2016 is approaching and it’s safe to say our generation has taken many different strides in what we believe to be the right direction. The open-mindedness of young adults today has been monumental in bringing about change in this country. The Equinox would like to commend the people of our generation for this type of behavior. However, we also realized something we’re not so proud of our generation for: being so easily offended.
We believe in the importance of tolerance for all different lifestyles. Living in a country founded on freedom, we strongly believe that people should be able to express themselves in whatever way they wish. We believe all religions as long as they aren’t too extreme, should be respected. The notion that we can agree to disagree is something that we believe people should try to live by. Despite this, we have found that people often become offended by ideas that don’t coincide with their own beliefs.
With the holiday season in full swing, the issue becomes more prominent. According to a Pew research poll, “Nine-in-ten Americans say they celebrate Christmas, and three-quarters say they believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.” It goes without saying that the majority of Americans probably participate in some kind of Christmas celebration. This is not to say we should ignore those people who celebrate different holidays. We of course should acknowledge those people as well and respect their freedom to enjoy whatever holiday they choose. With that said, we believe people should try to push aside their own moral beliefs and accept that people are different.
Oftentimes we have to walk on eggshells during the holiday season to refrain from possibly offending the people around us. Some people become offended when merely seeing a lit Christmas tree in passing. Our stance is that people should try to take other’s beliefs with a grain of salt. Acknowledge them for what they are, and do nothing more. Simply walking by a Christmas tree doesn’t mean the people who assembled the tree are forcing Christianity down their throat. It’s a representation of a holiday that many people hold dear to their hearts.
The same goes for people who celebrate less popular holidays. If someone celebrates Hanukkah and wants to showcase a menorah, so be it. The individual looking at the menorah shouldn’t feel a sense of discomfort when looking at something they don’t necessarily believe in. Unless it is harming you or infringing upon your fundamental human rights, what about it is so bothersome?
All humans differ in their moral beliefs and religious practices. If we are constantly all offended by our opposing beliefs, that doesn’t leave much room for diversity and difference among human beings. We don’t believe that people should force their religion or beliefs on others, but we do encourage people to develop thicker skins.
Being overly sensitive will not benefit you in the long run. It is inevitable that in a world so vastly diverse, we are going to come across people with different cultural beliefs. If we condition ourselves to throw our hands up in disbelief each time we disagree with something, we are going to run into issues on a daily basis for the rest of our lives. Yes, many social issues are worthy of our attention. Racism, sexism and homophobia, among other things, are certainly things we should fight to eliminate. But create a balance. Don’t take everything to heart so often.
Regardless of what you believe, the holiday season is intended to be a time of joy and bliss. When you get offended by anything that differs from your beliefs, you’re standing in the way of your own happiness. Be mindful of other holidays, but don’t also stay true to your beliefs.
We propose to you this idea; next time you come across a religious representation that you may not necessarily agree with, look at it with the mentality that we are lucky to be living in a country that allows freedom of religion.