I just started writing this, and it's only a rough, but I was curious as to your thoughts - thanks much! -------------------------- A Choice As travel becomes more common and communication more frequent, people of vastly different religions, and those of no religion, will find themselves pushed closer and closer together. This is inevitable. As this happens, pressure will continue to rise, and conflict between groups will be ever more tempting. This too is inevitable. It is time for we humans to make a choice – not only as a people but as individuals. You, the reader, must make a choice. On the one hand you can persist in the attitude that, if everyone were just more like yourself, the world would be fine. You can insult, defame, or preach doom to those of other beliefs, driving them away or making enemies of them with your aggressive or dismissive stance. You can assault them with snide comments, roll your eyes at their words, and disparage their motives. You can insist on showing them the light, even as they tell you "no thanks". You can smother them in your "love" and "kindness" as you speak to them condescendingly and insult everything they hold dear. Once those methods fail (and we both know they will), you can just attack them politically or violently - cast them out from your realm, even as more and more of these uncomfortable reminders of other views enter it. You could choose this path. But this path leads to one place which is neither cooperation nor conversion. Eventually, no matter what corner of the world you are in today, you or your descendants will find themselves surrounded by those who believe differently than themselves. As these pressures build, this approach can lead to only one place, and that is complete or continual destruction and death. So, knowing the coming pressures of our global situation, why would you choose this path? It is not rational to ever speak one word or take one action against those of another faith out of anger, disrespect, ridicule, or despise unless you are prepared to take these deeds to their logical conclusion and butcher these people yourself with sword in hand. Do you find this extreme? Perhaps you yourself will not wield the sword, but what difference does it make if you are willing to mine the ore and craft the sword to be used by another in the slaughter? A man who wishes to advance in his career does not slap his boss in the face, and a man who wishes peaceful coexistence does not stoke disrespect and animosity with his words or deeds. On the other hand, you can take a different approach. You needn’t give up your beliefs or your rights. You needn’t refrain from telling others about your views. But you can use a different approach. Regardless of where you are or what you believe, you can choose today, right now, to commit to a new ethic – an ethic which is absolutely essential for humanity. A New Ethic The new ethic is beyond mere tolerance, but it is not capitulation or subjugation. Even if you believe that all those of other beliefs are taking a path of ignorance or doom, you can still maintain that belief, and voice it openly - even as you take on this new ethic. The new ethic consists of seven parts and is as follows... 1) I will be honest and open about all of my beliefs, defending my rights - even if I believe others or their beliefs to be wrong and even if they could be offended by my beliefs. 2) I will always phrase my statements with sincere care to be sensitive to the feelings of others – not to belittle or offend for its own sake. 3) When others attempt to be respectful to me in stating their beliefs, I will refuse to take offense, no matter how they compare to my own. I will look only at intent to be offensive, rather than the content of the message. 4) I will be open to working and interacting with those of other beliefs in a cordial manner. I will consider them my equals and give them the human and friendly treatment I would anyone else. I will never advocate isolationism or segregation. 5) I will not only tolerate, but support the rights of others to voice their beliefs by the same standards and rules I am allowed to voice mine. 6) I will never attempt to use the power of the state to give unequal advantage to my religious beliefs or institutions over those of others. 7) I will seek out unbiased knowledge about the religious beliefs of others, and not merely learn about them through those of my own belief system. I will try to truly understand what others believe from their own words, even if I do not share those beliefs.