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Tolerance: Historical Account

Updated on December 28, 2014

Biography

My personal faith has been challenged more than once. I've been fired from jobs, kicked out of Church, been spat on, told I was going to Hell (on more than one occasion) by family members, and nearly kicked out of my college that I was attending. That is the basis of this lesson. I received an urgent letter telling me to get "Psychiatric Help" or I would be expelled from school. This wasn't a religious school. This was a State school with the edict of "no discrimination based on sex, color, race, religion...etc." So, how was I the target of discrimination based on my faith? The letter warned me about practicing my "faith" during school, and how those "practices" were scaring some of the girls in my class. Which class? Which girls? How was my faith somehow the concern of girls that I had no interaction with? The answer here, is fear.

Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel, by Lucas van Valckenborch, 1594, Louvre Museum
Tower of Babel, by Lucas van Valckenborch, 1594, Louvre Museum | Source
The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1563)
The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1563) | Source
Engraving The Confusion of Tongues by Gustave Doré (1865)
Engraving The Confusion of Tongues by Gustave Doré (1865) | Source

Source of Intolerance

Fear, fear, fear. There are origins to intolerance. There's a universal story that rings true for Christians. The Tower of Babel. It can be found in the Bible, and other religious works. It's the story of united humanity, building a tower to God. But God didn't like that, and made them all speak different languages. Once they could no longer communicate, they gave up on their tower and their city.

They same rings true today. While my religion promotes a path of peace and goodness, I'm constantly told that my beliefs are far from "God's teachings." The paths are the same. I just call it Paganism to your Christianity. For us all spouting the teachings good lives, what does it matter if I, or you, follow the same doctrine? If all we are is speaking different languages, why are certain paths more acceptable than others?

So, what happened to these Babylonians? Some say that they just scattered to the winds, others tell of a different story:

"According to another mysterious Kabbalistic account, one third of the Tower builders were punished by being transformed into semi-demonic creatures and banished into three parallel dimensions, inhabited now by their descendants." (The Inhabitants of the Seven Earths - Vol. 1 - Legends of the Jews - Louis Ginzberg". Classiclit.about.com. 2011-03-25.)

The promise of Hell. A Christian classic. Step one toe out of line and you burn. So, why does this fear exist? Fear of the unknown? Fear of burning? Humans are made to feel fear. It's how the "demons control us." It's an old attage. I've heard it for years. That I'm tempted by Satan. But it's not for me that they're concerned, more for themselves. If I don't burn, what does that say for their own faith? It can't be wrong, can it?

Ten Commandments Vs. Georgia Guidestones

This 1768 parchment (612×502 mm) by Jekuthiel Sofer emulated the 1675 Ten Commandments at the Amsterdam Esnoga synagogue.[1]
This 1768 parchment (612×502 mm) by Jekuthiel Sofer emulated the 1675 Ten Commandments at the Amsterdam Esnoga synagogue.[1] | Source
Georgia Guidestones, Wikimedia Commons, own work
Georgia Guidestones, Wikimedia Commons, own work | Source
Graffiti on Guidestones, Wikimedia Commons, own work
Graffiti on Guidestones, Wikimedia Commons, own work | Source

Carving Stones: What is the right path?

Back in the day, every Bible student knew of the Ten Commandments. They're still a big deal, a list of good deeds to live a life full of Christ's teachings. The story goes that one day God ordered Moses to climb a mountain and there would be three stone slabs with laws that God had written out for His people. The Ten Commandments are as follows:

I: I am the Lord, your God.

II: No gods before me.

III: No idols in God's image or another image.

IV: Can't take the Lord's name in vain.

V: No work on Sunday. Keep it Holy.

VI: Honor your Mother and Father.

VII: Can't kill.

VIII: Can't commit adultery.

IX: Can't steal.

X: Can't be jealous of others.

Let's compare these acts of good faith to a newer slab of commandments known as the Georgia Guidestones. The Georgia Guidestones were erected in 1979 by a group of people using the synonym R.C. Christian. Reaching 19 feet and weighing approximately 237,746 pounds, it's often referred to as America's Stonehenge. There are four major stones, pointing to the cardinal points, (North, East, South, West) around a fifth circular pillar. These stones were written in eight different languages. English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Mandarin and Russian. These stones read as:

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

No one, historically, can prove that Moses or the ten commandments are fact. This might be another nice lesson born from an era of no direction. But the Guidestones do stand. They are not tolerated by the Christian community. They are seen as evil. But why? Do these stones teach a doctrine outside of the Christian faith? Does it shatter a Christian's belief in one true God? Or is this another lesson in tolerance? That no one has the ability to resurrect passages of goodness and peace other than God HImself?

Wikipedia had this to say about the Guidestones conspiracy theory:

"The Guidestones have become a subject of interest for conspiracy theorists. One of them, an activist named Mark Dice, demanded that the Guidestones "be smashed into a million pieces, and then the rubble used for a construction project",[9] claiming that the Guidestones are of "a deep Satanic origin", and that R. C. Christian belongs to "a Luciferian secret society" related to the New World Order.[2] At the unveiling of the monument, a local minister proclaimed that he believed the monument was "for sun worshipers, for cult worship and for devil worship".[6]

The Guidestones themselves have this to say, "Let these be guidestones to an Age of Reason." And Moses, with his teachings of love and worship, seeing burning bushes and parting the red sea (which historically can't be proven), is seen as a Saint. While the Guidestones are seen as blasphemy, cult worship. To me, the stones are a symbol of hope. The very same hope that I think Moses was trying to instill in the Jews. Trying to set up the coming generation with a path in the right direction.

If Moses Were Alive

If Moses were alive today, would you think he was...

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How Do We Combat Intolerance

The best thing you can do is try to overcome it. Always with Intolerance, it's up to the individual themselves to combat it. Think of Intolerance like a bully. You can't always rationalize with someone who just wants to kick the crap out of you to get at your twinkie. Some people just want that daily confirmation that the path they're on is the right path.

But you have to be right too, you have to have faith that your path can't be moved or shaken by someone else's beliefs. I did go to my mandated therapy and finished school with a BA in English. We play parts, in this life. The Fool, one day, The Hierophant another. Or even the High Priestess. Like the Tower of Babel, and the Guidestones, we're all trying to find that common ground with each other. For most people, it's enough that you have faith.

The next time you want to write that comment to that religious nut, or that crazy witch, think about what you're really asking them to do. Are you being tolerant of their beliefs? Or are you trying to strengthen your beliefs by trying to destroy theirs?




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    • jacope profile image

      Jody Cope 

      5 years ago from Missoula, MT

      Sadly, it seems that tolerance is something a large majority of people have no clue about. Sometimes I wonder if people ever realize how intolerant they really are.

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