Forums > Social Discussion > Tolerance Charter Idea for Christian/Muslim/Religious organisations.

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:
There's been many, many threads on HOP concerning religious issues; many of them have become heated, some so much so that mods have had to *delete* them.

Obviously the issues are highly emotive with some believing strongly in the religion they love, and others sickened by all the harm that has been, and still is being, done in the name of various Gods.

This is very evident currently in the muslim world with many muslims in the west wanting to focus on what they see as the good aspects of their religion and distance themselves from the fundamentalist interpretations; but it's also evident in the Christian church.

Essentially, and to simplify immensely, I think that we can split aspects of religion into two broad divisions.

The first concerns the aspects of religion that relate to oneself and spiritually 'improving' one-self- this includes personel comtemplation/prayer/meditation. Attention directed towards others is generally in the form of help/charity (offered, not forced). If they have an interest in pursuing the religion, they are directed, but there is no desire to 'convert' unbelievers.

The focus is on using religion to achieve inner peace, a balanced way of living in the world, and achieving good and useful relationships to others.

The second approach, in stark contrast, is very focused on the 'faults' of others and involves things like harrasing/condemning homosexuals, excluding women from positions of spiritual authority, invoking wars against 'unbelievers'/terrorism.

===================

I've been thinking about this a lot over the years, and today an idea occurred to me that I've not seen anywhere else.

Given the times we live in, and the fact that this split is now so clear, and under public debate in various guises; would it not be feasible for some kind of 'tolerance charter' system to be created.

So, in the same way that many business/govt. organisations have a charter of clearly written rules as to how they intend to treat clients (eg waiting times, non-discriminatory stuff etc); couldn't a religious organisation, if it wanted to differentiate itself from groups that do focus on harrassing others, apply for a charter which clearly states its intentions?

This would include things like not pushing aspects of their religious writings that are generally interpreted as promoting the idea that women are inferior, that gays are sinners, that those who don't believe will be doomed to hell etc.

Thus leaving them to focus on the useful stuff like helping their congregations to find inner peace, communion with their tolerant/merciful God/Goddess, helping others through charity etc.

The benefit for them being the fact that the public could clearly see what kind of organisation they are getting involved with, therefore presumably leading to bigger input into that particular church.

=========================

To some extent, for it to work, there would have to be some kind of respected and independant group imbued with the power to grant such charters, and, if the church breaks that charter, the power to withdraw it.

Then again, even if there wasn't such an organisation, just the act of a religious group producing it's own charter would in itself probably lead to great benefits as the congregation would then clearly be able to see what kind of behaviour is unacceptable.


Additionally, it is the nature of the truly prejudiced that they would almost certainly be unable to issue a charter that went against their views- for example, it's inlikely that a fundamentalist christian or muslim group could issue a document promoting tolerance to homosexuals.

======================

To clarify the distinction- IMO the useful and good aspects of any religion focus on: -

*correcting the faults in oneself, rather than fixating on the perceived faults in others

*pursuit of inner peace for oneself (and of course for others, but bearing in mind that assisting others to approach that state necessitates that one has, to some extent, achieved it for oneself)

*helping others, sincerely and with no 'religious strings' attached

*recognising that the equality of all beings is not diminished by their gender, sexuality, race or beliefs, and acting accordingly

And to sum up, I'm proposing that a 'charter' system illustrating exactly which side of that division a given church stands on, could lead to great benefits for believers and non-believers alike.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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_Clare_
_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast
Member Since: 22nd Oct 2002
Total posts: 5967
Posted:I really like this idea... but I think the more established religions consider themselves above government and above any external guidelines.

I doubt that even with such a charter (balanced and in support of their fundamental principles as it is), in place they would pay it heed. Unfortunately. Arrogance forms a huge part of these religions too.

But it would be great to see the response of such religious groups to this suggestion. Would you be interested in writing up your charter and sending it to the heads of the religious groups in the UK, Dave?!

It'd be really interesting to hear their response biggrin

hug


Getting to the other side smile

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mtbeer
mtbeer

ARRRR!
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Member Since: 11th Aug 2004
Total posts: 529
Posted:A charter that promotes acceptance but brands non-conformers as fundamentalists? There is a lot of gray area in religion and driving a wedge between them all sounds like it may do more harm than good. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for promoting acceptance within spirituality but drawing a line in the sand seems confrontational. Religion has a way of evolving with local and global trends. Acceptance is a growing movement and I would like to see it shape religion rather than attempting to force the issue.

"My skin is singed but it heals my heart and with glowing pride I'll wear my scars." -Davey Havok

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Posted:Don't many churches already have charters on tolerance? Even if only expressed as Zero Tolerance?
Who would give this independant group their authority? Church or State?
Cheers!


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_khan_
_khan_

old hand
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Member Since: 17th Nov 2004
Total posts: 768
Posted:I, too, really like this idea. I would add to your list of the good aspects of religion the manifestation of the divine in oneself. I'm assuming, for the sake of this discussion, that everyone who has an interest in religion has some concept of the divine. Otherwise, why participate in any religion at all?

For me, that's the point of spiritual practice -- that we ourselves are divine, that divinity or godliness, is not some external thing bestowed upon us if we follow the rules, but is something that is within us that through spiritual practice we bring out of ourselves, that we awaken or remember. In this belief, I guess I am a "fundamentalist" of a sort, though I don't subscribe to any established religion.

It's funny, because so-called fundamentalists seem to have lost site of the "fundamentals" of their own religions! Love, peace, and service to "the weakest among us" are the common threads and yet...well, the world is the way it is. So clearly, things have gotten off-track. This charter idea would be a step in the right direction, imo.

Although one does generally know where certain churches stand. For example I'd know what I'd get if I were to set foot in a southern Baptist or evangelical church. Likewise, I know that unitarian churches are more inclusive and go out of their way to welcome everyone.


taken out of context i must seem so strange
~ ani di franco

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Sym
Sym

Geek-enviro-hippy priest
Location: Diss, Norfolk
Member Since: 28th Sep 2004
Total posts: 1858
Posted:I would like to add a third point to yours Dave, if youll let me;

Population control: The wider side to religion that will have power over whole countries or races.

IMHO religion only gets *really* bad when policies gets involved (or the other way round). Think about it: tribe a wants tribe bs river. They know its not theres so they cant have it, but as soon as the religions leaders say that God gave it to them then whoa! Give it back dam it!

This is whats going on in the states at the moment. Bushs government is coming closer and closer to being religious leaders as well as political ones. The amount of evangelical Christians over there is very worrying to me.


Anyway, Im diverging from your point.

Yes, a charter is a very good idea, but I think in some peoples eyes what ever holy book they hold sacred IS that charter! It could get very tricky. The people who would sign up are probably the people who are very open minded IE the people who havent been behind the reason you started thinking about this. It could isolate people who dont agree with some points.

For example a Lib Dem who doesnt support legalization of marijuana or the banning of fox hunting doesnt want to get labeled conservative!

About the only logical conclusion to all this is to give up on the supernatural and old books and just be nice to people. The idea that something is ok because its religion is rubbish! If its not ok outside the religion then its not ok!

Im not religious at all (can you tell?) but that doesnt mean I have no guidance or morials!

Yes, if you feel there is something more to life out there, great, get on with it.

If you want to tell other people you think there is something more, maybe great, it depends how you go about it (a bit like admitting you like Star Trek, you have to be a bit subtle about it)

If you kill people who dont think like you, well thats not cool at all. (Unless they say Spock is stupid, then go right ahead!)

Sorry Ive gone on a bit here. All in all I think its a nice idea, but I dont see it becoming more than that.


There's too many home fires burning and not enough trees

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: mtbeer

A charter that promotes acceptance but brands non-conformers as fundamentalists? There is a lot of gray area in religion and driving a wedge between them all sounds like it may do more harm than good. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for promoting acceptance within spirituality but drawing a line in the sand seems confrontational. Religion has a way of evolving with local and global trends. Acceptance is a growing movement and I would like to see it shape religion rather than attempting to force the issue.



Good point.

I don't think that drawing a line needs to be confrontational- it's just a way of clarifying and simplifying.

After all, I don't think those who brought about non-tolerance in religion deliberatly with the aim of hurting others- most intolerance is based on misunderstanding and confusion.

I just think that many people in the past have got involved in organisations whose aims and objectives where not clearly stated, and only find out when it's too late.

If a religious organisation does support racism, gender discrimination, condemning homosexuals etc, then let it be known.

Equally, if another organisation wishes to totally distance itself from these views and is commited to ensuring that it doesn't encourage such views in its teachings, then IMO it deserves to reap the rewards.

I wasn't condemning non-conformers as fundamentalists- fundamentalism is simply the extreme end of a range of non-tolerant behaviours.

I'm not even particularly concerned here about fundamentalism, as anyone with any reasonable level of awareness/intelligence can easily see fundamentalism for what it is- they don't need a charter to see it.

But you're right about the importance of not making the situation worse- it's important I think to do this in a non-confrontational way.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: Sym_


About the only logical conclusion to all this is to give up on the supernatural and old books and just be nice to people. The idea that something is ok because its religion is rubbish! If its not ok outside the religion then its not ok!

Im not religious at all (can you tell?) but that doesnt mean I have no guidance or morials!




Of course; it goes without saying that the good aspects of religious practice like inner peace and being nice to people can be achieved by non-believers.

But much of humanity at this point in time isn't really open to this- for whatever reason, many can only access it via a religion.

Given that a large portion of humanity will continue to support churches, i just think it's a good idea for some of those churches to be encouraged to commit to focusing on the tolerant aspects of their teachings.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Novel idea Dave, and I certainly agree with later concept:
Written by:
Given that a large portion of humanity will continue to support churches, i just think it's a good idea for some of those churches to be encouraged to commit to focusing on the tolerant aspects of their teachings (OWD).



But, don't you think religions have failed if have to actually ask for a charter? I mean what's the point? Do you actually think that any religious organisation will admit to supporting racism, gender discrimination or condemning homosexuals etc?

I don't, and not because they are dishonest, but because the probably don't think they are acting in that amnner. There are none as blind as those who will not see.


smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:But some have, and continue to admit to supporting those things.

For example the Christian churches who refuse to ordain women as ministers are supporting gender discrimination- muslims and christians who maintain that homosexuals are sinners bound for hell are condemning homosexuality.

As to religions having failed if a charter is necessary, maybe so, but no more than many non religious organisations.

In that sense any use of charters by anyone is an admission of some kind of failure; it's no big deal- failure is pretty common; the important thing is to face up to it and endevour to correct it.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Perhaps Dave, but I think that's your interpretation, not the Churches.

Like with your examples. I sure most Christian churches would not consider themselves as supporting gender discrimination because they refuse to ordain women. They would have some other perhaps "historic" excuse or it's in the bible or something. Like wise, the Roman Catholic Church does not condemn homosexuals, no, only practicing homosexuals.

I don't see the relevance of relating religious charters to industry.


Good idea though smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: Stone


Perhaps Dave, but I think that's your interpretation, not the Churches.



Like with your examples. I sure most Christian churches would not consider themselves as supporting gender discrimination because they refuse to ordain women. They would have some other perhaps "historic" excuse or it's in the bible or something. Like wise, the Roman Catholic Church does not condemn homosexuals, no, only practicing homosexuals.









Fair enough. Then simply ensure the charter is well worded enough to cover those scenarios.



i.e. 'our organisation does not condemn homosexuals or practicing homosexuals....'



As for historic excuses or bible passages justifying the non ordination of women, again, anyone writing this charter is well aware of the approaches traditionally used by the church to escape charges of harrassment; simply word the charter to cover it.



As far as I'm concerned a church can refuse to ordain women on biblical grounds; but if another church has a charter saying that it will not exclude potential ordinants on the grounds of gender, then, at the end of the day, people who consider tolerance and equality to be of prime importance, are going to be inclined to support the second church.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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DoktorSkell
DoktorSkell

addict
Location: Van Diemans Land
Member Since: 11th Jan 2005
Total posts: 475
Posted:

If a man is Muslim, he believes that allah is god. and that there is no other god than allah right? he therefore believes that people who dont worship allah are wrong and infidels.

The same is with christians right? i constantly get told i am going to burn in hell for being the proud atheist that i am.

I think everyone just needs to keep their religion to themselves and everyone will be happy.

Heres another one to think about. Christians constantly advertise on TV.
what would happen if i tried to advertise atheism on tv? i would have protestors outside my house trying to stone me. they would say its offensive to christians. well Christians advertising on TV is offensive to me!!!

i think we are missing a bit of equality here.

Note: what you have read here is a personal opinion of a single individual and should not be taken offence to by any religious group or individual. Doktor Skell is not trying to preach intolerance or hatred with this post. The doktor loves you all for who you are. not by your religious choices


Fair luna bright, fair luna moon
it shines at night but fades too soon
fair luna moon, fair luna bright
forever we dance
we dance under starlight

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Sure Dave, anything to encouraged the more tolerant aspects of the Churches' teachings. And, like Firepoise said, it would be interesting to see the reaction of religious groups to the charter, heheh.

:lol. DoktorSkell, I've always wanted to run some athiest ads on TV, just to see the reaction biggrin


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Sym
Sym

Geek-enviro-hippy priest
Location: Diss, Norfolk
Member Since: 28th Sep 2004
Total posts: 1858
Posted:Dave et al,

An idea. Much as I think there are many flaws in the concept I am willing to give it a try.

What do people think to the idea of me putting up a wiki so that we (being everyone) can help to shape a charter?

The idea of collaborative document writing isnt too new on the internet, take the new GPL for example (non-techies: its one of the free software licenses thats getting re-written at the moment)


There's too many home fires burning and not enough trees

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Sym
Sym

Geek-enviro-hippy priest
Location: Diss, Norfolk
Member Since: 28th Sep 2004
Total posts: 1858
Posted:Also, have a look at:
http://www.the-brights.net/
br>
It's a bad web site with interesting ideas. I signed up to the news letter about a year ago.


There's too many home fires burning and not enough trees

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snork
member

Member Since: 10th Feb 2005
Total posts: 52
Posted:It's all great, but subscribing to your ideas would mean I would have to tolerate scientology.

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: snork

It's all great, but subscribing to your ideas would mean I would have to tolerate scientology.



Please do elaborate smile

I don't understand what you're saying here- I don't see how religions having a tolerance charter means that you'll have to tolerate scientology.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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snork
member

Member Since: 10th Feb 2005
Total posts: 52
Posted:Well, if my religion adopted a tolerance charter, to be in line with my religion, I would have to comply, meaning tolerating a dangerous, and irritating cult.

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lilylu
newbie

Member Since: 10th Feb 2005
Total posts: 16
Posted:Jeez, it's a minefield. Obviously horrendous wars are being fought in the name of religion.
Personally, I have no problem with people worshipping whatever they want, as long they are decent human beings.
Goodness transcends any dogma, while societies need certain codes in order to function.

-trying to extract herself from minefield without blowing into smithereens..-


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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:If your religion adopted a tolerance charter, in the sense meant in this thread, it would simply mean that that particular church (or group of churches) would not promote intolerance to homosexuals, disallow female clergy etc etc.

It wouldn't refer to scientologists at all.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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snork
member

Member Since: 10th Feb 2005
Total posts: 52
Posted:Then I am free to chase them around with a fire hose?

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dafunkymahn
member

Member Since: 30th Jan 2005
Total posts: 54
Posted:onewheeldave, in reply to your first post, I have to ask you one question, however as I think further I might ask you more.

It seems to me, that your charter idea is an attempt to pick out all the things that you like out of a religion and disregard the things that you do not. If you were to do this, how would you change anything about yourself? You certainly would not need to change because all you would have to do is omit the areas of your religion that did not comply with your lifestyle.

To my knowledge, the Bible, does not teach intolerance to homosexuals any more than it teaches intolerance of murder, rape, stealing etc.

Now of course your reply to that will be something to the effect of, "How dare you compare homosexuality to murder!" or, "There is nothing wrong with homosexuality!". Those who defend homosexuality have got to understand that when you are discussing homosexuality with someone who feels that it is a sin you are no more going to change their mind than they are going to change yours without a complete change of their moral mind set.


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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: dafunkymahn


It seems to me, that your charter idea is an attempt to pick out all the things that you like out of a religion and disregard the things that you do not. If you were to do this, how would you change anything about yourself? You certainly would not need to change because all you would have to do is omit the areas of your religion that did not comply with your lifestyle.



It's not about what I like- I judge that myself and it's relevant to me only. The charter is purely about those aspects of religious organisations that relate to tolerance.

I've studied and practiced a lot of spiritual practices and have changed a lot about myself, none of which required putting down, harrassing or claiming that others were 'sinful' on grounds of their gender or sexuality.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: dafunkymahn

Those who defend homosexuality have got to understand that when you are discussing homosexuality with someone who feels that it is a sin you are no more going to change their mind than they are going to change yours without a complete change of their moral mind set.



I've got no interest whatsoever in changing the minds of those religious organisations and their members who are intolerant towards homosexuals, don't allow females to be priests etc. I agree with you that trying to change the minds of those who have those views is generally a fruitless task.

Thw charter I proposed was not about changing minds, it was about helping those religious organisations who are tolerant to convey that.

It's about people being able to see exactly what they're taking on board when they become involved with an organisation.

There's a lot of people who feel the need to follow some form of religious interest, yet believe strongly in tolerance- a charter would enable them to investigate and choose which organisations to look into.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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