"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Wisdom of Tolerance?

There is an element in the meaning of tolerance that says: OK, I’ll put up with you even though my way is the right way. We talk much about tolerance: tolerance of age, sexual orientation, race or culture or skin colour, and of course religious tolerance.

But is this the right way of looking at things? Not if the underlying agenda is “putting up with”, on the basis that my way is of course the better, healthier, superior, way, the only right way, and you are therefore inferior and wrong in some way.

If we look at tolerance this way, we start off on the wrong foot. I believe all men and women are born equal, with their own unique value and gifts, with inherent worth and dignity. I believe that there is much in all the great religions and faiths to celebrate, to respect, to enjoy. No one religion can claim any kind of high ground.

The Unitarian Universalism movement celebrates the diversity of religious belief, and is guided by seven principles:

1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

I doubt whether anyone can seriously disagree with any of those principles.
Do look at their website.
From it I quote: “Our congregations are places where we gather to nurture our spirits and put our faith into action through social justice work, in our communities and the wider world...There is no formal conversion process, so becoming a Unitarian Universalist is simply a matter of self-identification…and does not require renouncing other religious affiliations or practices.”
There is no creed, as individual members are free to explore their own paths to truth.
Now this looks like something worth exploring further.


Jennifer said...

A kindred spirit! I like this post and your way of viewing tolerance. I muse on similar subjects on my blog, www.1voice4peace.com. And, although I'm between churches at the moment, I've been a Unitarian Universalist for a number of years now. It's definitely worth checking out!

Thanks for the inspiring words. I look forward to reading your book-- I'm ordering it from Amazon. :)


Eleanor said...

thankyou Jennifer - I hope you enjoy the read. And I am writing a book on tolerance at the moment!
I am going to follow your blog. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
all best wishes

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