Intolerance is the mother of hate
We are all different from one another. All of us are different. We perceive our head as the centre of our own world - however big or small that may be. Why is one born an American, and not a Swiss or Siberian? What did we have to do with being born in one place and not in another? None whatsoever, right?! You had nothing to do with that. It just happened that you were born white, black, red, yellow or brown; into a Christian, Moslem or Jewish family, right? Think about it! So where did we learn all that intolerance? Ask yourself? - In my case, I learned it from my parents:
At age 7, in second grade I had a girlfriend. She was one year older but just like me (at that time) the best in class. I came to Switzerland just after the war from Austria and according to my father's beliefs, the worst people on earth were the Jewish people (He learned that in the Hitlerjugend) and in my mother's protected small world of the rich, the worst were the Catholics. Since my father was a native of Vienna, Austria and Catholic, he had to convert to Protestantism or my mother would not marry him. Did you know that there are more people on this planet that have never heard about a Christian religion than there are Christians? Did you ever read about the public burning of thousands of women in Europe because the Church (or some jealous neighbor) decided that they were witches? How many people today still trust in this same God? I cannot!
Well, my girlfriend Erika was Catholic and I finally had to confess the terrible news to my parents. From that day on, their main-goal was to stop this wrong relationship (it took them 6 years to finally succeed). My mother said Catholics can commit any crime, then go to church and confess and be forgiven by a priest, and on Monday they can start all over again with their wrong-doings. My father was completely brainwashed about the Jews, but could never give an exact explanation of what was wrong with them. He looked at them as if they had a contagious disease. He for instance loved classical music, but he would not listen to a concert played by Isaac Stern or Joshua Hafiz. He would say something like: "Albert Einstein was a great man but unfortunately he was Jewish".
Later in life he asked me to never marry a Jewish woman, that wish I would come to ignore and once I traveled with my Jewish ex-wife and her parents through Italy. They also wanted to see Austria, but we had to cross a small piece of Germany (near Berchetsgarden) to get there. They refused to put a foot on German ground and we stayed in Italy.
Some of my best friends were Jews and Muslims. Mohammed Al Tobaishi was a good friend of mine and I visited him several times in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. We traveled together in Greece, England and Switzerland. Once we sat down in a restaurant and he handed me a salt shaker: "Look at this" I could not see anything strange. Then he showed me, that the holes had the shape of the Star of David. He would not eat in this place. He was going to be the future son-in-law of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. Isn't it incredible what kind of intolerant people rule our world?
People of many different beliefs visited me during my life. Each explained their world view and each wanted me to join their ranks. They show me their book, the words and promises they believe in. They call it the "Words of God". They would say their priest says this or that. Or, "Look what God has to say in his book." They insisted that these are the words of God. I usually asked them the following question: "This is a big book; there are a lot of good things written in it. I really like many of these things and they are an important guide for many people, but I don't think God wrote it. Do you have any idea what he wrote it with? A typewriter, a computer, a pencil? Think about it. Use your logic. Your logic will teach you tolerance!"
Prayer in the Popol Vuh (Holy book of the Quechua), Guatemala:
Oh you, Tzacol, Bitol Creator,
Look at us and listen to us!
The sunrise may start, and a new day may begin.
Give us lots of roads,
So people can live in peace,
Long lasting peace,
Give them welfare,
Give them a useful existence.
As long as men will kill their wives because they think they might have had an indecent thought or show their ankle in public, as long as people believe that they will have a special place in heaven if they blow themselves up, as long as people will pay money to see a woman's breasts, which was the first beautiful thing in this world we saw and that gave us the food to live, but later some people consider indecent, as long as people think that money equals happiness, we will not have peace in this world. Make a list of people that are rich and happy, plus have a loving relationship and a beautiful family-life and once again, let your logic check the results. To love is an activity that produces love. It does not fall from the sky like Hollywood wants us to believe.
Bruce Jacobs, who corrects my English added the following thoughts: "It seems that being tolerant is a question of being able to put oneself in another person's shoes. Being understanding and not judgmental. Being able to think for oneself and not blindly following the dogmatic views of a group. (A sheep following a herd requires neither intelligence nor dignity.) A closed mind defeats us with hate. A free-minded person unites us in love. Love and tolerance, hand in hand, inspire us to create a more beautiful world." Thank you Bruce.
Have a happy day