Tolerance and Belief

Religious freedom has given birth to some interesting beliefs (outside of religious beliefs) as to how we should consider, think about, or believe about those who exercise their political freedom to believe what they want when that belief doesn’t coincide with our own.

Of course religious freedom means that we must tolerate each other’s beliefs: meaning that we don’t malign, hate, discriminate, or lash out verbally or physically against those who believe different than we do. And that includes those who believe in nothing at all.


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This freedom we enjoy, however, has also created some interesting beliefs of its own that do spill over into an almost “religious belief.”  To begin with, and which seems to stand to reason due to the fact that each religion is so divergent from the other is the concept of “Exclusive Belief.” This idea, simply put, is that a person believes that the religion he accepts as “gospel,” is the only true religion sanctioned by God and designed to bring about God’s will for mankind.  There is nothing new about this particular belief.

But the open mindedness that our religious tolerance has led to a newer concept: “Plurasim.” This idea is taking tolerance a step further by excluding the idea that there is only one true religion. God, in essence didn’t have a particular plan for mankind, but had many. This means that all religions are true – at least for those who practice that particular religion. This isn’t quite the same as taking tolerance to acceptance, but it is bringing it really close.

The final idea which religious tolerance has led to is the idea that one’s religion is the only true religion, but that other religions have elements of truth to them. This is more an “Inclusive Belief,” where though the other religions don’t quite get what God had in mind, they have stumbled across some of the true faith and are therefore partially correct in their thinking.

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All Religions Deserve Tolerance

Today, there are many religions that exist throughout the world. Each of these religions has its own particular set of beliefs. Although each of these religions can vary dramatically, they all bring forth positive and beautiful teachings in which the entire world can benefit if people of all faiths would simply put aside their intolerances.

In almost all religions, the people who follow it believe in the teachings of a central leader. In most instances, the leader of each religion has a text in which his followers refer to when they need guidance in the matters of life. Those members who practice the Jewish faith look to the Torah as the backbone of their religious teachings. Most followers of Islam are of Muslim descent. They follow the teachings set forth in the Koran. Catholics typically use a particular version of the Bible to carry out their teachings.

In spite of what some people who hold radical beliefs want you to believe, there are few instances in which religious texts advocate doing harm to those people who do not share the views of that particular religion. Rather, these texts impress upon its followers to be tolerant of differences while also trying to teach those people about the advantages of that particular religion.

In addition, these texts set out times to pray, rest, and work. These are all similar objectives in each of these books. By following the detailed guidelines in each of the texts, these religious followers find themselves to be in an agreeable rhythm. This rhythm allows each person the time to be introspective with regards to their spirituality while also leaving time for socialization. The social times are the periods when a person might share the attributes of his or her religion to those people who are non believers. Learning about each religion can be a mind expanding experience.

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Practice Your Faith in a New Way

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It is disconcerting for parents of a strong religious affiliation to watch their children discover a different religious methodology than they’ve been brought up believing. Catholics have firm ideas about Christmas and the meaning of the celebration at hand, as do Jews about Hannukah and the multi-day celebration that entails. While each of these religious celebrations seem to revolve around family and good cheer, each has a deeply seated religious basis.

The surprise and shock to parents of their offspring no longer conforming to their standard beliefs and the rituals they entail can be somewhat overwhelming; usually more so for the parents than the children who consider themselves to be newly enlightened. One way to ease the transition is to be completely frank if questioned, but to otherwise maintain one’s newly affected disbelieving silence and to try to accept that others still have a deep faith.

Wires are crossed when people in either camp strongly voice their opinions and expect others to conform to those attitudes. This might work with young children with no experience and have been taught not to question anything, but it doesn’t work on highly educated adults who have put serious thought into leaving the faith of their childhood behind.

The only real solution to being an accepting, loving faith practitioner is to put aside one’s own beliefs and take the time to understand where those who no longer share those beliefs are coming from. It’s not an easy proposition, but it is one that seems to follow the core mantras of many faiths, such as, Treat your neighbor as you yourself would like to be treated.’ Express interest in the opinion and the reasons behind the choices of the person or people undergoing a faith transition. Perhaps in learning about their thinking processes, you can learn an idea or two which had never before crossed your own mind. This sort of mind expansion should never be a bad thing.

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