon your blog via Dhanya's blog where she wrote a post about self identity as a result of your own post on self identity. I have to say; I am very much digging your blog. I like how it has a style that really connects with me. And most importantly, I like the content that you write about.
    Thank you:D
    Looking forward to reading more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hakeem!
      Welcome to my blog! So glad to hear from you :) Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my posts; it does mean a lot to me. :)

      Delete