This I Believe

Oscar - Farmers Branch, Texas
Entered on November 29, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: tolerance

Is Tolerance a Way for Living a Happy Life?

I was raised in a world where you could only get married with someone of the opposite sex, where a child was only supposed to be born inside a marriage, and where marriage was forever. By that time in my country, The Dominican Republic (DR), the Catholic Church had more followers than any other. I was educated in a Catholic school where I was taught that there were Ten Commandments and seven sacraments to follow as a guide to a happy life and I believed it. Suddenly, I started learning about a battle between religions. The Catholic Church thought that its beliefs were the real and the acceptable ones to have a happy life while the Evangelical Church thought the same. Everybody defended his/her religion and beliefs; they were becoming enemies. Nowadays in 2006, things have changed in the world, and I believe that tolerance is the path to having a happy life.

“Everybody believe in something, you just have to remember that God exists and He is there for you,” my mom said when I was going to a Christian church. They were trying to convince me that they were better than the Catholic Church because they were not as liberal as the Catholics. I had a dilemma: are they really better?, No. I went to meetings several times and went out socially with some Christians, but there were still some things I did not like about them; They liked to talk really loud in church, and they questioned me in a strict way when I missed a meeting. Eventually something happened that made me doubt their sincerity. The pastor and one of the followers argued, and the follower decided he was going to start his own church because he was not agreeing with the pastor on certain things. That event changed the group; now they were divided in two.

After the group was divided in two, I stopped going to that church. The members tried to contact me several times, and every time we ran into each other in the street, they were still pressuring me to go to church. At the end, I just said, “What is wrong with being Catholic or another religion that is not yours?” they did not answer my question, so I answered myself saying, “There is nothing wrong they just need to be tolerant with the others.” I realized how important to be tolerant is nowadays. It’s not a matter of religion only; it’s because all the different cultures, the different types of personalities, and the different beliefs that everyone has. When you are tolerant, you can accept the others just the way they are and share a happy life with them.