Is it reasonable to believe in God? If there is a God, how do we go about getting to know him / her / them? Has science ruled out the possibility that God exists?
These are a few of the questions that people who are seeking tend to ask. When someone is seriously asking these questions it is helpful to gently and lovingly point out their blind spots so they are able to see all the possibilities.
The Ignorance of Tolerance
Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesterton
Tolerance is a desirable virtue. Someone who is tolerant is someone who is peaceful and respectful of other’s beliefs and values.
However, we can be peaceful and respectful and still point out flaws. In fact, it is a loving thing to point out that it is a bad thing to harm yourself or others in the name of religion, for example.
Most people simply go along with tolerance as an ideal because it is the foundation of our society (when it comes to various religions) because it is the path of least resistance.
You know the story of the blind men and the elephant right?
A king asks six blind men to determine what they are touching by feeling different parts of an elephant’s body. One blind man feels a leg and says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a pipe.
Then the king explains to them, “All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features you mentioned.”
What’s wrong with this story?
This story is told to indicate the truth that can be found in all religions. Any religion that makes exclusive truth claims (such as, “Jesus is the only way to God”) should learn from this parable and be more tolerant of other religions.
I can think of at least three problems with this parable (If this comes across as being intolerant of foolishness, so be it.):