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100 Qs for God: Does God value tolerance?

September 1, 2011

This is Question 70 from the “100 Questions for (my) God” series.

Does God value tolerance?

There are multiple meanings for “tolerance”, including enduring pain. While this definition may occasionally have some pertinence, let’s focus on:

“sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from
or conflicting with one’s own”[1]

There is no reference to racial, sexual or other physical differences because they are non-existent or inconsequential in the eyes of my God. If she is going to make a value judgment about me, it’s going to be on the actions, beliefs and behaviors exhibited, not my physical make-up. Admittedly, this belief may be due to my “letting myself go” since getting married – a technicality.

Humans began their worshipful pursuits by recognizing Gods who embodied forces or things in their environment (e.g. wind, sun, sea, etc.). After some deep contemplation, and over a few thousand years, other Gods were added who embodied emotions like love, or actions like war. A few thousand years ago, someone had an epiphany and decided there was only one God. This immediately or consequently led to the development of the Abrahamic faiths, which are the “big hitters” in today’s God-centric religions. This leads us to a few simple observations:

1.     It’s hard to argue humanity’s perception of God hasn’t changed over time – even religious texts record or imply this in their historic reflections.
2.     If one of the monotheistic faiths is the “chosen” or “correct” religion, at some stage in history every person on the planet was worshiping the wrong God(s).

Numerous books have recently addressed the issue of the evolution of our thoughts and attributions to our God(s). If this has occurred, the only two conclusions we can reach are:

a)    God(s) exists, or
b)    God does not exist.

If we believe God exists, there are only four possibilities:

1.     One religion has all the answers.
2.     More than one religion provides the answers.
3.     All religions have the answers.
4.     None of our religions have the answers.

Apart from the implied need to thoroughly explore what the questions are, this brings us to a seminal moment (note the subtle religious punnery). If all of the religions we currently pursue are improvements on, or replacements for, previous belief systems, we’re delicately stating that the relationship with God is complex. At some stage, everyone on Earth had it wrong or only partially correct.

Given the gift of 20-20 hindsight, it seems enormously presumptuous of our generation to assume we have reached the zenith of religious understanding. If there’s room for further development of our relationship with God, the insights might have similar sources to those in the past:

a)                 An existing religion
(as with Judaism to Christianity or Christianity to Islam)
b)                Societal change
(as with views on sexism and racism)
c)                 A new perspective
(e.g. Mohammed, Jesus)


If the evolution of our religious beliefs has been facilitated by a diverse range of sources, and has brought us closer to God, we can only conclude God values tolerance’s ability to facilitate this. Similarly, our acceptance of differing beliefs shows our openness to truly seeking God, and might just be the key to finding her.


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