Wednesday, January 14, 2009

To the Moon with Extremist Toleration

Lately I've been exposed to a number of articles just like this one that ooze religious tolerance. Now I'm all for each person being able to seek (or not seek) after God and follow his or her own path of spirituality, but I feel articles like this go too far. They seem to treat different religions as if they were flavors of ice cream; each person has a favorite, but clearly there is no right one that everyone should consume. And just because vanilla is the most popular doesn't mean that it's better than rocky road.

The problem with this hypothesis is that most religions--and most people who hold beliefs--don't treat the belief as if it is something internal to themselves. When they pray to God, most don't do it because they believe it's a form of "positive thinking"; they pray because they believe there is an actual God outside of them that may hear them.

The lesser form of the argument for extremist toleration is that we can't know which religion is right, so all have equal footing. And if religions were just made up of human thoughts trying to make sense of ethics, origins, and the afterlife, I'd wholeheartedly agree. However, many of them claim that real events occurred in real places at real points in time. Either Moses received the Ten Commandments from God or he didn't; either Jesus died on a cross and was resurrected or he didn't; either Muhammad received revelation from Allah or he didn't; either Joseph Smith received the Book of Mormon or he didn't.

Each of these events, and countless others, claim to have occurred in actual space-time, and therefore there is evidence that supports the case or does not. So, given this, it follows that there is one truth among all the stories; one sequence of events that actually happened on planet Earth. My personal research indicates that the events of Christianity are the most likely to have occurred--more likely than they did not. And books have been written to provide evidence for this case. Is it an absolute proof? Of course not. Is it enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt? Maybe. Is it enough that it bears taking note of? Certainly.

As to the actions of Tim Tebow, I respectfully disagree with the author and state it is good for everything. I think it would be good no matter his religion, as it keeps the dialogue open to discuss the evidence behind each one. But I think it is even better because the one he promotes most likely corresponds to the truth. If we as a society stop weighing beliefs against the evidences and only shout "Tolerance!" for all viewpoints, we find ourselves going down the path that must say the Apollo moon landings could be fake, and is a belief just as valid as their happening. After all, it would be exclusionary of us to call the belief of the majority "right".

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