2022 has been and interesting year. This post is worth a revisit and an edit.
The time between 2016 to 2022 has shown that not much has changed. If anything, we have become less tolerant and less accepting of differences. In fact, our world is changing at a pace that most of us couldn’t have anticipated 6 years ago. If we don’t take the situation seriously, our children and grandchildren will be fighting a world event that makes Afghanistan look like Kindergarten. It all boils down to a lack of consideration for one and other, whether it is political, religious, gender-related, or just bigoted.
There have been moments in the last year when it has taken more intestinal fortitude to keep my teeth together and my fingers off the keyboard than I sometimes give myself credit for. My father would have paved a path of verbal destruction. If it wasn’t for the ability to walk away from the keyboard, I am sure that I would have followed suit. When it gets to the point where I am going to give into temptation, I hear my mother in my head “Don’t have a battle of wits with the unarmed or uninformed”.
I have spent the last year listening to my friends, family and colleagues espouse Christian virtues without any consideration for the others that read ‘their posts’ or share their beliefs. There is no one way. There are more belief systems out in the world than we are often willing to acknowledge.
In my case, my ancestors ancestors weren’t always Christians. In fact, they were recent and conscripted to the practice. I am the equivalent of Heinz 57: In order of genetic makeup, I am Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Norman, English, Scandinavian, Iberian, and Polynesian.
I was raised Roman Catholic back in the day when ‘Christian’ was not a global term or even a common religious descriptor: one was either a member of the Roman Catholic church, which acknowledged the Pope as its leader, or a member of one of the Protestant churches, which did not. I was raised Catholic not Christian. It matters.
I grew up in a town where you could be despised because your parents were immigrants who didn’t speak English or if you were just plain, to misquote Yogi Bear, ‘not smarter than the average bear’. We reflected our adults, who, in the main, identified as Catholic, or Christian, and who, on the whole, were so politically incorrect it would make your teeth hurt. My parents were politically incorrect in many ways by today’s standards, but they welcomed everyone into our home and the result was some fairly lively discussions: my siblings and I learned more about the rest of the world’s religions, politics, and opinions in our living room than I have learned since.
My father was a Scottish Roman Catholic and my mother a Scottish Anglican. However, my father used to say ‘I want you to remember that our ancestors were not only Druids (Christianity was forced on them), but many of them worshiped the major Norse, Irish and Scottish deities, and others their tribal gods.” He often pointed out that in the British Isles and Ireland, conflicts arose far more often between tribes than between religions. It wasn’t a popular opinion but he was right. Where we come from matters.
When you consider it de rigueur to treat any member of the human race as if they don’t matter because they aren’t of your religion, political persuasion, family values, or <fill the blank here>, you may be living your personal truth but you are not living your ‘God’s truth’. You’re simply displaying your insecurity. If your faith or belief can be diminished by the knowledge that other people do not believe as you do, you never had any.
Not only do you let the elders of all societies down when you abdicate your willingness to think for yourself, you let down your children and grandchildren. To put it bluntly, you let down every other member of the human race when you refuse to think for yourself. When you let someone else make your decisions, you are not the person that God or the Great Spirit intended you to be: you are merely a mindless puppet, and in the end you will reap what you have sown.
One of the things I will tell you is that my beliefs are mine, full stop. Since they are mine and based on my individual experiences, conclusions, and values, I have no right to force them on your or others. I also believe that others have no right to try to force their beliefs on me. We should all keep our beliefs out of public discourse. Social media isn’t the place for these types of discussion. It should be around the dinner table.
Canada is a cultural and religious mosaic. That mosaic will be impossible to maintain unless we collectively require tolerance and its attendant civility between those who differ, whether about religion, politics or cultural practices. History has taught us this repeatedly. Unfortunately, once again, we appear to stopped listening.
In conclusion, a word to the “Christians” of the sort who wear “WWJD” bracelets while trying to force compliance with their beliefs: forcing others to behave according to your personal interpretation of his words is NOT what he would do. He was a rabbi, not an Inquisitor or a Dictator. His first rule of personal interaction was ‘Treat others the way you wish to be treated’ and his primary behavioural requirement was the doing of practical good, so any “Christian” trying to force their beliefs on others is clearly failing in obedience on both counts and should stop concerning themselves with others until they have their own behaviour in order.