Should We Tolerate Outrageous Beliefs?

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By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness

Terence McKenna once said that rather than tolerating everyone’s beliefs, we should willingly call people out on beliefs we think are outrageous. In his eyes, to believe something despite evidence to the contrary is to halt the intellectual and spiritual evolution of society.

While he was known for criticizing mainstream science, he admired that science is a process of proving what isn’t true so we can figure out what is, which requires scientists to admit when they’re wrong about something.

With this mindset, he felt that it was appropriate and necessary to point out the flaws in outdated or scientifically invalidated beliefs.

As an intellectual, he was more interested in researching, theorizing about and, through psychedelic drugs, exploring a higher state of consciousness than following someone’s philosophy or superstition. He also discouraged following gurus and encouraged letting nature be our teacher.

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While there are some things I agree with him about, I can’t endorse a lack of tolerance – even for outrageousness. I know this is a complicated issue and I’ve even condemned things I thought were ridiculous, but there’s a fine line between dedication to truth and intolerance to things that are outside of our comfort zone.

I know it’s dangerous for an erroneous belief like the earth being flat to gain influence in society simply because so many people start to believe it, but as difficult as it is, we just have to accept that everyone thinks differently.

The best thing we can do in the face of the ignorance that’ll always come from certain people or groups is to stand strong in our truth and keep trying to raise awareness. Sure, we should say something if a ridiculous or violent belief gains too much influence, but other than that, we just have to let people live the way they’re going to live.

“People will always be who they want, and that’s what really makes the world go ‘round.” – Damian Marley

If they’re set in their ways, nothing we say or do will convince them otherwise so we might as well focus on those who are interested in learning the truth and strive to spread a genuine and open-minded (but not too open-minded) view on life.

Some people are worried that the world isn’t evolving, but devolving, because of the ridiculousness that pervades our culture. A lot of them believe religion is largely responsible for society’s lack of true intellectual and spiritual awareness, and alternative forms of spirituality like the New Age movement are also criticized.

This has caused many in the conscious community to renounce the New Age movement and embrace a more unique form of spirituality that’s open-minded but still rational, reasonable and discerning.

There’s nothing wrong with renouncing the New Age or any philosophy, but it shouldn’t give us free reign to criticize those who still believe it.

Regardless of the importance of a genuine intellectual search for truth, our judgment and condemnation will have negative repercussions and ultimately set society back. It’s ironic, because the intention is to move forward but in terms of tolerance and unity, we’d regress.

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If we want to increase the chance of people working together to make the world a better place, then criticizing each other’s views on life isn’t really the best way to go. Some people are more concerned about truth than bringing the world together, but in my opinion, unity is a crucial aspect of collective evolution.

Respecting people whose beliefs we don’t share is a small price to pay for the opportunity to heal the earth and collectively evolve, and it only requires us not to be so insistent that what we know is the whole truth. Nobody knows the whole truth; even the most dedicated explorers of consciousness.

Religious tolerance is often criticized because of the perceived lack of intellectualism inherent in religion and other forms of spirituality, but in my opinion, tolerance in every form is crucial and inevitable so we might as well get on board now.

It isn’t about being passive or lazy in the pursuit of knowledge or in how we treat others; it’s about working together with respect for our differences so we can reverse the hellish circumstances in which we’ve placed ourselves.

It’s about learning to love again, which is difficult from an intellectual standpoint, and it all becomes clear when the heart is open. When we feel the love flowing, we’ll want to share the good vibes with everyone regardless of what they believe or how they live.

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