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bullet Hagar: "My son, always respect and honor the other fellow's point of view. Unless it's different from yours, of course." From his comic strip on 1999-MAR-3.

bullet C. Everett Koop, former U.S. Surgeon General: "The American ideal is not that we all agree with each other, or even like each other, every minute of the day. It is rather that we will respect each other's rights, especially the right to be different..."
bullet "LuQy" posted on:'s forum:... religious tolerance is basically the capacity one possesses for recognizing and respecting the beliefs of others."

bullet "REL Guy," posting on an forum "What is wrong with Christians?:" I find tolerance based on the intolerance of intolerance intolerable." 
bullet David Odell-Scott, professor & chair of the Philosophy Department at Kent State University. "We value tolerance as a virtue. Yet, consider tolerance from the perspective of the person being tolerated. Have you ever been tolerated? Or had someone say to you that they can just barely tolerate you? The experience of being tolerated by another – doesn’t feel like the one tolerating you is virtuous. “
bullet Many more quotes are available about religious tolerance and on religious intolerance.

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"Religious tolerance" is a tricky phrase that leads to a great deal of misunderstanding. It is one of many religious terms that have multiple, conflicting meanings:

bullet To many religious conservatives, a religiously tolerant person must accept the concept of pluralism -- that all religions are equally true. 1 Most find this quite objectionable, for good reason. If you believe that God is in the form of a Trinity, you cannot accept as true the concept that God is a unity, or that there are multiple Gods and/or Goddesses, or that God is not a personal deity.

bullet To most religious moderates, religious liberals and secularists, a religiously tolerant person simply allows others to pursue their own religious beliefs and practices freely, without discrimination or oppression. This includes the freedom to change one's own religion, to assemble with fellow believers, and to proselytize others. Most find this an important priority in democratic cultures.

We use the second definition on this web site. Unfortunately, this means that some religious conservatives will find this section difficult to understand. Our site receives many angry Emails for this reason.

In our religious essays, we treat beliefs and actions differently:

bullet We are tolerant of people's theological beliefs. We advocate that others be tolerant as well.

bullet We are critical of actions which harm people. We advocate that others be similarly critical.

Unfortunately, the concept "actions which harm people" is not well defined. It leads to a question whether it is acceptable, and even preferable, to harm a few individuals in order to avoid a larger harm to the society as a whole.

Religious tolerance does not require you to:

bullet Accept other religions as true.

bullet Avoid comparing one religion with another, or avoid comparing religion with a secular belief system, or avoid analyzing the scientific claims of a religion.

bullet Exhibit religious indifference.

We feel that the world would be a much better place in which to live if everyone were religiously tolerant. Civil unrest, mass murder, and genocide would be greatly reduced. However, tolerance is only the first step towards actively valuing the diversity that other faith groups contribute to a society. Unfortunately, it is a step that many people in the world have yet to take.

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  1. Unfortunately, the term term "religious pluralism" also has at least two meanings: One is that all religions are considered equally true, when interpreted within their own culture. Another is as a synonym for religious diversity. North America is religiously pluralistic in the sense that its citizens follow many different religions. It is not religiously pluralistic in that most citizens regard their own religion as the only true faith, and all others as at least partly false.

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Copyright © 1998 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update and review: 2016-MAR-06
Author: B.A. Robinson

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