My experience has been that those who respect another's beliefs, especially beliefs about what is sacred, usually hold some things sacred themselves. To have reverence for something suggests an empathy for others who hold things sacred. Whatever we hold sacred, when we live true to those beliefs, we seem willing to grant others the opportunity to reverence their beliefs. When something is considered sacred, relationships among diverse peoples are possible. When nothing is held sacred, relationships, neighborhoods, cultures, and countries may be in conflict and possibly fall apart. Most of the time, it is probably our unwillingness to grant others their sacred feelings, and not the differences in what we hold sacred, that create contention. . .
Actually, it is possible to have sacred beliefs and yet demean other's convictions. To do so, however, means betraying our own beliefs of how to behave, perverting the attitudes we hold, or in other ways dishonoring our own spiritual commitments. Whether our betrayal takes the form of moral superiority, spiritual arrogance, interpersonal ridicule, or being offended at others' devoutness, all are signs of more than not granting others their sacred feelings. They reveal we have turned against our own. . .
When nothing is sacred, everything is fair game in conflicts of ideas, attitudes, or behaviors.
Monday, March 16, 2009
"Is Something Sacred?"
Terrance D. Olson's column this week in the LDS Church (Mormon) Meridian Magazine, Is Something Sacred? discusses his very personal experiences with people who did not worship as he did, but were tolerant of his beliefs. Please read the entire column, because I don't do it the proper justice by butchering it here. But I am posting excerpts below, because in many ways it also explains the philosophy of Freemasonry's openness to its members' private beliefs that accepts them without judgement (even though the article is not about Freemasonry). Such acceptance is not merely tolerance, but something greater. As the magazine's editor describes in his note, "This is an article that addresses the issue about the importance of granting to people what is sacred to them as a prerequisite for a civilized society."