Monday, July 24

The bumper sticker my friend saw

I don't remember where I heard about this one. Possibly it was a friend's LiveJournal post, or it might have been brought up in some conversation. Not that it matters. It's the content I care about here. The bumper sticker said something along the lines of "Tolerance is for those who lack convictions." I heard about it months ago, and it's stuck with me. Not often at the center of my thoughts but always at the fringes. And now I direct my thoughts towards it. Enjoy the ruminations.

I remember my friend treating the sentiment with some disdain, but I'm not so sure I agree. Of course, it is only six words long and more than open to some interpretation so we may see it in different ways, but I find myself agreeing with it in my own way. If you truly and wholly believe something, say "All killing is wrong," can you be tolerant to murder and capital punishment and abortion and the meat industry? I can't see how. To not burn and rave against what you absolutely know and feel is wrong.

I guess the problem is when we mix up people with ideas. Should we fight those ideals we know wholly and totally to be wrong? Yes. Do we fight the people who hold them? No. This gets into another belief I hold. I try very hard to never think, "I wish that person were dead." Death is the end. After that no can ever do any good. Rather, I wish that person would grow into someone better, more charitable or empathetic or whatever. You fight the person, you lose the opportunity to change them. Fight the idea.

Of course, this all hinges on your belief being a true conviction. If you have analyzed the arguments on all sides of the issue, discussioned the matter with both those who disagree and agree, spent time on personal reflection and meditation, know with your reason and feel in your heart and soul that your position is the right one, that is a conviction. Anything less than an absolute belief leaves room for one to be wrong, and open-mindedness is still necessary to find the truth then. I'm getting into rough waters here considering my feelings on my inability to be certain of anything, but that'll have to be ignored for now.

Disregard the previous if you don't believe in absolutes or if you find my reasoning poor.

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