Intolerance Towards Tolerance

Posted in Dialogue at 5:28 pm by Haider

There are many religious individuals, or even scholars, who condemn religious tolerance – i.e. the acceptance of other religions and cooperation with their adherents – because it is considered to be the acceptance of falsehoods, and those who are propagating false beliefs.

This is especially critical when the beliefs promoted by other religions conflict with one’s own beliefs. That is, how can one assert the belief in a single deity, yet accept to interact with those who believe in multiple deities? How can one build ties with those who deny the prophethood of the one whose religion they follow?

Some of the points to note about religious tolerance are:

  • To accept the existence of other religions does not mean that you accept their beliefs to be true, or equally valid to yours
  • To interact with others from different faiths does not mean that you approve of all their actions
  • Religious tolerance is to respect people’s freedom to think for themselves and choose their beliefs as they see fit, without the use of intimidation or compulsion
  • Where people have disagreements about their beliefs or their customs or moral codes, they should be willing to discuss these matters, and to exchange their opinions
  • To refuse to interact with others does not help you promote your religion. It is only through dialogue that people can form a better understanding of one another


  1. carly said,

    July 24, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Ameen to that! I would ague that many are not open to accepting others’ religions due to their own insecurities. I have found my own faith to be strengthened by knowing about other faiths. After all, truth cannot be diminished, and ignorance only propagates ignorance and fear.

  2. Haider said,

    July 25, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Carly, there are many reasons for why people would be intolerant towards people with other beliefs, and personal insecurities is certainly one of them.

    I chose to focus on a valid objection (i.e. that we shouldn’t equate correct beliefs with false ones) that has been applied to the wrong issue (i.e. religious tolerance, since religious tolerance doesn’t mean that you equate religious beliefs).

  3. Ala said,

    July 26, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    As far as I know, Muslims have no problem with other religions, especially the ones they have historically lived side by side with (Christianity, Hinduism), and don’t go around trying to compel people to follow theirs. But it could be argued that they wouldn’t be treated equally under Islamic law, and conversion to them would definitely not be tolerated. Of course, this is the same with other religions, but I am using Islam as an example. It seems that no religion can be fully tolerant of another if it looks at other religions from the point of view of its own assumptions, and therefore from the point of view of its own superiority.

  4. Haider said,

    July 26, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Hello Ala, and welcome to the blog 🙂

    Well, I know some Egyptian Muslims who resent Coptic Christians, and anyone who associates with them. This intolerance could be rooted in politics, but it’s easy to find religious justifications to support such an attitude.

    I think the Muslims went through phases of predominant tolerance towards others, but there remain groups of Muslims who cannot come to accept the presence of others.

Leave a Comment