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 - it is 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.


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