Respect the Religious Beliefs of Others
BY L. RON HUBBARD
The Way to Happiness is a common-sense guide to better living. A testimony to the regard in which he held men of goodwill, no matter their faith, L. Ron Hubbard wrote this moral code for use by adults and children of all faiths.
It contains 21 precepts for successful living in a modern world. The following, Precept 18, is included here; others will be published in future editions of Freedom.
Tolerance is a good cornerstone on which to build human relationships. When one views the slaughter and suffering caused by religious intolerance throughout all the history of man and into modern times, one can see that intolerance is a very nonsurvival activity.
Religious tolerance does not mean one cannot express his own beliefs. It does mean that seeking to undermine or attack the religious faith and beliefs of another has always been a short road to trouble.
Philosophers since the time of ancient Greece have disputed with one another about the nature of God, man and the universe. The opinions of authorities ebb and flow. Just now the philosophies of “mechanism” and “materialism” — dating as far back as Egypt and Greece — are the fad: they seek to assert that all is matter and overlook that, neat as their explanations of evolution may be, they still do not rule out additional factors that might be at work, that might be merely using such things as evolution. They are, today, the “official” philosophies and are even taught in schools. They have their own zealots who attack the beliefs and religions of others: the result can be intolerance and contention.
If all the brightest minds since the fifth century B.C. or before have never been able to agree on the subject of religion or antireligion, it is an arena of combat between people that one would do well to stay out of.
Religious tolerance does not mean one cannot express his own beliefs.
In this sea of contention, one bright principle has emerged: the right to believe as one chooses.
“Faith” and “belief” do not necessarily surrender to logic: they cannot even be declared to be illogical. They can be things quite apart.
Any advice one might give another on this subject is safest when it simply asserts the right to believe as one chooses. One is at liberty to hold up his own beliefs for acceptance. One is at risk when he seeks to assault the beliefs of others, much more so when he attacks and seeks to harm others because of their religious convictions.
Man, since the dawn of the species, has taken great consolation and joy in his religions. Even the “mechanist” and “materialist” of today sound much like the priests of old as they spread their dogma.
Men without faith are a pretty sorry lot. They can even be given something to have faith in. But when they have religious beliefs, respect them.
The way to happiness can become contentious when one fails to respect the religious beliefs of others.