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Religious Tolerance logo

Religious hatred, conflict, etc.

Definitions of "religious tolerance."
Quotes on religious intolerance

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Definition of "religious tolerance:"

Before we can discuss religious tolerance, we have to define it. Unfortunately, many religious terms have multiple -- often contradictory meanings. This term is no example.

Many definitions exist for "religious tolerance." Two of the most common are:

  1. Religious tolerance is about beliefs. Some religious conservatives equate religious tolerance as the acceptance of religious pluralism. That is the belief that all religions are equally valid within their own culture of origin. Religious conservatives often believe in exclusivity -- that their religion is the only "true" faith. and that all other faith traditions are in error. Thus, many religious conservatives consider religious tolerance very negatively. Josh McDowell and Bob Hostelter promote this definition in their book "The New Tolerance: How a cultural movement threatens to destroy you, your faith and your children." 1
  2. Religious tolerance is about civil rights: Others define religious tolerance as a human rights issue. Religious tolerance means that you favor extending religious freedom to people of all faith traditions, even though you probably disagree with their validity of theiir beliefs and/or practices. In turn, religious freedom means that a person can, without oppression or discrimination:


    Believe, worship and witness as they wish;


    Practice freedom from belief, worship and witnessing if they wish;


    Change their beliefs or religious affiliation;


    Within reasonable limits, proselytize others in order to convert others to their belief system, and/or


    Associate with others to express their beliefs. 2

    John Laursen's, "Religious Toleration: 'The Variety of Rites' from Cyrus to Defoe," describes the history of religious tolerance over millennia and around the world. 3

We use the second definition in this essay and throughout the rest of this web site. That is, to be religiously tolerant, one must accept the rights of other people to hold religious beliefs that disagree with one's own. This can be difficult for religious conservatives who often believe that people with incorrect beliefs will spend eternity being tortured in Hell, and only those with correct beliefs will spend eternity in Heaven. These beliefs often motivate religious conservatives to proselytize persons that they regard as non-believers.

Quotations on religious intolerance:

bulletAnon: An Email to this web site: "There is no such thing as 'religious tolerance' as far as God and Heaven is concerned. We are either 'in' Christ or not."
bulletAnon: Christian bumper sticker by Harbor House Gifts of Fullerton CA stating: "Truth, not tolerance." The bumper sticker shows a clenched fist on the left side and a Christian cross on the right.
bulletGeorge H.W. Bush: (R) as Presidential candidate on 1987-AUG-27: "No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."
bulletHillary Clinton: "In every religion, there are those who would drape themselves in the mantle of belief and faith only to distort it's most sacred teachings -- [by] preaching intolerance and resorting to violence"
bulletBenjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), former Prime Minister of England: "The Jews are a nervous people. Nineteen centuries of Christian love have taken a toll."

John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court: "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

bulletBob Jones Jr., of Bob Jones University, referring to the Roman Catholic Church: "Romanism is a pagan counterfeit of the Christian religion, ancient paganism and idolatry, claiming to be the church which Christ founded...The Roman Church is not another Christian denomination. It is a satanic counterfeit, an ecclesiastic tyranny over the souls of men, not to bring them to salvation but to hold them bound in sin and to hurl them into eternal damnation." 4
bulletFederico Mayor, Director-general of UNESCO (1987-1999) "It is intolerable that the world's religions -- founded on the values of love and compassion -- should provide a pretext for the expression of hatred and violence."
bulletJosh McDowell, at a Youth for Christ rally in 1994: "Tolerance is the worst roar of all, including tolerance for homosexuals, feminists, and religions that don't follow Christ." 1
bulletPat Robertson, Fundamentalist Christian minister, on The 700 Club episode for 1991-JAN-14: "You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don't have to be nice to them."
bulletAdrian Rodgers prominent Evangelical teleminister: "Never, never, never join a movement that persecutes people because of their faith."

bulletAndrew Sandlin, writing for the Chalcedon Foundation, calls for Christian believers to pray to God to exterminate those who think differently from themselves: "God extends his grace to his people (and mankind in general) when he destroys the wicked, because in destroying the wicked, he is averting their evil works that so plague God's children and mankind in general. When he maims and kills cultists and theological liberals, he prevents the spread of heretical doctrine that damns souls...God's judgment -- not his favor -- leads the world to righteousness. We should petition God's judgment on the wicked because judgment is a form of grace." 5

Our web site has many more quotations on religious intolerance and religious tolerance listed.

References used:

  1. Josh D. McDowell & Bob Hostetler, "The New Tolerance: How a Cultural Movement Threatens to Destroy You, Your Faith, and Your Children," Tyndale House, (1998). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  2. Paraphrased, with changes, from Forum 18 at:
  3. John Laursen, "Religious Toleration: 'The Variety of Rites' from Cyrus to Defoe," Palgrave Macmillan, (1999). Read reviews or order this book
  4. Bob Jones, Jr., "Romanism and the Charismatic Movement: Because they ignore the Word of God, both papists and charismatics are doing the work of the devil," Faith for the Family, 1981, Bob Jones University, at:
  5. Andrew Sandlin, "Hatred for God's Enemies," at:

Site navigation:

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Copyright © 2006 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original publishing date: 2006-SEP-07
Latest update on: 201-OCT-22
Author. B.A. Robinson

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