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Tolerance implies the power to destroy something or control it but not using that power.  If tolerance sounds passive aggressive that is because it is.  Tolerance is grudging acceptance but is such acceptance a terrible thing? No.  Real respect for the beliefs of others means you take them seriously which means you may have to criticise or challenge them.

It is humanly and totally impossible to lie so well that the lie will be able to pose permanently as the truth. Truth is intolerant to error. We cannot be truly tolerant to error for it is not about us. It is up to its enemy: truth to be tolerant to it and that is the one thing it will never be.

7 Deadly "Sins"


Seven deadly sins of intolerance are listed as follows:

1. Intolerance is a personal failure to accept reality

2. Intolerance is a failure of intelligence

3. Intolerance is an error of judgment about Ultimate Truth

4. Intolerance is an error which breeds psychological disorder

5. Intolerance is an error which breeds social disorder

6. Intolerance is an error which breeds political disorder

7. Intolerance is a pragmatic failure: it doesn’t work

Somebody or some religion makes a claim and no support from evidence exists.  They might call you dogmatic or closed-minded or bigoted for not believing or considering it.  But they are the bigots for they are being unreasonable and difficult.  If you ignore the claim that is not the same as rejecting it as nonsense.  Tolerance and respect for evidential support go together.


Some quotes

"You have your beliefs, and another has his; you hold to your particular form of religion and another to his; you are a Christian, another is a Mahomedan, and yet another a Hindu. You have these religious dissensions and distinctions, but yet you talk of brotherly love, tolerance and unity - not that there must be uniformity of thought and ideas. The tolerance of which you speak is merely a clever invention of the mind; this tolerance merely indicates the desire to cling to your own idiosyncrasies, your own limited ideas and prejudices, and allow another to pursue his own. In this tolerance there is no intelligent diversity, but only a kind of superior indifference. There is utter falsity in this tolerance. You say, 'You continue in your own way, and I shall continue in mine; but let us be tolerant, brotherly.' When there is true brotherliness, friendliness, when there is love in your heart, then you will not talk of tolerance. Only when you feel superior in your certainty, in your position, in your knowledge, only then do you talk of tolerance. You are tolerant only when there is distinction. With the cessation of distinction, there will be no talk of tolerance. Then you will not talk of brotherhood, for then in your hearts you are brothers."  - Jiddu Krishnamurti

Tolerance is the virtue of the man with no principles."  - Chesterton.



Philosophers have divined that love of neighbour and love of ideology have interesting differences. The first is about acting in the best way for others. Not acting is acting if you are sure it is for the best. The second is passive – it goes with the flow.  Tolerance of a person is love but tolerance of an idea or ideology is just laziness and vice.


There is passive tolerance and active tolerance. Passive tolerance just lets things be. Active tolerance is when the state or organisation commands tolerance. It works for tolerance. Both forms of tolerance can protect evil structures. They do not take sides at least in many things.
The dictionaries define tolerance in different ways.

#A fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own.

#The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.

#Sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own.

#Lack of opposition for beliefs or practices differing from one's own.

#The act or capacity of enduring; endurance.

#The act of allowing something.


True tolerance is allowing an error to be held by a person after trying to refute it. You decide not to force the person or pester her in order that she might come round. This is not permission to err but respect for the person.  It is respect for the truth for a person needs to see the truth for herself or himself and it may sink in somewhere down the line or have sunk in despite appearances.   The purpose of such tolerance is to pave the way for the truth. Most of what we say and think is not completely correct so if people express diverging views and opinions bits of truth may be supplied and be brought together so that all have an improved perception of and knowledge of the truth.


The biggest enemy of peace and tolerance and peace of mind is not censorship but error. Error is worse than lies in the sense that lying thrives on our vulnerability to error. Error and lies and censorship take away our right to look at both sides and work out the truth. Tolerance is only about truth.  Even our wish for people to be treated well is about truth for you need it to be true that x is the right thing to do for them or the best.
On Tolerance
Tolerance means you allow people to do what you disapprove of and criticise. It does not mean you must not criticise what they do. In fact if you didn't express your disapproval it wouldn't be tolerance. Religion tries to stop people criticising it. No liar or fraud likes to be looked at by the sceptic.
Tolerance is a negative emotion - its a bad feeling. It is bad to feel you have to put up with something you feel is bad. It makes you yearn to control those if you can. If you say, "I tolerate X for only a few will engage in it and the sky will not fall down if I tolerate it" you are admitting you would not tolerate X if more people did it. This is hypocritical. It is stupid to say you will tolerate what you see as evil as long as not too many engage in it. What about the principle? Once you abandon the principle, the morals and any good it produces will be undermined and destroyed.
Tolerance means refusing to persecute people or to discriminate against them because of their beliefs.  It means putting up with the people if you cannot do any better or do anything to encourage them to rethink.
The only way we should be intolerant of their beliefs is to try and wean them away from them by gentle and kindly means. But that means you are being tolerant of them. You are merely letting yourself be the tool they use to have another look at their beliefs. The tolerant person is always open to revising and updating their views and welcome anybody who gives them something to think about. They welcome the person speaking up even if they feel that what is said makes them uncomfortable.
If all who contradict the truth are forcibly silenced there will be no prospect of growth in wisdom. The advantage of contradicting truth is that in time its importance and content become clearer. Also, there will be bloodshed, there will be a suspicion that they are silenced because they have the truth and because none of us are infallible. People have are right to speak in their own defence.
Tolerance cannot tolerate intolerance. For example, even the tolerant person will not say, “I tolerate whatever you do to me. Take away my rights even my life if you wish.” Everybody is intolerant of something. If you insist there is no truth you are intolerant of those who say there is. No matter what one is intolerant of you can say to one, "Is your intolerance better than mine?" Those who say you must disapprove of nothing disapprove when you disapprove! Intolerance, disapproval and thinking you are right are simply facts of life and cannot be avoided. Self-righteousness which is wondering, "Why can't this person see the superiority of my way of thinking about things and doing them?" is also unavoidable.
Some intolerance is absolutely needed for self-preservation. For example, you go for a job interview and prepare well for you won’t tolerate anybody else getting the job. You do not force the company to get the job but you practice intolerance in the form of trying to be the best person in the hope of stopping another getting the job.
Sometimes tolerance is defined as allowing another person to have harmful and wrong views and doing nothing about it. But nobody can have those views only yourself. Nobody else can decide what you will believe and what you will not believe. They would need to become you to do it.
Tolerance is compatible with respect for the person. Intolerance can be compatible. It depends. You can oppose a person's views totally and respect that person. For example, we totally disapprove of murder but the killer still has to be respected. We send him to jail because we have to - not because we disrespect him.
Tolerance the Problems
Tolerance implies that the tolerated are less than good or less than right if not bad or wrong. When you say you tolerate other beliefs your tolerance is an offensive insult to those who hold those beliefs when you cannot provide evidence for your own belief. Every religion claims to be right and that the others are wrong so tolerance is the best it can give. When they have no evidence or only insufficient evidence, we cannot be blamed for saying that the religionist’s tolerance is an insult to followers of other religions and leads to bigotry and division.
Tolerance is a paradox. We often tolerate in others what we find intolerable. This shows the importance of trying to be as non-judgemental as possible. There is a risk that our tolerance will collapse in the face of what we find intolerable. In other words, if somebody is promiscuous or something else that society looks down on, prove that the person's deeds are bad. If you can't, then it is evil and dangerous to find their behaviour intolerable even if you do tolerate it.

Nobody is allowed to be offended by being tolerant. The tolerant don't allow it. How tolerant of them!
Many humanists reject tolerance for tolerance means putting up with something bad so it is quite slighting and grudging. If people believe what they are doing is good we should encourage them to do it even if it is contrary to our principles. But nevertheless we have to try and win others to our way of thinking because it is the only way to certainty and joy.
Can we encourage a person to commit murder if they believe murder is right? We have to encourage them to do what they think is right but invite them to think more about it first. We are not encouraging murder for we are concerned only with them doing what they believe in. Nevertheless we want them to see the abhorrence of murder by themselves.
If you encourage a Muslim to go to the Mosque though you do not approve of Islam, you are not being a hypocrite or intending to further Islam but you are furthering a different and separate thing, the autonomy of the person. People do often make logical mistakes.

Humanists hate opinions that look down on Atheism and even religion for trying to promote its teaching. 
Humanists hate spiritual opinions that look down on Atheism and the scientific method. Humanists hate it when religion tries to promote its teaching.


Humanists know that Humanism is the method of getting to the truth. Religion opposes that method thus for religion to promote itself at all is for it to damage


Humanism and the majesty of its ethos that we believe nothing until we learn the case in its favour.  An objection to our stance is a gift and leads us to ways to improve our arguments and show that we are the true servants of reason. It helps us to know that Humanism is the truth.

We can respect the people who have wrong beliefs and be sensitive with them but we cannot respect the beliefs for we oppose them and want them destroyed. We seek to destroy them not by antagonising or upsetting anybody unnecessarily but with understanding and patience and good-will. We politely challenge their beliefs with questions and they will doubt. They cannot expect us not to work against their beliefs for that is denying us the right to be people of integrity and we cannot expect them to not work against ours. They should if they think they should. Never argue. Talk and discuss and do it nicely even under the worst provocation. Atheism is love and only being happy and spreading that happiness to others can spread Atheism.
Does Tolerance Exist?
Tolerance means letting something you disapprove of be. The trouble is, suppose John will be sacked unless he listens to his bosses' verbal abuse directed at him. If John cannot leave his job as he really has no choice, then is John being tolerant? No. His intention is not to put up with the abuse. He simply has no choice. He may look like he is acting tolerant but he is not. We all put up with things for we have no choice. If tolerance exists then it is uncommon. We cannot then be judged tolerant just because of appearances. The worry about that is that we are essentially intolerant most of the time. Thus it is downright vicious to invent a faith or religion or anything that gives us more to be intolerant about.
People say, "I cannot change your opinion of me as a member of a particular religion or what you think of me or it. You have to do that yourself." So they conclude that it is none of their business what you think of them for they can do nothing about it. This contains the hidden idea that if they could do something about it they should and its a pity they can't. This is not tolerance but being forced to put up with it. To force a person to be tolerant is as impossible as forcing them to be loving. It cannot be done. You may manage to make them seem to be tolerant but that is all. It follows then that, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as tolerance. Tolerance is just the label we put on people being unable to give free rein to their hate.
Fake Tolerance
Fake tolerance is disguised intolerance.
Fake tolerance can be a problem. Here is an example of fake tolerance. John says he will write a book debunking the Catholic Church. Jean the Mormon urges him to be tolerant. But she is being intolerant for she is ordering him what to do. She is preaching a principle at him instead of guiding him in such a way that he adopts the principle as if it were his own idea if it makes any sense. And its none of her business - she is a Mormon. Also, it is his right to author the book as long as his intention is to enlighten those who are open to being enlightened. If Mormonism is true the challenge to its teaching will only accentuate that. How dare she!
Another example of fake tolerance is asking for your opinion to be accepted as something that should be protected from encouragement to revise it. "I have a right to my opinion" is how it is phrased. It will be used against somebody who helps you see that your opinion may be wrong. Its euphemistic for, "I don't respect you for I want you deny you the right to encourage me to re-think. My opinion is more important than you or the truth." Saying you have the right to your opinion is fine when nobody knows or can know the best thing to do. But to use it to silence somebody is an abuse. If something really is your opinion you will welcome any challenges to it. An opinion is about what you think is true but because you are not sure of it being true you will be willing to give it up when you get further light. If you won't hear it being challenged or debated you are really degrading yourself for the sake of what you call your opinion.
The person who knows how to deal with an opinion will use questions in order to help the other person rethink it. Using "I have a right to my opinion" to stop the questions is really just saying, "I am a bigot where you are your questions are concerned. My opinion comes first even before truth. I am addicted to my opinion."
Tolerance is putting up with what you consider bad. It is best to be as tolerant as possible because tolerance implies a judgment that something you are doing is bad. Tolerance is compatible with helping a person to see through their religious faith.  It demands it if the faith is too controlling or anti-truth.


Saying things like, "Frankly, I couldn't care less about any one's religious delusion as long as they are law abiding, do no harm to minors (deny health care based on faith healing) and don't want to impose via public policies their religious strictures on my personal life" forgets what happens if people are wrong and errors lead to more errors. And if you are in error you are unsafe in the sense that there could be risks involved that you have not met yet.

Do you really want a Christian world if the Bible is actually no more divine than a book of nursery rhymes? We challenge each other day in and day out and there is nothing wrong with that. Those who say faith is fine as long as it is law abiding and they don't care are trying to protect religion and faith from a challenge. They are just selfish and lazy.