Tag: Religion

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

Listen to yourselves sometimes…

Dear Close-Minded Woman that pissed me off this week,

Perception is reality. 22% of the worlds population believes in Islam. It’s the worship of a single deity, with that deity’s word outlined in the Qur’an, and the teachings of a prophet named Mohammed. I could just as easily compare it to the Bible, God, and Moses just like my buddy did, and be quite satisfied in being correct…at least until we get into a more detailed description of the religion.

SO…maybe…just maybe…the next time someone greets you with a blessing you should be gracious enough not to act like someone just put a hex on you.

There is this knee-jerk reaction people have when engaging religions not their own that is usually uninformed, uneducated, and almost purely instinctual…almost fight or flight. That is explainable. The possibility that one may be right and the other wrong triggers a fight or flight reaction, most of the time verbally where a person spouts off whatever they can come up with in a few seconds and hide behind their faith in the argument…or worse. When in reality (personally I think religion is a horrible burden on spirituality, being now a tool for business and politic), they are both mutually destructive to one another and will continue to teach at least a small portion of their congregation that the other is the evil one.

The only end to this was to remove religious rule, and we did it.

What scares me most is that some people actually think that adapting the US government into any degree of Christian theocracy would actually protect us.

Separation of Church and State protects us. It has allowed our country to flourish where many other nations have fallen or been turned over in civil war nightmares. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ….” and Article VI specifies that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

I completely understand feeling threatened by belief systems other than your own. I actually understand the feeling more than most. I just don’t understand the need to attack others beliefs to justify your own. Disproving someone else’s religion doesn’t make you right, it makes you a judge where none is necessary.


NO…I am NOT a Muslim. I just cant stand religious bullies.

Ever wonder…

…what would happen if scary people you very purposefully had avoided and since forgotten came back a-knocking? I mean we’re not talking about people you simply don’t like. We’re talking about people who by action and word in your childhood truly defined the baseline for moral and ethical fortitude…

…by failing at it so many times you had to run away from your own mother so she would realize how important it was that you both get the hell away from an abusive asshat.

I don’t “dwell” on this in the least. People (who quite obviously don’t know me from Adam) however seem to have misinterpreted a bit and assumed that my verbose nature when relating to events in my past indicates “dwelling”. To be clear, I obsessively am inclined to write. If I am so inclined to write about my past, present, future, or whatever else, so be it… but this evening, it will be about some truly influential people in my childhood. They get the benefit of my attention and prose 😉

You see, not too long ago, my mother’s ex-husband got himself into trouble…quite repeatedly, and we’re not talking about speeding tickets and jay-walking. We’re talking violation of probation, DUI, attempted manslaughter of a police officer…the list goes on, and that’s only the most recent stuff. My mom hooked me up with some links to his recent activity and woooow. Seems the asshat managed to surpass himself. I blogged about it here at this LINK

Below is a response and some explanation and background on why the discussion occurred and why I felt inclined to respond. I will cook my famous spaghetti for the first person to what I am trying to point out from all this.

# Teresa Spears says:
February 12th, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Maybe you and your Mom should think about praying for Joe rather than slandering his name. I am truly sorry for anything you had to go through as well as your Mom but just as you have problems that you live with apparently, don’t you believe that others may have issues that they live with also. Don’t harbor bad feelings it will only harm you in the end.




…pardon me for a moment…I am trying to keep this clean…but it isnt going to work very well.

Telling us to pray instead of slander. I do pray. I pray every night that no one is ever subject to religious intolerance and prejudice. Every morning I wake and hope that no one must ever lose sleep to religious ignorance…and I don’t hold these prayers like secrets that others should ever hear…I make those prayers my reality, and I am a far cry from being alone in this. As far as I am concerned, my prayers are most often answered.

Do not feel sorry for me, I live well and within my means, am surrounded by friends I could never part with (and I been offered alot to do just that) and my relationship with my family is probably better than it’s ever been.

Again…my prayers are most often answered.

I don’t wish anyone harm, but justice must also be observed, and Joe is in dire need of quite a bit of it.

You’ve mistaken our range of suffering, as well as our depth of forgiveness. If we hadn’t forgiven him…he’d never have had the opportunities he saw fit to exploit in the last few years. Like kidnapping, attempted man-slaughter, assault (multiple)…and that’s AFTER we got the hell out…doesn’t even touch upon what he put my other and I through. Now on that note…to be clear…

He’s long since forgiven AND forgotten (at least for me, I wish I could say as much for my mom)…but don’t ever presume that we should present him one iota of respect…ever.

A little word from my mother…

# Liz Vallee-Martinez says:
February 13th, 2009 at 8:31 am

Well, the evil-doer had two Teresas in his life. Both of them his sisters. I know, I know, two sisters both named Teresa?! Just another indication of the backwoods ignorance flowing through this family. Poor, poor Joe. Forced to live the life of a violent degenerate because he suffered as a child. Yes, Teresa, we pray for him. Mostly, we pray for anyone who is forced to encounter him. I used to think he was this wonderful man who suffered from depression and alcoholism. It took thirteen years for me to learn that the alcohol and drugs just made him stupid. Sober, he was a smart criminal, but still a criminal. Violent, abusive, dishonest, and a danger to any child he comes within spitting distance of. I pray that he spends the remainder of his life in prison. You and your family will be safer for it. If I could talk to Adam’s mother (Adam is the child Joe kiddnapped) I would tell her to sell everything, change her and Adam’s name, and get as far away from Oklahoma as she can. Although, I don’t think anyplace is really far away enough. I am so thankful that I had no children with this devil. Joe Martinez isn’t fit to lick the boots worn by Tony’s father. That’s mean, you say! No, mean is what Tony and I suffered through in the name of marriage and family. I will never forgive myself for bringing this animal into my sons life. And I am so proud that through it all, he became the wonderful man we all know and who his father is now beginning to discover.

Below I’ve included some items of advice, and observance. Lets see who’s getting that spaghetti 😉
1. Read disclaimer on this website.1
2. You jumped the gun…again…and assume you’re in the right.2
3. Stop slandering the word slander…this word does not mean what you think it means.3

Show 3 footnotes

  1. DISCLAIMER: These are my opinions. They represent my views,most often my perspective, and my own angst against everything ignorant in this world. I am not Hemingway, I am one little Italian guy sitting in his living room writing for his own enjoyment, expression etc. If you don’t like what you see or read here, don’t come to the site. Thanks! -Tony Hunt
  2. This lady once seriously tried to exorcise me and burned all my DnD books because she felt they were Satanic. Woman, you have no idea how much of an impact THAT move had on me 😉
  3. In order for it to be slander, it has to be false and defamatory. Since we already have a very clear idea and track record for this person, it would be impossible to further tarnish the proven reputation of a convicted criminal, or alter said reputation by inferring he’s committed more crimes (which he has…it’s true). Nothing referenced here isn’t already documented and sworn public record…i.e. – proven not false.