Today’s word – tolerance

So, it is 9 years since the incredibly disturbing but completely unmissable images of the Twin Towers.

Most of us remember where we were when it happened.  I was actually in an IDM-run training course about Microsoft Office (a complete waste of time, but a day out of the office).  I was on my way back from Shepperton with some colleagues when one of them got a call and relayed the news.  We were all in disbelief.  It was unthinkable that two great architectural and cultural pillars were crumbling before our very eyes.

I was at the top of the Twin Towers only 2 months or so before admiring the views with my sister and to think that this was happening seemed surreal.  The next couple of hours were spent watching BBC News waiting for any updates.

The events of that day have been a matter for much discussion by people much more informed than I, so I won’t go into conspiracy theories, etc.

What I think is important is that people recognise that those events shaped the world we live in today – our views on national security, foreign policy, privacy and many other areas.

But more importantly than that I think people need to see it for what it was –  a bunch of nut jobs trying to make a point.  I’m an atheist so have no religious inclination one way or another, but I understand the difference between an extremist and a practicing Christian/Muslim/Jedi-ist.  One believes theirs is the only way, the other understands that theirs is merely a ‘flavour of ice cream’ you choose on the cone we all have (a crude analogy but hopefully you get the point).

I was amazed to hear about the debate regarding the Mosque that was being built at Ground Zero.  If you’ve not heard of it, it’s not really a Mosque and it’s not really at Ground Zero.

I simply couldn’t understand the issue. And the people asking for a ban on the Mosque couldn’t see the irony in their argument.  In the same way that the 9/11 perpetrators were ‘punishing’ people for beliefs and actions of a few Americans, Muslims are now being ‘punished’ for the actions of a few Muslims.

I think people should realise that religion is nothing more (in today’s society) than some guiding principles that people choose to use as and when.  I’ve met a lot of religious people (including family members) who although practicing do not follow the rules of their religion to the Nth degree.  This is because they don’t necessarily agree with them in the context of the world as it is today.  This doesn’t make them any less believers or religious but they understand that not everything that is written is sacrosanct and must be followed.

I’m an apologist for ‘live and let live’ when it comes to religion – as long as you don’t try to push your beliefs on me then we will get along fine.  To that end, we should all just see each other for who we are and what we are about, not solely who we believe in.  I know I’m more than my Atheism, that my gran is more than her Catholicism and that my friend is more than his Christianity.

Let’s remember today as a day that marked the world in an incredible way, where people needlessly lost their lives (then and now) and think ‘Is this the way we really want the world to work for our children?’

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