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Austin Grigg

Husband, father of three boys, dabbling theologian, web developer and business owner.

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Tolerance For Anything Except God

In the tech industry, we are all for tolerance. Tolerant of lifestyle, sexual orientation, work hours, interests (unless you don’t like Star Trek, heaven forbid), programming languages, tab vs spaces (okay, maybe that is going a little too far). In general, we’re a pretty easy going crowd. Believe what you want to believe and do what feels right is kind of the mantra. The thing I’ve noticed however, is the only thing we are not tolerant of is God.

I mean, you can believe in God, but just don’t let anyone know and certainly don’t tell anyone about it. Most developers and technical people tend to be pretty analytical and scientific. God is not easily studied and tested and so we have a hard time wrapping our mind around him. We want proof, we want to see the evidence that he exists and how we came to be. And if he is real, how did our world get so jacked up and why would he have made it that way – he must be a real sinister guy… if he even exists.

To be honest, it is hard to blame people for seeing God and people of faith this way. Most of us have known someone who believed in God, or called themselves a Christian and they either looked down on you and judged you or they tried to convert you or nag you to go to church with them. Can I just say I’m sorry? We have too often been more concerned about getting you in a church than getting to know you. We might find out that you had a bad experience in church or that it makes you uncomfortable. I’m sorry when we have breached your trust or judged you for your choices.

I remember growing up in church, we went to a bowling alley and were asked to go and share our faith with a random stranger. What really happened is I went and made very awkward small talk and then spewed a jumbled mess about sin, and hell, and God and concluded with a cliché question asking if they knew where they were going when they died. The whole experience was uncomfortable, for both of us, and probably pushed that person farther away from God. So, to the person in that bowling alley, I’m sorry. I want to respect you for who you are and what you believe and I want to be myself around you – and part of me is my faith, but I’ll try not to ram it down your throat.

Most of the time we’re actually well-meaning. We really believe there is a God and that he really does love you and me, and that life is better knowing him. So, we’re telling you about God because we love you, sometimes we just don’t know how.

So, back to tolerance. We’ll try not to side-swipe you into a religious conversation or try to convert you. We would also appreciate it if you didn’t call God a sky fairy, or think we’re a bunch of Kool-Aid drinking followers that can’t think for ourselves. Most of us have taken a hard look at our beliefs, we really are trying to love people, and we wrestle with a lot of the same questions and doubts that you do.

Thanks for letting me come clean with you. If you want to chat more about this or if I’ve offended you, leave a comment or reach out to me on twitter and let me apologize and buy you a cup of coffee or a beer.

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