Freedom of Religion depends on religion

Read some comments attacking the Dalai Lama on someone’s Blog which championed freedom of religion on its website.

Noticed it also pushed for a vote against gay marriage in California.

I guess freedom of religion, in that world, is only for those whose beliefs and way of life is like his own. Hate to see it extended to people with different views who really don’t deserve it, is the message he’s encouraging.

That’s the American way, though, isn’t it? Freedom of religion as long as it’s my religion?

14 comments on “Freedom of Religion depends on religion

  1. Beloved michael j, what a great post, and look at all the wonderful, thought-provoking comments it evoked. I can’t add anything to the beauty and wisdom of what’s been said, but in another interesting synchronicity, I’ve been meaning to share an incident that occurred with my teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, when someone challenged him, and your post is spurring me on to do it. Thanks!

    With affection,


    • contoveros says:

      I’m glad I did not respond at the fellow’s site with the way I felt. Why cause him harm? I learned I could express myself with “right speech” and get so much more out of it.

      Hey, this Buddhist path might be paying off, after all. Think I’ll get “initiated” this Sunday.

      michael j

      Can’t wait to see the words from Thich Nhat Hanh!


  2. There is no need to compel. Invite.


  3. A bird said to come so here I am. jk. Seems we are all going through the same lesson or at least revisiting them. I recently started going to chat rooms again. I stumbled across a place where the owner just absolutely believed he had all the answers and that all of his answers were the absolute truth. I tried to offer other views but he would respond by saying he heard from “a higher realm” or asked how did I know. I told him I didn’t know. I said it was only what I felt, but it was what I felt within my own heart. I didn’t tell him who I thought spoke through my heart, and his heart and other people’s hearts. He didn’t believe in God, at least not the way I understood. But you know what…it was okay. It really was because what needed to happen at that moment and every other moment was happening as it needed to.

    Anyhow, I also wanted to share this blog I had written not too long ago. I feel it may help, or at least I hope that it will.

    Convince Man of Nothing

    A man cannot begin to convince another man and share his beliefs through logic alone. No matter how intelligent we believe ourselves to be, and no matter how superior we think the human mind to be, it is limited by the things we feed it. Whether fed by books, television or other sources of knowledge, it is limited. Wrapped in self-delusion, it struggles for survival in a world that often defies logic. We may try to justify our knowledge through history and the words of men long since passed, but until we can free our mind of its constraints we will never see the world as it was meant to be seen.

    If you seek to convince a man of anything, speak not of conjecture and assumptions. Instead, speak to a person’s heart. Be honest with yourself and with all whom your words would touch. Speak not of absolutes unless you are absolute. Be not afraid of admitting error, or of admitting ignorance, for the fool is not the one who does not know, but is the one who cannot admit that they do not know, or cannot know.

    Many will claim to know God’s word, for it is said by some that it is written in the Bible and other holy texts. Some say it is foolish to disregard God’s word. Perhaps it is more foolish to assume His word. Man knows what he knows, and no more. And though he would try to turn his will into God’s will, and turn all of God’s creations into his servants, he has power over nothing. He thinks because he is allowed to think. He breathes because he is allowed to breathe. He lives because he is allowed to live. Nothing is by his power.

    Convince man of nothing, for the truth is already written. Before his life, his death was already written.


    • contoveros says:

      “Many will claim to know God’s word, for it is said by some that it is written in the Bible and other holy texts. Some say it is foolish to disregard God’s word. Perhaps it is more foolish to assume His word.”

      The only thing we can be certain of in this world is uncertainty. When someone assumes to “know” the word of God I always wonder if the knowledge comes from any other language than L o v e.

      michael j

      Great Blog on “Convince Man of Nothing!”


  4. saradode says:

    This is so hard, and I find myself agreeing with everyone here in one way or another. I used to visit some of the “religious” blogs here, and found myself really sickened by the hard intolerance and self-proclaimed (but always attributed to someone’s idea of God) righteousness that I found on some (not all, by any means) of them. Occasionally I’d try to debate something, and occasionally someone would see where I was coming from, but most often it did no good whatsoever, and only led to further hardening on both sides (very often my comments would be deleted outright–and I really WAS very polite most of the time!).

    One of the things I “heard” a while back, though, while I was fuming about the self-righteousness of some “religious” types, was something like, “Don’t be too hard on them…Some of them don’t know what to believe.” And I realized that that was true–people have been raised, generation after generation, being told that certain things are the “gospel truth,” so to speak, and that the world is a certain way, and certain things are right and certain ones are wrong/”sinful.” And I know that people are desperate in many cases for something to believe–something absolutely firm and incontestible that they can hold on to in what can be kind of a shifty and unpredictable and painful world. So they grab on to an idea of God that makes them feel powerful in the face of all of that, but that feeling can so often turn to intolerance… So I try to keep all of that in mind.

    But it ain’t easy (I still can’t stand to go and read some of those blogs)! And debate is almost always futile, and just leads to more division–even though it may feel very gratifying at the time. So, yes–in my heart (if not my head, at least yet) I’m with Athena on this. I need to look at my own self-righteousness (the plank in my eye), and also just try to concentrate on creating peace where I can, by loving those who are hurt by that intolerance and giving them comfort, and trying to understand the apparent hard-heartedness of those who rail against others in the name of God.

    Besides, what could anyone possibly say AGAINST the Dalai Lama? “That evil bastard, always going on about peace and compassion…the NERVE!!”

    (And Michael, I still believe that you can never be too much of a dreamer…don’t ever stop!)

    Love (and sorry for the ridiculously long response!),



    • contoveros says:


      Please publish your comment as a post on your site. I do it when I have written to some one and felt so strongly about a topic. I usually provide a short introduction, using smaller print, mentioning that it was a correspondence. Go ahead and use my post and simply provide a hyper link back to the original.

      That way, people who follow the different Blogs will have the benefit from different views. It’ll get a wider readership and potentially touch another being who agrees with you and me.


      michael j

      (Did I just say “love?”

      That’s what I thought I said. Could Hoboken, NJ be calling me to have a face to face with that wonderful Nancy the Seer I hear tell about?)


      • saradode says:

        A “face-to-face in Hoboken”–does that beg “Godfather” jokes, or what?!!! Well, if you want a face-to-face you’d better do it before mid-July, when me and da family are taking our business south to Florida, where there’s not so much interference, if you catch my drift, consigliere of mine…

        I will re-post on my blog after my morning meditation in the much-missed sunshine that’s finally reappeared!



  5. kim says:

    Sometimes people make me so angry. I have the least tolerance for the intolerant. I am beginning to see this as a weakness in myself, but still it’s hard not to feel anger or fear that people like that will multiply and take over. Perhaps it’s a gut reaction after having to live under the last president who shared similar beliefs.


    • contoveros says:

      Always liked the term “righteous indignation,” but have to be careful I’m not using it to elevate my beliefs over another’s. Please let there be humility in me to able to admit when I may be wrong.

      michael j


  6. Athena Grace says:

    I hear ya… and/but condemning the narrow minded only serves to narrow the mind. I believe the BEST solution is to look into your own self and find the exlusive, judgemental, riteous place in YOU (or me) and forgive it. Love it. As we forgive, so the world shimmers in the light of truth and the revelation of peace! AMEN.


    • contoveros says:

      “Bless me Father, for I have sinned . . .”

      You’re right, Athena. I should seek forgiveness for the judgemental part of myself before I seek to point out the splinter in someone else’s eye.

      But, it really ticks me off when people flat-out condemn another’s beliefs for fear it may influence or alter their own religious convictions.

      I never want to be part of any organization, government or political party that says that it provides the one and only way to Truth.

      Am I being too narrow-minded?

      Or too much a dreamer?

      michael j


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