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Opinion: We can be unique and tolerant

PUBLISHED: 14:12 15 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:12 15 May 2019

Pastor Andrew Willis, Ilford High Road, Baptist Church

Pastor Andrew Willis, Ilford High Road, Baptist Church

Archant

You may be a Sikh living in London, a Hindu in Paris, a Muslim in Christchurch or a Christian in Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan - today anyone might be attacked simply because of their faith, no matter what their age, gender or race.

Yet why should I be ashamed of my faith and its uniqueness? It is different in important respects.

For example, three weeks ago I was remembering the death of Lord Jesus on the cross for me and then celebrating his resurrection.

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Why do these beliefs matter so much to me? Because through faith in Lord Jesus who died and rose again I experience God's forgiveness and gift of life.

The answer to violent attacks is not to retreat into an "all faiths lead to God" position.

I know it is popular today to say that all beliefs, moral values, and lifestyles are equally valid and acceptable and that anyone who disagrees is bigoted. But is that so? Of course not. In fact it is sometimes those who claim to be so tolerant of all beliefs and lifestyles, that quickly accuse anyone who does not accept their opinion. But common sense says I can hold firmly my beliefs and at the same time respect others who are different to me.

It is time to stand up and say that no one should be vilified, persecuted, or killed for their faith.

It is those who kill others who should be told 'no more', not those who peacefully hold the uniqueness of their beliefs. The two words are not exclusive: we can and should be unique and tolerant.

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