Tolerance

I like to watch videos on Ted.com, if you haven’t been on that site and you are a scientifically-minded and creative individual I suggest you give it a look. There is a talk by Richard Dawkins and also a talk by Sam Harris on how we need to abandon religion as the end-all be-all solution to life issues. This isn’t another atheist rant of mine, there are factors beyond religion that fuel the perpetuation of dicrimination and unethical practices. The bottom line of this post is that we need to stop letting things such as religion, “culture” and politics stop curbing our tolerance and fogging our moral goggles.
Past instances of religion-based or “cultural” discrimination or unethical treatment against a group or individual are too numerous to get into in one post. This is a broad and time expansive subject. I’m just going to go over some current events in an attempt to give you food for thought.
We are all too familiar with the gay rights movement in our own country, but compared to most places we have it good. Recently I read two stories surrounding extreme punishment for crimes against Islamic law. One involves the model who had a beer and was sentenced to six strokes of a cane and the other is the story involving the Lebanese “Miss Cleo” who was sentenced to death for practicing sorcery. Ok, now.. come on. COME ON. This is ridiculous! Fortunately, it looks like in the end a little justice was provided for these victims of Islamic fundamentalism. What I can’t get past is the fact that people, likely with families and children whom they love and care for, gathered around and determined the punishments were suited for the crimes theses two people committed. We don’t live in the middle-ages anymore.. we know better than this, why does it still happen? Don’t we all have that little voice in the back of our heads that speaks up and says “hey! something isn’t right here!” Why aren’t we considering humanity more deeply? Is it just too much work? Is it laziness?
Another example of mine transcends human rights to delve into animal rights. I recently saw the film The Cove though the issue of dolphin slaughter is not new to me. I’m not a vegetarian, I wish I could be, but other animals depend on meat for sustenance so I don’t think it’s unnatural or unhealthy to be omnivorous. I think fish is a wonderful part of a balanced diet and it’s also quite delicious. However, we have to draw the line somewhere. There is an obvious intelligence to Earth’s creatures and it’s deserving of human respect. Just like we wouldn’t go around harvesting and farming chimpanzees or gorillas for meat, we shouldn’t go on dolphin killing sprees. Not too mention that the mercury levels in dolphin meat are of major concern in regards to one’s health. I’m not going to make this a post about saving the dolphins, but what I do want to be considered is the fact that in the face of the scientific evidence backing these creatures’ complex intelligence, emotion, and communication compounded with the health hazards of their consumption, and the non prolificacy of dolphin as a part of a Japanese diet we allow this to go on because of “culture.” At least, that’s what the Japanese (behind the issue) are claiming as justification. Culture is an ever-changing concept. We change as we learn more. We defeated slavery in America, Women’s rights have come very far.. were these not issues of culture?
In conclusion..
It’s time to quit clinging onto the past for safety and opt for a more universally consistent and ubiased approach to morality.

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