Saturday, May 28, 2005

Should we be more tolerant?

Islamic Biological Warfare:
"In Nigeria, faith based paranoia on the part of Islamic clergy, and politicians, caused a polio epidemic, which is now spreading to other Islamic nations. The UN has been trying for years to wipe out polio (which has been eliminated in most Western nations). In the last few years, UN medical resources were massing to wipe polio out in one of the last places where it still thrives; northern Nigeria.

But some local Islamic clergy got the idea that these foreigners and their medicine (polio vaccine) were actually out to poison young Moslem females and make them sterile. Yeah, it'’s nuts, but it went over big in northern Nigeria and stopped the polio eradication program cold. The Islamic clerics finally relented (after the UN brought in Islamic medical experts, and jumped through a lot of hoops), but by then it was too late. The polio was moving to areas where it had earlier been eliminated.

Since you can track where a polio strain came from, it is now known that the "Nigerian strain"” is responsible for outbreaks as far away as Indonesia. So far, there are only about 1,300 cases in Nigeria and elsewhere. Polio is not nearly as bad as AIDS. Many of those infected with polio never know they have it, but they can spread it. About one half of one percent of those who get it can end up paralyzed for life, usually in the legs. Polio mostly hits young children."

A few years ago I talked with an admittedly liberal campus minister who cautioned me about the desire to judge others ideas as wrong. She told me of the importance of standing within my own religious tradition and yet affirming the equal validity of other traditions. It was important after all to be tolerant.

I responded with this dilemma:

Suppose you are a Physician charged with caring for indigenous peoples in South America. You discover that one of the tribes that you desire to care for has an outbreak of Cholera. You have a drug that will cure the disease and save the tribe from being wiped out.

But the tribe's spiritual leader sees your "medicine" as a threat to the spirit forces guarding the tribe. She refuses to let you treat any of the tribe.

You know that without treatment most or all of the tribe will die from disease.

What would you do? Would you "push" your beliefs on the tribe or let them die?

The campus minister responded that she would be very careful.

I asked, "So would you push your beliefs and save their lives or let them die.

She again said that she would be very careful in how she proceeded.

That's all she could muster. She couldn't say what she would be careful in doing, because that would be either intolerant or immoral.

This is why I find the modern concept of "tolerance" so morally suspect. Tolerance seems to have come to mean that all beliefs and cultures are equally moral. And yet that clearly is not true.

So, would you tolerate Muslims who allow polio to paralyze children or would you advocate pushing your beliefs on them and vaccinating children in order to save them from this "false gospel".

Ironically even the UN seems to be willing to "cram their beliefs down other peoples throats".

You might even say that the UN went on a "crusade" to save children from their parents religious beliefs.

How intolerant.

1 comment:

Jobe Lewis said...


Great observation. The tolerance that is preached today is only practical if you don't actually believe the things you profess to believe.

Sadly, this is the type of convenience store faith/religion (on my terms) that most of these tolerance preachers hold.

I personally don't see any point in believing unless you actually believe.

Interesting Stuff