a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.
Now that we have defined the word, maybe we should seriously consider its application.
It’s amazing how many times, when we are sharing our message on the street, someone will intially show some interest in what we have to say. That is, until they have any suspiscion that we might be “religious” or, worse still, Chrisitian.
The extremely ironic (dare we say hypocritical?) thing is that these are often the same people who want to lecture us on how to be tolerant or accepting of people of differing views!
We are quite willing to hear people share their views with us, and we have the right to respectfully disgree or even challenge the finer points of their conclusions. However, when someone DEMANDS that we not say a word about what we believe, on the grounds that we are somehow being intolerant by doing so, we feel a strong need to use that horrible word…”bigot”.
You can disagree with our views all you want, but please don’t have the audacity to claim you are not being a bigot when you tell us we can’t even express our views, lest we should “offend” someone.
We did not arrive at the position of taking Jesus’ teachings seriously by just closing our minds to the myriad of other belief systems out there. We have been trying to follow Jesus’ teachings for some years now (however imperfectly) and believe that we have come upon the answers to life & death through His words. Sure, there are plenty of other truths that we can learn from that are not included in Jesus’ teachings, it’s just that we see His message as being the highest revelation of God that we have ever come across. And believe us, we have heard plenty on our travels around the globe while sharing our faith!
We get a lot of inspiration from a number of different philosophies, but that doesn’t mean that we need to subscribe to the elements in those philosophies or spiritual paths that we see as contradictory or blatantly wrong.
So please, the next time you feel the urge to keep from listening to someone who may have a different worldview than your own, give them a chance to at least express their perspective. Don’t shoot it down just because you had a bad run in with “one of those people” before. Who knows, they might have had a nasty encounter with “one of your kind” as well.
Remember: “Doing unto others as you would have others do unto you” is a good rememdy for bigotry.