I know this weeks post seems obscure, but I thought it would probably be relevant to Pagans in general.
Intolerance adj unwilling to tolerate differences in opinions, practises or beliefs
I think ‘intolerance’ is an important word to think about as Pagans as it’s something that’s generally low lying- it’s not as big as ‘discrimination’ or ‘humiliation’ it’s not slander or libel, it’s that little niggling feeling that you can get with some people.
I find that intolerance towards my faith or other things generally comes out in the form of someone listening to what I have to say but then reacting as though I’ve just thrown water in their face- they won’t attack me or get angry, they’ll just sort of bristle and back away from me, either verbally or physically.
So, how should we deal with intolerance? Should we even deal with it all?
On one hand I would say to just let intolerant people be, if they can’t accept your views then you just have to take the high road and move on away from them.
However, the definition of ‘intolerance’ implies that someone is unwilling to tolerate anything different to their own opinion- so surely that should be challenged?
Intolerance is difficult to deal with because it’s so underhand- it’s pretty easy to tell from body language and general knowledge of a person whether or not they’re rattled by what you’re saying, they can pull all the faces they want but you can’t do anything or you’ll end up unleashing a hornet’s nest.
But what if intolerance leads to something more? Don’t we have a duty to step in and stop it reaching that point?
I don’t believe that intolerance alone leads to violent action, I think that there needs to be something else to provoke that. So intolerance alone isn’t dangerous.
At the end of the day you have to use your own judgement when dealing with an intolerant person- most of the time I would advise taking the high road and gritting your teeth, calling someone out on their intolerance can often be that something else that provokes a strong reaction.
Being different is a difficult path to walk- but always remember why you walk it. You will meet people who will have a problem with you, I promise that you will, but it’s really not the end of the world.