I think one of the most difficult things we can ever master is genuinely accepting people for who they are, even when we inherently disagree with it. Even when we are so passionately in disagreement with what they believe or who they are, we still respect and love them because they are worthy of that, just as we are. This is coming in light of reports that a Catholic cardinal referred to gay people as “faggots” while being interviewed. What’s interesting, though, is that while there is a decent amount of backlash, it’s nothing incredible or abnormal… because we’re used to this. We’ve come to expect this kind of degrading treatment and hate culture because it surrounds us… especially here, on the internet.
What’s so difficult is that we want to correct what we think is wrong when “right” and “wrong” are subjective. But accepting that fact leaves us in a limbo of uncertainty. We’ve placed meaning on what we believe is right and wrong; it’s what we use to formulate opinions about ourselves. Even if it leaves you a bit unsteady, it’s absolutely crucial to realize that all lives are valid, even if they are, by our standards, wrong and hateful.
We go on violently disagreeing over religion and what the truth of the universe is, literally killing one another over who knows the real truth and who should be killed because they don’t when nobody knows for certain. We only believe we do. Because the truth of the matter is that if you compare the lives of those who are deeply religious, and those who are not, I imagine you’ll come to find that they are very similar. Not necessarily by the way they practice spirituality, but the gauge of “goodness” in the sense of being loving, kind, accepting, etc. If anything, what history has taught us is that those who are most inherently religious lean more toward the opposite end of the goodness spectrum than those who aren’t. More wars have been waged over religion than anything else.
It’s ironic, frankly, because religion is supposed to be the practice with which we find solace and understanding; love and acceptance for our own lives and others, and understanding of our reason and purpose here on Earth. But when we come to believe things so inherently that we cannot open our minds to the beliefs of others, we falsely start to believe that in some way, we’re above them.
The most difficult thing that we may need to come to understand is that all life is sacred, and not in the necessarily religiously-affiliated sense. People are worthy of love and acceptance even when their lives are not like your own. People deserve love and marriage and the right to believe what they want. Just because they don’t believe what you do is no reason for name-calling or other such discrimination.
The spectrum of “right and wrong” is completely subjective and entirely up to interpretation. The people and environment around you may completely convince you that you are correct and that the rest of the world is wrong, and that’s something that we often take great console in… knowing what we’re “supposed” to be doing. It gives us a sense of purpose, direction, reason. It makes us feel as though we’re on the right path. It’s important to have a fundamental understanding of what we will and will not do. However, part of everyone’s “code of conduct,” if you will, should be to revere others regardless of who and what they are.