The thanksgiving holiday is arriving next week. For most of us, it is mainly eating turkey and more turkey. Then, we sit down in front of the TV to watch the football games. Gosh, if we call soccer the football games in other parts of the world, what do they call our games?
Anyway, it made me think about the roots of the holiday. That is, the original pilgrims being thankful for having a place to practice their views of Christianity. As someone who grew up amidst the stark plain Wesleyan symbol of the cross (as compared with the ritual rich predominant Catholic church), I kind of I relate to their situation.
But that was then, this is now. Christianity, like all religions that believe in a single creator, attracts fanatical groupies. That is, their view is either you are with us or you are against us. Sam Harris, in his book titled “The End of Faith,” criticizes most of us (that is, those with moderate religious beliefs) for allowing the extremist to take over. He is also critical of Islam, claiming that we are apologist for tolerating a religion that is quite unitary on its belief. Hence, he said, you don’t see Buddhist believers blowing themselves up. For more info, you can check Sam Harris’ website.
Being a gay man who grew up in a fundamentalist environment, I have been quite timid in criticizing the religious belief of others. Maybe I fear that if I rock the boat, I may be pushed overboard and drown in a sea of intolerance. But that is something I should be mindful of. I should speak my mind and not allow someone who carries intolerant belief get away with it. Because in the end, they may win and we become their slaves. Witness the recent events in Denmark. If we, as members of a western civilization that believes in secular forms of government, don’t stand up to defend the pillars of our democracies, then the religious extremists have won the day.