A More Tolerant Society for a Peaceful World | November 11, 2009

In His wisdom God made a world of tremendous diversity. The creatures of the sea range from the gigantic whales and the tiny plankton. We have the towering redwoods and the lichen whose structure is barely discernible. Existing in their natural habitats are the huge elephants and furry animals small enough to fit in the palm of man.

Mankind itself, the crown of God’s creation, comes in all sizes, shapes and color. Not only do we differ in our physical appearance but even more importantly, in elements of our culture. And it is this aspect that contributes to many of our difficulties of relating with one another.

Advances in technology – means of travel and communication, forms of entertainment – and greater migrations have made us know cultures other than our own much more than we used to be able to. We might even live in the same neighborhoods with people coming from backgrounds very different from our own. But these are like a double-edged sword. We see how others are different from us and consequently we see what we like about them, and what we don’t like. Coming into frequent contact with people who are different from us, we have to exercise the virtue of tolerance.

Tolerance is defined in one dictionary as “the acceptance of the differing views of other people, e.g. in religious and political matters, and fairness toward the people who hold these views.” Tolerance can also mean “the act of putting up with somebody or something irritating or otherwise unpleasant.” Of these two nuances of the word, the first is closer to Silsilah’s concept of dialogue.

It is sad to note that as some groups have identified more closely with elements of their culture or ethnicity, these same groups have also become more inward looking, more oriented towards exclusivity, more intolerant of those whose views differ from theirs.

On November 16 this year we celebrate the International Day of Tolerance. As it was said in the announcement, “In an increasingly diverse world, creating a more tolerant society is essential to building peace.” The celebration of the International Day of Tolerance reminds us that we don’t have to look alike, we don’t have to speak the same language, we don’t have to eat the same food, etc. to inhabit this planet together in peace. Let us give space in our planet for all the noble but diverse ideas of man to make this a better world.

We were not all cut from the same mold, for the Good God who made us all chose, in his wisdom, diversity over uniformity.

Praise God for His wisdom!

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