Friday, April 20, 2012

A-Z: Give Me that Old-Time Religious Tolerance

What?! Religious tolerance isn't an Old-Time value?! I am shocked, shocked! (Plus a little bit jazzed because I got to use an interrobang in the first two sentences.)
The symbols of fourteen religions are shown. Clockwise from the North Pole, they are: 
Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, Wicca and some other Neopagan religions, Zoroastrianism, and Druidism.
IMO, religious tolerance is a heavenly pretty good idea, as our world becomes ever more filled with people who live and worship differently than we do. And if you hear about other religions and want to learn more, without having peeps in starched shirts knocking at your door (not that there's anything wrong with that), Religious Tolerance, the website, is a good place to start.

That's why Religious Tolerance is one of:
My 26 Favorite Ways to Piss Away Time Do Valuable Research on the Interwebs.
Want to see how long till TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) according to some interpretations of Mayan prophecy? We got your countdown timer right here!

(Call me a skeptic, I'm still making plans for New Year's Eve, 2012.)

Okay, back on point. The site is rich with information, essays (over 6,000), hot topics, forums, and religious news.  A good place to start is their Is this your first visit? page. A short excerpt of the viewpoint of the Canadian and American creators/volunteers who operate this site:
Some folks, particularly religious conservatives define "religious tolerance" as the belief that all religions are equally true, valid, and equally beneficial to the culture. We define the term differently: to be tolerant is to follow the Ethic of Reciprocity, a.k.a. the Golden Rule. That involves working towards a culture in which every person should be able to:
  • Follow their own religious beliefs, as long as they do not harm others;
  • Enjoy freedom of religious belief, speech and assembly, without discrimination or oppression
  • Change their religion if the wish, and
  • Make non-harassing, non-manipulative and on-coercive attempts to convert others.

We all have our own prejudices and upbringing as to what is "right" and what is "wrong" about religion and spiritual practices. Often, people with strong religious views wear their opinions on their sleeves. (Perhaps that should be, as their sleeves.)

When someone presents a religious view that is different from our own, we often have preconceived ideas about it, based on rumor, media presentation, or perhaps even from the representatives of that belief system, themselves. This site offers many answers to FAQ's about different religions.

Every time I visit, I find some belief system I had never even heard of. Druze. Ifa. The Creativity Movement. (Which sounded cool and kind of writer-ly until I clicked on the link and found it's basically white supremicism registered as a church/religion.)

Even if you think you're well-versed in your own belief (or disbelief) system, it may be worth a visit to see if there's anything about it you did not know. And for a writer attempting to portray people of various religious backgrounds, Religious Tolerance offers an invaluable starting place. (Note: there's a lot of pop-up ads, which can be rather annoying, but a site this big that gives content for free has to pay for itself, somehow.)

My A-Z theme is My 26 Favorite Ways to Piss Away Time Do Valuable Research on the Interwebs.

Truly, sometimes an idea from a "pointless" fun site or post or photograph does result in pages and pages of writing. Or at least a blog post or two.

Have you visited the Religious Tolerance site?
Do you think TEOTWAWKI is coming in December 2012?
Got other fun sites beginning with the letter "R"?
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