Tag: faith

A Letter Concerning Toleration

I have wanted to post this for a long time. But recently it seems like it’s imperative. It’s not a short read…or an easy one…but it is a damn good read regarding toleration. Why? …Because he’s one of the most conservative religious figures in history…and yet he’s speaking/arguing in favor of tolerance. Not in half-baked ambiguous rhetoric, but using both logical argument as well as biblical verse forms what’s considered one of the renowned arguments in favor of religious tolerance ever. There are of course a few points that arent covered in this letter that are addressed in later discourse, but a lot of the logic is still pretty sound.

A Letter Concerning Toleration

by John Locke (1689)1

john_lockeHonoured Sir,

Since you are pleased to inquire what are my thoughts about the mutual toleration of Christians in their different professions of religion, I must needs answer you freely that I esteem that toleration to be the chief characteristic mark of the true Church. For whatsoever some people boast of the antiquity of places and names, or of the pomp of their outward worship; others, of the reformation of their discipline; all, of the orthodoxy of their faith; for everyone is orthodox to himself; these things, and all others of this nature, are much rather marks of men striving for power and empire over one another than of the Church of Christ. Let anyone have never so true a claim to all these things, yet if he be destitute of charity, meekness, and good-will in general towards all mankind, even to those that are not Christians, he is certainly yet short of being a true Christian himself. “The kings of the Gentiles exercise leadership over them,” said our Saviour to his disciples,” but ye shall not be so.”1 The business of true religion is quite another thing. It is not instituted in order to the erecting of an external pomp, nor to the obtaining of ecclesiastical dominion, nor to the exercising of compulsive force, but to the regulating of men’s lives, according to the rules of virtue and piety. Whosoever will list himself under the banner of Christ, must, in the first place and above all things, make war upon his own lusts and vices. It is in vain for any man to unsurp the name of Christian, without holiness of life, purity of manners, benignity and meekness of spirit. “Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity.”[2] “Thou, when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren,” said our Lord to Peter.3 It would, indeed, be very hard for one that appears careless about his own salvation to persuade me that he were extremely concerned for mine. For it is impossible that those should sincerely and heartily apply themselves to make other people Christians, who have not really embraced the Christian religion in their own hearts. If the Gospel and the apostles may be credited, no man can be a Christian without charity and without that faith which works, not by force, but by love. Now, I appeal to the consciences of those that persecute, torment, destroy, and kill other men upon pretence of religion, whether they do it out of friendship and kindness towards them or no? And I shall then indeed, and not until then, believe they do so, when I shall see those fiery zealots correcting, in the same manner, their friends and familiar acquaintance for the manifest sins they commit against the precepts of the Gospel; when I shall see them persecute with fire and sword the members of their own communion that are tainted with enormous vices and without amendment are in danger of eternal perdition; and when I shall see them thus express their love and desire of the salvation of their souls by the infliction of torments and exercise of all manner of cruelties. For if it be out of a principle of charity, as they pretend, and love to men’s souls that they deprive them of their estates, maim them with corporal punishments, starve and torment them in noisome prisons, and in the end even take away their lives ; I say, if all this be done merely to make men Christians and procure their salvation, why then do they suffer whoredom, fraud, malice, and such-like enormities, which (according to the apostle)4 manifestly relish of heathenish corruption, to predominate so much and abound amongst their flocks and people? These, and such-like things, are certainly more contrary to the glory of God, to the purity of the Church, and to the salvation of souls, than any conscientious dissent from ecclesiastical decisions, or separation from public worship, whilst accompanied with innocence of life. Why, then, does this burning zeal for God, for the Church, and for the salvation of souls ; burning I say, literally, with fire and faggot ; pass by those moral vices and wickednesses, without any chastisement, which are acknowledged by all men to be diametrically opposite to the profession of Christianity, and bend all its nerves either to the introducing of ceremonies, or to the establishment of opinions, which for the most part are about nice and intricate matters, that exceed the capacity of ordinary understandings? Which of the parties contending about these things is in the right, which of them is guilty of schism or heresy, whether those that domineer or those that suffer, will then at last be manifest when the causes of their separation comes to be judged of He, certainly, that follows Christ, embraces His doctrine, and bears His yoke, though he forsake both father and mother, separate from the public assemblies and ceremonies of his country, or whomsoever or whatsoever else he relinquishes, will not then be judged a heretic.

Show 1 footnote

  1. Reviewed from Popple’s translation




Why we need to let go of the hate.

tonytow tony hunt gets angsty

Some things just absolutely tick me off.

For reasons that don’t matter here, my usual stance is that I am an equal opportunity hater to all political parties, lately we have relied on politics to clarify events, rather than vice versa. This sounds really antithetical considering the title of this post, right?

Here is why. We need No More Stupid. We need to think, and be better.

I think we’ve stopped holding ourselves accountable for the results of what we say and why we say it, and more often say what we want without regard to consequence, rather than ensuring what exits our mouths is at least more appealing than fingernails on a chalkboard. This would not be so bad, but this candor is now taken to the streets, because protesting is legal (well it is supposed to be legal anyway.) Protesting is great for making an issue more known, but as last week’s events show…it is now an opportunity to foster fear rather than to enlighten the masses.

All that said, I firmly believe everyone has a right to have confidence, faith, or lack thereof in anyone or anything they please…. until their sentiment presents a danger to or otherwise interrupts others’ access to those same freedoms. Period. This means that if you don’t like someone that is your prerogative, as long as you aren’t running them over with your car, laying in front of their car on a highway, shooting at them, talking down to them, deliberately provoking them, and/or otherwise being a complete asshole to them. At that point, I stop allowing you to affect my life and my loved ones. Period. It is amazing how many good friends stick around when I have these rules, but it’s also pretty sad to see where other convictions are so narrow in scope that they feel it is necessary to provoke others that don’t share a disposition.

Sometimes also it is a harsh disappointment when it is indifference that is the motivator, because indifference is social/moral/ethical cowardice, but I think that will be the topic of another post.

Lately I am seeing some people get violent over racism. I have to admit there is a kneejerk reaction to kick a person in the face upon hearing that they seriously somehow think that any demographic of humans is inherently less deserving of freedom, happiness, respect, and love than any other. But that inclination never stays long, and the urge to high-five them in the face (with a chair maybe) easily turns into a smile and as long as they are not getting in the way of others freedoms, peace be until them. Unfortunately, how things work for me is not happening for many many others, and now far too many people are posturing themselves to promote violence rather than rise above and inform and educate.

I’ll be honest, I don’t really care about statues. Being practical, war monuments will always piss people off. Always. We protect a lot of sick shit in the name of preserving history, but it’s not unilateral and not all offensive to the entire world. I care that the American people are letting themselves be the monster we all hate by fostering hate to fuel the importance of their agenda. Instigating violence

I think it is best stated that in fighting to clarify what is at best a turbulent national identity, we all strive not to redefine our history, and thus doom ourselves to forgetting very important and hard-won lessons in the many wrong choices we have made. Let’s not doom ourselves to repeating histories mistakes by omitting it. So yeah, do whatever with statues. But don’t cry ignorance to historical precedence when people stop having any historical clarity because we’ve sanitized the shit out of our culture in the effort to keep a sensitive subject unspoken and without reminder.




Politicians, Debates and Schrödinger’s Cat

I just thought of something, if politicians were prohibited from alluding to a scenario involving Schrödinger’s Cat -metaphorically or otherwise- it might actually save the world economy a ton of money and time spent in syndication, thus disallowing them to pander fears and ideas that exist only by those same politicians’ own descriptions.
Schrödinger's CatIf you didn’t understand what I said:

    1.Please go find out about Schrödinger’s Cat.
    2.Understand the application of this theory to modern political asshattery in the media.
    3.Watch the debates again.

or as an alternative you can:

Drink more Kool-Aid.

Anyhow, it occurred to me tonight, that buried within most of the rhetoric and banter between candidates in the GOP debates, these guys directly allude to Schrödinger’s Cat in one form or another.

…My example is as follows:

…Pandering to the idea that the cat is dead and might still bite and scratch you…or maybe…the cat’s alive and out to steal your freedom as soon as it’s released. Worse still, the idea that someone actually KNEW there was a cat in the box AND gave it poison. Is that person criminal? How do we charge them?

…you have to remember…no one knows if the poison even affected the cat. Yet…we’re going to allow ourselves to be guided on a crazy journey of how beautiful this poor little cat was and how we wish it were still alive…

…then we’ll be guided into how we’ll hold responsible the horrible man that put that poor cat through such a horrible ordeal.

…then the media will make it worse by sensationalizing the state of the box that poor poor cat was imprisoned in.

…then we find out that some country that we have a some strategic or financial interest in supplied the poison.

…by the time the politicians are finished inspiring us and protecting our national interest in the cat…billions of dollars are allocated and we’re going to stop that country from ever poisoning cats again. Because that’s what they are. Cat killers.

…it gets worse. we are informed that an small extremist group of fanatics (who it so happens don’t even know what a cat is but believe the U.S. to be responsible for all the problems that arose from poison boxes) intend to place cats in boxes across the U.S. and poison them. With a fervor that shakes the world economy and eventually accounts for a truly scary portion of the national deficit, we eliminate and destabilize those horrible cat killers.

In the last ten years since things have become REALLY crazy and scary, the loss of innocent life in the last decade makes me saddens me to the bone, the effect of profiteering at the expense of our economy has sliced my income in half and even then, there are a lot of people here far worse off than I am, and yet the politicians got their salary increase and kept their benefits while the people they likely misrepresent to satisfy special interests and lobbies start to become a little more aware of the practice.

…and now comes the time where we have the opportunity to decide on which leader will be most capable in making sure the box is never opened again, the poison is never produced again, and the cats never die.

After repeatedly making laws that serve the big business and the financial block, we begin to realize that we have far more to fear and distrust in those who represent us in the government. All the candidates are either viewed as proven failures, proven liars, proven crooks, proven loons, even worse…proven inexperience.

…debates rage between potential leaders regarding the dead cat, the unclean box, and looming threat of yet another poison.

…we are told we have to remember what’s happened historically with cats, boxes, and poisons, and that the party that wants to make antidotes for the poison just in case isn’t a priority because the cats all of a sudden are jumping into boxes. Worse still, we’ve found out that a nation that hasn’t attacked another nation in hundreds of years suddenly hates Geiger counters.

And so the debates are still going now. They are getting more and more poignant and the candidates are fighting already, the tasteless commercials depicting candidates as faithless lunatic crooks are in full swing. Again, we begin to loose faith as we realize that the current electoral, media coverage, and campaign system will not allow the US to rally behind a single leader ever again…even if they deserve it.

The worst thing of all. For the last umpteen years, we’ve had to listen to politicians earning a living and invariably stressing information about a cat that never existed, a box that we never owned, a poison that actually was never created, and lastly a Geiger counter that was never really necessary.

Maybe you’ll get it. This isn’t about which GOP candidate can beat Obama in an election (if that’s even possible coming election time). This isn’t about all the dirt you see in commercials and advertizements. It’s not about who’s got some truly radical ideas (in every sense of the word).

I think it’s more about your own priorities after you’ve managed to filter out all the crap they’ve been feeding you about the idea of Schrödinger’s Cat.

Thus ends my rant for the evening.

For everyone returning to my site after everyone on the internet got a 12-24 hour taste of what kind of effect SOPA/PIPA will have on the US-based netizens, you can find a VERY clear and descriptive article on what SOPA and PIPA are on Wikipedia. So far the very best (and maybe the most objective) description of what the bill is about.

Take care and good night.

-Tony

PS – Ignoring the lines starting with … will serve as a shining example of what I was trying to point out.