What's your definition of tolerance?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2003
What's your definition of tolerance?
17
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 1:59pm

I'm curious, after the Beck thread, how most people would define "tolerance." We throw the word, and the opposite, around quite a bit - but I'm thinking perhaps the way I define it is different?

I'm an Evangelical Christian, but also believe that everyone has the right to their own belief and belief system. My "tolerance," however, does not mean that I have to agree with them. So, even if I believe that people who do not accept the redemption offered by Christ dying on the cross will go to hell, I can and will fight every day for another's right to believe or not believe as they do. Both for their right to believe it, and their right to practice their belief.

But what I could NOT do is believe that what they believe is *true* - that would be compromising my own beliefs.

It was stated a few times in that thread that for an Evangelical Christian to believe that a Mormon or a Jew or whatever is going to hell is intolerant. But isn't tolerance more of an "agreeing to disagree" while supporting each others' right to your own beliefs?

ETA: Edited a sentence for clarity ;)




Edited 9/2/2010 3:49 pm ET by emmake22

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2003
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 2:06pm
This question came up in another forum just last week. Here is what I wrote:



Tolerance to me means carefully examining my own biases in a situation, to see if they are being influenced by prejudice, and if they are trying to look past them and approach the situation from a more objective POV.



Anne

I have no need for anger
With intimate strangers
And I got nothing to hide


- Amy Ray

I have no need for anger
With intimate strangers
And I got nothing to hide


- Amy Ray

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2006
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 2:55pm

Hmmm...very good question. I'm pretty much of a live and let live person. I haven't thought about this a lot...so just want to throw this out:

I'm thinking of tolerance in theory, and tolerance in practice. In theory I am intolerant of actions that violate people's rights. (For now I'll to leave "rights" undefined.) In practice, I tailor my response to the situation, taking into account whether harm is being done, and how much.

Frankly, I don't care if GB and friends all think each other are going to hell...it makes no difference to me. But if GB's speechifying convinces people that we ought to dismantle separation of church and state, then I start to become a bit intolerant. If a neighbor tells me that I'm going to hell, who cares. If I hear the neighbor's kid telling my kid that mine is going to hell, we're all going to have a teachable moment together, and if it happens again, neighbor mom is going to get to participate also. At the time it was going on in our neighborhood, I was counseling my kids to "turn the other cheek"...not the best advice, in retrospect...tolerance should have limits. Free speech is wonderful; when it goes over the line (affecting other people's rights) an intolerant response is appropriate.

Deborah

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2009
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 3:02pm

Well, I got all caught up in that discussion so I'll just talk tolerance - not your Christian beliefs or mine -just general tolerance.


Tolerance can be a good, good thing in lots of circumstances, but there is or should be, imo, a limit.

"Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."


       Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2003
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 3:13pm

If someone's words or actions are hurting someone else, it is not intolerant to speak out against them.

Anne

I have no need for anger
With intimate strangers
And I got nothing to hide


- Amy Ray

I have no need for anger
With intimate strangers
And I got nothing to hide


- Amy Ray

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2004
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 3:26pm

I agree with about 80% of your definition. Tolerance means that you accept that other people have different views than you have. Or different skin color.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2009
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 3:27pm
Good question. To me, tolerance is accepting that not everyone thinks like I do or believes as I do or comes from the same background as I do and that is okay. I don't need to stop them from celebrating their culture or badmouth them for wanting to keep their culture/language/religion, and I would expect the same in return.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2009
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 3:29pm

<>

I'd like to steal that from you to add to mine, if you don't mind. :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2010
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 3:36pm

LOL! You are of course absolutely right!

I have this conversation all the time with my devoted Catholic husband. He is very tolerate of everyone and very well liked by all because of it (although he does have his issues).

He treats everyone with respect and is just convinced if they are presented with "the truth" as he sees it, and they reject it, then they are of course "wrong". Because "he" of course, is "right". I do admire his conviction and if he did not respect others then we'd not have been married for as long as we have been. I am more of an agnostic--and of course, that makes me wrong.

>>Luck is what you call it when preparation meets opportunity<<
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2003
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 3:39pm

By "fight" I meant fight for *their right* to have their beliefs. Not fighting to get them to change them.

If you come up to me and say (to continue the example from the Beck thread) "Do you think I'm going to hell?" - I will answer you, and can tell you why. I do not walk around informing random people that they are going to hell - and I certainly don't vote to legislate my personal religious beliefs.

Photobucket Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2010
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 3:40pm

Yikes. That's not what I heard her say at all. Hopefully she will grace us with her presence and clarify.

She did say:

"So, if I believe that people who do not accept the redemption offered by Christ dying on the cross will go to hell, I can and will fight every day for someone who doesn't believe that - both for their right to believe it and to practice that belief."

She hasn't said she'd fight to change them. She said that even if she believes they will go to hell, she will still fight for them to have the right to believe what they will and to practice their beliefs. Not that she would attempt to force them to change.

>>Luck is what you call it when preparation meets opportunity<<

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