SONGSOPTOK: To what extent do you practice ‘religious tolerance’? Since when (how long ago)?

STEPHEN STONE:    First, allow me to express my appreciation to Songsoptok for this opportunity. My name is Stephen Stone. I am a forty-eight year old man, currently living in the United States. Professionally, I am a manufacturing mechanic and plumber, while privately, I am a published poet. I consider myself a lifelong student of many things, Religion being at the top of that list, I have studied most of the current text available. I should also state that I am more a humanist and a realist believing religion is more a frame of mind and a lifestyle and that, despite what one may believe, we are first and foremost, one humanity.Inline image

I believe I’ve always been tolerant, though as I have aged and my understanding of the world and religions around me have developed, I have become more so.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you believe all religions are the same?

STEPHEN STONE:  Yes in that, they all require a measure of blind faith and a requisite lifestyle, conformity to ones beliefs.

SONGSOPTOK:  In case you practice religion, do you consider all your religious beliefs to be true? What about those of others?

STEPHEN STONE:  Religion, I believe isn’t a practice, it’s something you live, as I mentioned before, a lifestyle. I believe we are one humanity, with many interpretations of the same story. As far as truth is concern, as I mentioned before, religion requires some measure of blind faith.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you believe that all faiths are equally beneficial and equally harmless to society?

STEPHEN STONE: No, I don’t. To some degree, I believe the opposite to be true. Look at the strife on this planet for hundreds of years, created by the differences of beliefs from Rome and beyond to modernity.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you believe all religious groups are equally beneficial and equally harmless to their followers?

STEPHEN STONE:  Again, no I don’t. One has but to look at the current state of affairs around the planet to see the damage blind faith to the extreme can bring. Additionally, in the United States, it seems a lot of fancy facilities of worship being built, while so many followers go hungry. I often wonder what happened to pauper oaths.

SONGSOPTOK:  Should members of any given religious group refrain from criticizing religious practices of others?

STEPHEN STONE:  Yes, if we first believe we are one humanity, who is one to criticize another for the way they live or believe. Experience breeds belief and unless you share in the experience how you can consider yourself fit to pass judgment?

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you usually refrain from talking about your beliefs to others? Should you be ignoring your own religious ideas?

STEPHEN STONE:  Actually, I do. I find to few open minded enough to have read much more than one religious text, while I have read many.  Finding in more cases than not, more questions than answers. Take Catholsism, for example. The very text they aspire to speaks of three Immaculate Conceptions, while they only hold one up to worship as the center of their belief. Samson’s mother was baron and also visited by an angel, hence said to be the source of his (Samson) great strength, as well as Isaac, the first Prophet of the Jews, whose wife was baron. His first son was bore to him by a slave girl and eventually cast out at his wife’s behest, when she was visited by an angel and, subsequently also gave birth. “Discretion is the better part of valor…” a wise man once said and even though most text direct one to, “spread the word…,” it is in no way an affront if the situation doesn’t warrant such conversation.

SONGSOPTOK: What are the different ways religious tolerance, including secularism, can help (or hurt) the demands of a complex world?

STEPHEN STONE:  I believe a “complex world,” demands such tolerance. If there is no tolerance there is only suspicion and suspicion breeds apprehension, which leads to frustration and, eventually conflict. I have never believed that simply because two may disagree that it has to mean one of them is only wrong.

SONGSOPTOK:  Should ‘religious tolerance’ be a part of the school curricula?

STEPHEN STONE:  Sure, in conjunction with parental guidance. School is often where we receive our first interaction of diversity, a pristine opportunity to also employ and teach tolerance.

SONGSOPTOK:  Religious acceptance and bigotry appear to be the two sides of a coin (unbiased). People are equally likely to choose one over the other. Do you agree with that observation? Please explain.

STEPHEN STONE:  I believe the aforementioned, to be more a side effect of the indoctrination of any religious belief system. To often the lessons that are left to the way side are those of tolerance and acceptance. Religious acceptance and bigotry are another form of prejudice, not unlike that we see based on skin color. Both stem from the same experience of culture and history and are also the failure of same.

We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Subhodev Das

(Chief Advisor: Songsoptok)


No comments:

Blogger Widgets
Powered by Blogger.