The dictionary definition of tolerance is “sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own”. However, I often have observed that those who claim to be tolerant are frequently not so. For example, Richard Dawkins, the famous Oxford evolutionary biologist and atheist fumes over the evangelism of the Church wanting it banned yet he himself wants the right to evangelize his own beliefs. Unlike Peter Tatchell, a human rights campaigner and also an atheist, famous for invading the Archbishop of Canterbury’s pulpit on Easter Sunday in 1998. He is very outspoken on a wide range of issues (check out his Wikipedia page) but unlike Dawkins actually came to the defence of a Christian man who was sacked by, I think the local council, because he had said something that they disagreed with. Indeed, Tatchell himself disagreed with the man’s views but defended his right to express them.
We would all disagree with the opinions of many on a full range of topics, within our own religion and with other religions, on politics and a whole host of other issues but we should respect their right to express their view even if we think they are wrong. It is only by engaging with others that we learn and as has certainly happened to me had my opinion changed by being willing to engage in dialogue with others.
Image courtesy of socialconnectedness.org