Tolerance without understanding seems dishonest. Many “atheists” simply do not understand religion. How could they? They either have not been exposed to it and do not know what it is about, or they come from a fundamentalistic background and have been hurt badly by religion. Many “atheists” simply do not understand religion, but are very honest people. Their honesty therefore forces them to become judgemental. Dishonesty is not an option, because they are moral people. Deal with it, you fundies. The only solution then, is understanding. I seriously think we need to teach religion in schools, although that is a very, very, very difficult thing to do, because of the religious views of the teachers.
I would not vote for someone who does not understand religion. I don’t care if he’s an atheist or a theist, if he wants my vote, he needs to understand how the population thinks. The Out-Campaign serves only to dilute the meaning of the label “atheist” to the point where it no longer means “I don’t understand religion”. At that point, it becomes harder to discriminate based on how informed or uninformed they are.
South Africa long had the policy of not accepting blood donations from non-whites, purely because statistically, “white blood” was more likely to be AIDS-free. How is that for a can of worms? Statistics, dangerous stuff. Naturally, this policy was forced to change. I don’t know what statistics they now use to determine what blood is “safer” and what is “less safe”. Skin colour is a label, just like “atheist”. It means only what we make it mean. What is wrong with “freethinker”, “post-theist”, “post-atheist”, “naturalist”, or… um… I dunno, a gazillion other words? Ah, yes, we need to “stand together”. I think Dawkins realised he’s all alone (that’s hyperbole, guys), and created the Out Campaign to rally people to his side, when he noticed The God Delusion was not having the desired effect. (That’s just what I think, not necessarily true.)
Anyway, back to the story: I was also unable to tolerate things that seemed silly or wrong, but I hated being judgemental. I’m too compassionate for that. It nearly killed me. So which side do I choose? I saw truth on both sides of the fence. This was really, really tough. But I kept searching. He who searches, shall find. After a lot of grief, I reached a point where I finally understood. Now I don’t even have to “tolerate”, I can simply “love”. Love all of humanity in all of its great diversity. And English sucks, because it only has one word for “love”. Kill the other languages, and you kill lots of wisdom about “love”.
So which side of the fence? You have only to realise that there is no fence!