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Letters

Freedom of religion

Auckland, New Zealand

Editor,

Tolerance is a good cornerstone on which to build human relationships. When one views the slaughter and suffering caused by religious intolerance throughout all the history of man and into mordern times, one can see that intolerance is a very nonsurvival activity. Religious tolerance does not mean one cannot express his own beliefs. It does mean that seeking to undermine or attack the religious faith and beliefs of another has always been a short road to trouble.

Philosophers since the time of acient Greece have disputed with one another the nature of God, man and the universe. The opinions of authorities ebb and flow. Just now the philosophies of “mechanism” and “materialism” - dating as far back as Egypt and Greece are fad : they seek to assert that all is matter and overlook that, neat as their explanation of evolution maybe, they still do not rule out additional factors, that might be at work, that might be merely using such things as evolution. They are, today, the “official” philosophies and are even taught in schools. They have their own zealots who attack the beliefs and religions of others: the result can be intolerance and contention.

If all the brightest minds since the fifth century B .C. or before have never been able to agree on the subject of religion or antireligion, it is an arena of combat between people that one would do well to stay out of. In this sea of contention, one bright principle has imerged: the right to believe as one chooses .

“Faith” and “belief” do not necessarily surrender to logic: they cannot even be declared to be illogical. They can be things quiet apart. Any advice one might give another in this subject is safest when it simply asserts the right to believe as one chooses. One is at liberty to hold up his own beliefs for acceptance. One is at risk when he seeks to assault the beliefs of others, much more so when he attacks and seeks to harm others because of their religious convictions.

Man, since the dawn of species, has taken great consolation and joy in his religion. Even the “mechanist” and “materialist” of today sound much like the priests of old as they spread their dogma. Men without faith are pretty sorry lot. They can even be given something to have faith in. But when they have religious beliefs, respect them.

The way to happiness can become contentious when one fails to respect the religious beliefs of others.

‘Ofa atu and God Bless!

‘Atulouaki Lasitani