It never fails to amaze me how intolerant subscribers of one particular religious belief can be towards people who subscribe to others. Nowhere is this more obvious than in my workplace.
I'm not going to go into details of what was said but it is sufficient to say that co-worker A, who is a Christian, has a problem with the beliefs of co-worker B, who is a member of the Assemblies of Yahweh. [The Assemblies of Yahweh follow the Jewish holidays and keep the Jewish Sabbath. They eat a kosher diet and the women wear coverings. They concentrate on the old testament of the bible but I believe they do use the entire thing.]
I find the whole situation absurd, to be honest. It's clear to me that co-worker A's real issue is that co-worker B's beliefs are different from what she is familiar with. They are foreign enough to her that she finds them ridiculous and complains - when out of earshot of co-worker B - that she doesn't even understand why she follows some of the practices she does. [Um... I'm fairly certain that it's because they are supposedly handed down by god and written in that book she follows. You know... the same one co-worker A uses?]
This is one of the problems I have with religion. Members of one particular belief think that their religion is the right one. Therefore, people who practice other religions are, by definition, wrong. Not only that but they're different! They have traditions based on ridiculous stories - as if angels, devils, heaven and hell, virgin births, resurrections and such are any more believable.
One man's theology is another man's belly laugh. - Robert A HeinleinThe point is that once you start highlighting the differences between your group and another group - and add in a belief that your group is special or "chosen"- you are looking at the same dynamic that allowed Nazi Germany to come into power. Or the Taliban.
How many wars or acts of violence today can be blamed on religious differences between the parties involved?
Religious belief is just one more reason that people use to discriminate against each other. You'd think that human beings would have outgrown this sort of behavior by now, wouldn't you?
Image courtesy of NASA