Friday, 1 April 2011

I am utterly opposed to tolerance

I’ve come to dislike the idea that the cardinal christian and/or human value is “tolerance”.

I find it dangerous to be tolerant of my own sins, weaknesses, pride, and prejudice.

I find it very hard to be tolerant of bigotry, of greed, of nationalism, of violence.

But I am utterly opposed to tolerance when  it comes to my encounters with people of ethnicities, religions, sexualities which are not the same as mine.

For it is often the “majority” which states: “we are very tolerant”. But many minorities feel very patronised when they are told that they are tolerated.

So, at least in terms of inter-personal relationships and interactions with those whose ethnicity, religion or non-religion, background, and life experience are not the same as mine, I refuse to be simply tolerant.

Instead in these interactions I want to cultivate two other values.  The first is an attitude of respect. The second is the ability and willingness to listen. 

My hope is that these interactions will prod me towards becoming a better and wiser human being. I hope that they will teach me.

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