Sunday, 26 April 2009

Tolerance and the limits of acceptance

From The Guardian 'Face to Faith', David Bryant writes, "Tolerance of other faiths is not enough - we must strive for true acceptance":

[...] As we sink deeper into our private kingdoms, intolerance turns to active hostility. Disciples of other faiths are seen as potential threats, hopelessly misguided and far from God. Finally the whole religious edifice dissolves into war, fanaticism, discord and violence. At that point, the last faint glimmer of spirituality dies and only hatred remains.

Most people who believe in God take a less rigid stance when confronted with other faiths and opt for tolerance. We engage in cross-cultural dialogue and ensure that education is, as far as possible, all-embracing, not skewed towards one particular set of beliefs. We endeavour to set up a society which is broad enough to incorporate our different codes of dress, manners, customs and religious observances. On occasion faith leaders appear on public platforms shaking hands.

That is all right as far as it goes. But tolerance is an undemanding virtue, a poor effort at friendship. It often means no more than relegating to the category of irrelevant or faintly curious the deeply held beliefs of others. "So long as they don't encroach on my way of life, I'm easy." Or, "You get on with your rites and I'll stick to mine." This is a step up from religious despising, but it produces little more than an uneasy truce, an ineffectual admission that we belong to a multicultural, theologically disparate society and must make the best of a bad job.

Something far more radical and painfully sacrificial is needed if we are to ever engage meaningfully. We need to bring about a world of mutual, outward-going respect, a warmth that far surpasses mere tolerance. Read more

And from The Telegraph, Taliban gunmen shooting couple dead for adultery caught on camera:

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