I want to say this any time I hear someone use the “because it’s in the -insert religious text here-“, or “because it’s what God wants. I’m not an atheist. I’m not anything, in fact. I was brought up Roman Catholic, but when I was 16 I decided that it simply wasn’t right for me. I told my parents, who were disappointed, but they respected me for making a decision that was right for me. I researched other religions, particularly Buddhism, to see if there was a better fit, but no one religion, or established belief system fit me perfectly.
I finally decided that it was fine if I didn’t belong to a religion. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, or that you’re going to hell (I don’t believe in hell for the most part). If I want to go to heaven, or if I want to live a good life in general, all I have to do is respect others beliefs.
Intolerance comes from people disrespecting another set of beliefs, and thinking that their belief system is the only one that can be right. How do you know that though? If you have some universal answer book, then please share with us. If not, then try putting yourself in the shoes of your “enemy.” They think they’re right too, and they probably don’t possess a universal answer book. So why are you fighting?
Take the Catholic Church versus gay marriage, for instance. The Church says that marriage is the union of a man and a woman only, and the goal of marriage is procreation. It is these two factors that make marriages valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church. If you truly believe that, then fine. You, as an individual, should not marry someone of the same sex. Period. Discussion over. But why would you deny that right to someone else? If something would make someone happy, and it does not infringe upon the safety and well being of others, then there’s no reason for you to get in their way of being happy. Some Catholics do believe that homosexuality is harmful, though. That’s their right to think that. But before they persecute someone else, it is their responsibility to find evidence, real actual physical evidence, that it is harmful. It is also the responsibility of the advocates for gay marriage to aid them by listening, and by providing evidence that it isn’t harmful.
It’s why we have laws against murder. It’s very easy to prove that murdering someone is harmful to another person. I think anyone would be hard pressed to find how the marriage of a same-sex couple is harmful.
In other words, neither side has all the answers. The only way to get near that point is to listen to each other and respect each other along the way. There’s no reason to resort to violence, no reason to fall back on your religious beliefs as the sole evidence you’re basing your opinion on. And if you must fall back on what God would say, I suggest focusing your inquiry inward. If God made you, and you are good, then every one and everything else God made is also good. If God didn’t love something then it wouldn’t have been made.