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Religious tolerance & cooperation

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Just a suggestion...

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Two great must-see videos:

A very powerful one minute video by the Anti-Defamation League of what might have happened if there had been less hatred and more tolerance. This video has received about 1.2 million views by 2013-JUL. Only about 7 billion to go:


Webmaster's comment: I have watched this video dozens of times and still cannot avoid tearing up.

You Tube PSA video about religious tolerance by SoapBoxQueen:


Webmaster's comment: I love this video because it contains an unsolicited link to this web site at the end.

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Quotes promoting religious tolerance and intolerance:

bullet Zainab Al-Suwaij, co-founder of the American Islamic Congress: "We have to respect others and we have to understand and not discriminate on the basis of faith. ... When people do not talk and communicate, everything around them becomes dehumanized. ... When you mix politics and religion, you get the worst of everything."

bullet Anon: "Religious tolerance is not religious indifference. It consists of valuing the right of another person to hold beliefs that you know absolutely, and without a doubt, to be wrong."

bullet Anon: "Religious tolerance means to refrain from discriminating against others who follow a different religious path. Tolerance is more difficult to maintain when you know that your religion is true and their religion is wrong."

bullet Bumper sticker: "Truth, not tolerance." Published by Harbor House Gifts of Fullerton CA. The bumper sticker also shows a clenched fist on the left side and a cross on the right. An interesting combination. It seems to represent religious hatred, conflict, and perhaps even warfare.

bullet Paul Copan: "Contrary to popular definitions, true tolerance means ‘putting up with error’ - not ‘being accepting of all views’... It is because real differences exist between people that tolerance becomes necessary and virtuous." "True for You, But not for Me"

bullet Robert Fleishmann: "When it comes to fundamentally wrong behavior (called "sin" by the Word of God), there is no tolerance. Wrong is wrong!"

bullet The Dalai Lama: I appreciate any organization or individual people who sincerely make an effort to promote harmony among humanity, and particularly harmony among the various religions. I consider it very sacred work and very important work.

bullet Snoopy: "Have you ever thought that you might be wrong?" Proposed title for a book being written by Charlie Brown's dog in the Peanuts comic strip.

bullet Many more quotes are available about religious tolerance and about religious intolerance.

Please consider clicking on the link to our facebook page at the upper left of this essay.


  • Religious freedom includes being able to freely hold different religious beliefs, assemble with fellow believers, proselytize others, engage in inter-faith and intra-faith cooperation, etc. It is an important attribute of democracies. However, demanding the right to apply one's religious beliefs in order to denigrate, oppress, harm, and discriminate against others is another matter entirely. Sadly, the latter is the new and rapidly growing definition of the term "religious freedom." It is often a direct contradiction of the Ethic of Reciprocity, a.k.a. Golden Rule.

  • Religious tolerance: Unfortunately, the term "religious tolerance" has more than one meaning.
    1. On this site we define it as allowing followers of other religions to follow their spiritual beliefs and practices without oppression or discrimination. Religious tolerance is a fundamental right in a democracy. Most people believe that religious tolerance, using this definition, is a noble goal, and is vitally necessary for world peace.

      Of course, no right is absolute. Tolerance may not necessarily extend beyond religious beliefs to include some religious actions -- particularly those that harm, harass, or denigrate others.

    2. Others, particularly conservatives in many religions, describe "religious tolerance" differently. Many define the term as accepting all religious faiths as being equally true. This is one meaning of the phrase "religious pluralism." Since religions teach different beliefs, this definition of tolerance implies that absolute truth doesn't exist. Most religious conservatives regard their own faith as the only absolutely true belief system. Thus, many conservatives believe that religious tolerance -- using their definition of the term -- is evil.

We are continually amazed at the differences in definitions of religious terms as used by different faith groups. It makes religious debates and dialogue very difficult. It also makes our work in trying to objectively describe religious beliefs and practices quite challenging. Some examples:

  • Favoring allowing women access to abortion is often called being "pro-abortion."

  • Working to prevent same-sex couples from marrying is often called being "pro-marriage."

  • The term "Witch" within Wicca and other Neo-pagan religions is simply a description for a female or male believer. Religious conservatives often use "Witch" to refer to a Satan worshiper and/or to a person who generates evil spells. In reality, Wiccans and other Neopagans do not include the existence of Satan among their beliefs, and are specifically prohibited from issuing evil spells, manipulative spells, or curses.

  • The term "Theory" in popular usage means a simple hunch, that is not supported by hard evidence. "Theory" in science refers to an idea that starts out as a simple hunch, but which is then confirmed by careful research and is accepted as valid by the general scientific community. Many religious conservatives refer to the word "theory" in the Theory of Evolution in its non-scientific as being a simply hunch. They do not acknowledge the consensus of scientists that it is valid.

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Topics covered in this section:

bullet More quotes, and an overview < < < We suggest that you read this essay first

bullet Religious tolerance compared to anti-racism, etc; what it doesn't involve; what it does involve
bullet Background information: Causes of religious tolerance & intolerance. Opposition to religious tolerance.
bullet Additional information:
bullet Is religious tolerance enough? Examples of intolerance.

bullet Is religious criticism intolerant? Status of tolerance.
bullet Cooperation within and between religions:
bullet Cooperation & conflict motivated by religious diversity in North America

bullet Examples of religious dialogue, outreach, apology & cooperation

bullet Ecumenicalism: The urge to merge within Christianity
bullet Is religious tolerance really religious indifference?
bullet Is it moral to harm an individual in order to prevent a larger harm to society?
bullet About the Bible:
bullet Religious tolerance in the Bible

bullet Religious intolerance in the Bible

bullet Religious exclusivity in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament)
bullet How people react to religious diversity:
bullet Religious exclusivism, pluralism, and inclusivism
bullet A vision of religious diversity and tolerance
bullet An essay donated by Rabbi Allen Maller: "How religious Americans view those of other faiths"
bullet Other topics:
bullet Social networking with a religious tolerance theme on facebook; our facebook group

bullet Times and places of religious tolerance in the west

bullet An essay donated by Bilal Cleland: "Is religious tolerance a passing phenomenon?" Religious tolerance in the West's past & future

bullet Test your religious tolerance

bullet Cathedral of the Pines from inclusiveness to intolerance and back

bullet Building a mosque a few blocks away from 9/11's "ground zero" in New York City

bullet Center for Religious Freedom's book on religious freedom, worldwide

bullet Books, videos, and web site links:
bullet Books dealing with religious tolerance


A PBS program and more than a dozen YouTube videos about religious tolerance: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

bullet Internet sites that promote religious tolerance

bullet Internet sites that teach religious tolerance

bullet A "Religious Intolerance Test" has been prepared by Thomas J. Runquist. Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store

bullet "The Comparative Study of Religion" is a blog by Professor Arvind Sharma at McGill University that deals with comparative religion and religious tolerance. See:

Related topics on this web site:

You may be interested in viewing the following sections dealing with the opposite of religious tolerance:

bullet Religiously motivated hatred, animosity & intolerance

bullet Religiously motivated oppression, discrimination and conflict

bullet Religiously motivated violence, murder & genocide

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Imagine a world without hate," Anti-Defamation League, at:
  2. Soap Box Queen, "Refuse to Stereotype," at:

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Copyright © 1998 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update and review: 2015-OCT-18
Author: B.A. Robinson

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