When Did We Stop Being Tolerant?

The last thing that made me mad? That’s a no-brainer: When a friend did everything he could to trivialize my beliefs about spirituality and religion. 

Now would be a good time to make it clear that I come from an Islamic country (Pakistan), although a majority of the Muslim population here are simply ‘cultural’ Muslims (but take no time turning into the pious momin when they want to comment on someone’s lifestyle which seems unfitting for their version of Islam).

Yes, we are all entitled to our belief and we don’t have to agree with each other. But does that mean we have the right to trivialize someone else’s faith? I would think not. 

I am not religious; I consider myself spiritual (something I discovered quite recently, but more on that later). I do believe in God, but not in the God most of my Muslim friends and the majority of Pakistani Muslims seem to believe in. I really don’t think God is sitting up there racking his brain trying to figure out new ways to unleash his wrath on all the unbelievers. Nor do I believe that God would disown me if I didn’t dress “appropriately”, or had a tattoo, or loved someone from the same sex. I wouldn’t want to believe in such a superficial, sexist, and unbelievably unreasonable God. 

This friend of mine, however, has different views. He seems to believe in such a God, and seems quite adamant to impose his beliefs on those who hold a different opinion, and if he can’t succeed there then he will try his incompetent best to belittle the other person by ridiculing and trivializing their values and beliefs.

He is entitled believe in whatever he wants. But so am I. And I should be able to do just that, without the fear of others trivializing my faith. That is completely unacceptable, is it not? 

I like nothing more than an intelligent, thought-provoking debate on (quite) controversial topics such as God, spirituality and feminism. But the difference is, whenever I have had these debates with friends or family, I always found myself to be the only one willing to keep an open mind and explore all avenues, while the other party was hell-bent on trying to shove their beliefs down my throat. 

I have no stead-fast rules on God or faith-which is one of the reasons why I really hesitate in introducing myself as a religious person because, frankly, all they seem to be is stubbornly, and quite stupidly, might I add, stuck on a view with no intention of budging even slightly. 

It will never cease to amaze me how, in the society I come from, people refuse to even try to look at anything-especially something as sensitive as religion and God- from another point of view, but will never fail to avail an opportunity to ridicule, mock and-most infuriating of all, trivialize the beliefs of anyone which is dissimilar to their own. These are intolerant, narrow-minded bigots who claim to be the followers of one of the most humane and tolerant religions in the world. I know many of you might not agree with the statement about Islam-I didn’t either, until recently- but I will hopefully put up another post soon related to this.  

The cliche live and let live has never seemed more apt.

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