When violence erupts over religious differences, victimizing thousands of men , women, and children, intolerence becomes everyone's challenge. Chronic hostilities in a variety of countries symptomatize mankind's acute need to love even when treated unfaily. As timely today as it was centuries ago is Christ Jesus' beatitude: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." n1
n1 Matthew 5:10;
When our response to intolerance is deep affection for mankind -- when we find ourselves growing beyond hatred and fear, beyond hurting and being hurt -- we begin to approach as an individual divine right the "heaven" that belongs to those who are "persecuted for righteousness'm sake."
Not a physical location, heaven is all-inclusive divine harmony, attainable through spiritual awakening. Though warring attitudes may seem to obscure it, heaven can't really be absent or exclude anyone.
We awake spiritually to pure harmony in proportion as we understand and respect the rights of true individuality. When we measure up to regarding and treating others as we would have them regard and treat us, we measure up to a tenet that Christians call the Golden Rule. But aspirations somewhat similar to the Golden Rule are held in common by Judaism, Islam, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism -- all major religions.
Ideals outlive ideologies. Through the action of nonsectarian divine law, practices in individual spiritual regeneration, unprejudiced thinking gradually develops and disseminates to dissipate "holy" wars, verbal or violent. But the quality of impartial loving doesn't need a future rebirth in order to calm differences. It can be instantly effective.
As a moral step toward harmony, obedience to the spirit of the Golden Rule may be trampled upon but never trampled out.The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, n2 though at times maligned for her convictions, consistently chose to love people of all creeds and people of no creeds. She steadfastly maintained her declared position: "I would no more quarrel with a man because of his religion than I would becuase of his art." n3