TOLERATION is the acceptance of an action, object, or person which
one dislikes or disagrees with, where one is in a position to disallow
it but chooses not to. It has also been defined as "to bear or endure"
or "to nourish, sustain or preserve" or as "a fair, objective, and
permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices,
racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from
There is only one verb _to tolerate_ and one adjective _tolerant_, but the two nouns _tolerance_ and _toleration_ have evolved slightly different meanings. Tolerance is a state of mind that implies non-judgmental acceptance of different lifestyles or beliefs, whereas toleration indicates the act of putting up with something that one disapproves of.
Historically, most incidents and writings pertaining to toleration
involve the status of minority and dissenting viewpoints in relation
to a dominant state religion . In the twentieth century and after,
analysis of the doctrine of toleration has been expanded to include
political and ethnic groups,
* 1 Etymology * 2 In antiquity * 3 Biblical sources
* 4 In the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Reformation
* 4.1 Tolerance of the
* 5 In the Enlightenment
* 5.1 Milton
* 5.3 In the American colonies
* 5.4 Spinoza
* 5.5 Locke
* 5.6 Bayle
* 5.7 Act of
* 6 In the nineteenth century
* 6.1 Roman Catholic Relief Act * 6.2 Mill * 6.3 Renan
* 7 In the twentieth century
* 8 In other religions
* 9 Tolerance and digital technologies
* 10 Modern analyses and critiques
* 10.1 Modern definition * 10.2 Homosexuality * 10.3 Tolerating the intolerant * 10.4 Other criticisms and issues
* 11 See also * 12 Sources * 13 References * 14 Further reading * 15 External links
The word tolerance was first used in the 15th century.
The word is derived from _endurance_ and _fortitude_, used in the 14th century. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word was first used to describe having permission from authorities in the 1530s.
Minerva as a symbol of enlightened wisdom protects the believers of all religions ( Daniel Chodowiecki , 1791)
As reported in the
The Hellenistic city of
In the Old Testament, the books of Exodus ,
The New Testament Parable of the Tares , which speaks of the difficulty of distinguishing wheat from weeds before harvest time, has also been invoked in support of religious toleration. In his "Letter to Bishop Roger of Chalons", Bishop Wazo of Liege (c. 985–1048 AD) relied on the parable to argue that "the church should let dissent grow with orthodoxy until the Lord comes to separate and judge them".
Roger Williams , a Baptist theologian and founder of Rhode Island,
used this parable to support government toleration of all of the
"weeds" (heretics) in the world, because civil persecution often
inadvertently hurts the "wheat" (believers) too. Instead, Williams
believed it was God's duty to judge in the end, not man's. This
parable lent further support to Williams' Biblical philosophy of a
wall of separation between church and state as described in his 1644
book, _The Bloody Tenent of
IN THE MIDDLE AGES, THE RENAISSANCE, AND THE REFORMATION
TOLERANCE OF THE JEWS
Pope Clement VI (1291–1352) issued a bull pleading with
Catholics not to murder Jews, whom they blamed for the
Johann Reuchlin (1455–1522) was a German humanist and a scholar of
Greek and Hebrew who opposed efforts by
Johannes Pfefferkorn , backed
by the Dominicans of Cologne, to confiscate all religious texts from
Despite occasional spontaneous episodes of pogroms and killings, as
during the Black Death,
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a
relatively tolerant home for the
Paulus Vladimiri (ca. 1370–1435) was a Polish scholar and rector who at the Council of Constance in 1414, presented a thesis, _Tractatus de potestate papae et imperatoris respectu infidelium_ (Treatise on the Power of the Pope and the Emperor Respecting Infidels). In it he argued that pagan and Christian nations could coexist in peace and criticized the Teutonic Order for its wars of conquest of native non-Christian peoples in Prussia and Lithuania. Vladimiri strongly supported the idea of conciliarism and pioneered the notion of peaceful coexistence among nations—a forerunner of modern theories of human rights . Throughout his political, diplomatic and university career, he expressed the view that a world guided by the principles of peace and mutual respect among nations was possible and that pagan nations had a right to peace and to possession of their own lands.
Saint Thomas More (1478–1535), Catholic Lord Chancellor of King Henry VIII and author, described a world of almost complete religious toleration in Utopia (1516), in which the Utopians "can hold various religious beliefs without persecution from the authorities." However, More's work is subject to various interpretations, and it is not clear that he felt that earthly society should be conducted the same way as in Utopia. Thus, in his three years as Lord Chancellor, More actively approved of the persecution of those who sought to undermine the Catholic faith in England.
Diet of Worms (1521),
Sebastian Castellio (1515–1563) was a French Protestant theologian
who in 1554 published under a pseudonym the pamphlet _Whether heretics
should be persecuted (De haereticis, an sint persequendi)_ criticizing
Jean Bodin (1530–1596) was a French Catholic jurist and political philosopher. His Latin work _Colloquium heptaplomeres de rerum sublimium arcanis abditis_ ("The Colloqium of the Seven") portrays a conversation about the nature of truth between seven cultivated men from diverse religious or philosophical backgrounds: a natural philosopher, a Calvinist, a Muslim, a Roman Catholic, a Lutheran, a Jew, and a skeptic. All agree to live in mutual respect and tolerance.
Michel de Montaigne
EDICT OF TORDA
In 1568, King John II Sigismund of Hungary, encouraged by his Unitarian Minister Francis David (Dávid Ferenc), issued the Edict of Torda decreeing religious toleration.
In 1571, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II granted religious toleration to the nobles of Lower Austria, their families and workers.
THE WARSAW CONFEDERATION
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth has a long tradition of religious freedom. The right to worship freely was a basic right given to all inhabitants of the Commonwealth throughout the 15th and early 16th century, however, complete freedom of religion was officially recognized in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1573 during the Warsaw Confederation . the Commonwealth kept religious freedom laws during an era when religious persecution was an everyday occurrence in the rest of Europe.
The Warsaw Confederation of 1573 was a private compact signed by representatives of all the major religions in Polish and Lithuanian society, in which they pledged each other mutual support and tolerance. The confederation was incorporated into the Henrican articles , which constituted a virtual Polish–Lithuanian constitution.
EDICT OF NANTES
Edict of Nantes
Edict of Nantes
IN THE ENLIGHTENMENT
Beginning in the Enlightenment commencing in the 1600s, politicians and commentators began formulating theories of religious toleration and basing legal codes on the concept. A distinction began to develop between _civil tolerance_, concerned with "the policy of the state towards religious dissent"., and _ecclesiastical tolerance_, concerned with the degree of diversity tolerated within a particular church.
John Milton (1608–1674), English Protestant poet and essayist, called in the _ Areopagitica _ for "the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties" (applied, however, only to the conflicting Protestant denominations, and not to atheists, Jews, Moslems or even Catholics). "Milton argued for disestablishment as the only effective way of achieving broad toleration. Rather than force a man's conscience, government should recognize the persuasive force of the gospel."
IN THE AMERICAN COLONIES
The Maryland Toleration Act , passed in 1649.
In 1636, Roger Williams and companions at the foundation of Rhode Island entered into a compact binding themselves "to be obedient to the majority only in civil things". Williams spoke of "democracie or popular government." Lucian Johnston writes, "Williams' intention was to grant an infinitely greater religious liberty than then existed anywhere in the world outside of the Colony of Maryland." In 1663, Charles II granted the colony a charter guaranteeing complete religious toleration.
Also in 1636, Congregationalist
Thomas Hooker and a group of
In 1649 Maryland passed the Maryland Toleration Act , also known as the Act Concerning Religion, a law mandating religious tolerance for Trinitarian Christians only (excluding Nontrinitarian faiths). Passed on September 21, 1649 by the assembly of the Maryland colony, it was the first law requiring religious tolerance in the British North American colonies. The Calvert family sought enactment of the law to protect Catholic settlers and some of the other denominations that did not conform to the dominant Anglicanism of England and her colonies.
Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677) was a Dutch Jewish philosopher. He published the Theological-Political Treatise anonymously in 1670, arguing (according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) that "the freedom to philosophize can not only be granted without injury to piety and the peace of the Commonwealth, but that the peace of the Commonwealth and Piety are endangered by the suppression of this freedom", and defending, "as a political ideal, the tolerant, secular, and democratic polity". After interpreting certain Biblical texts , Spinoza opted for tolerance and freedom of thought in his conclusion that "every person is in duty bound to adapt these religious dogmas to his own understanding and to interpret them for himself in whatever way makes him feel that he can the more readily accept them with full confidence and conviction."
John Locke (1632–1704) published A Letter
Pierre Bayle (1647–1706) was a French Protestant scholar and philosopher who went into exile in Holland. In his "Dictionnaire historique and critique" and "Commentaire Philosophique" he advanced arguments for religious toleration (though, like some others of his time, he was not anxious to extend the same protection to Catholics he would to differing Protestant sects). Among his arguments were that every church believes it is the right one so "a heretical church would be in a position to persecute the true church". Bayle wrote that "the erroneous conscience procures for error the same rights and privileges that the orthodox conscience procures for truth."
Bayle was repelled by the use of scripture to justify coercion and violence: "One must transcribe almost the whole New Testament to collect all the Proofs it affords us of that Gentleness and Long-suffering, which constitute the distinguishing and essential Character of the Gospel." He did not regard toleration as a danger to the state, but to the contrary: "If the Multiplicity of Religions prejudices the State, it proceeds from their not bearing with one another but on the contrary endeavoring each to crush and destroy the other by methods of Persecution. In a word, all the Mischief arises not from Toleration, but from the want of it."
ACT OF TOLERATION
The Act of
The Act did not apply to Catholics and non-trinitarians and continued the existing social and political disabilities for Dissenters, including their exclusion from political office and also from universities.
François-Marie Arouet, the French writer, historian and philosopher
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN AND THE CITIZEN
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789), adopted by the National Constituent Assembly during the French Revolution , states in Article 10: "No-one shall be interfered with for his opinions, even religious ones, provided that their practice does not disturb public order as established by the law." ("Nul ne doit être inquiété pour ses opinions, mêmes religieuses, pourvu que leur manifestation ne trouble pas l'ordre public établi par la loi.")
THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
First Amendment to the United States Constitution , ratified
along with the rest of the
Bill of Rights
In 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptists Association in which he said: "...I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance
Even though not formally legally binding, the Declaration has been adopted in or influenced many national constitutions since 1948. It also serves as the foundation for a growing number of international treaties and national laws and international, regional, national and sub-national institutions protecting and promoting human rights including the freedom of religion .
In 1965, The Roman
In 1988, in the spirit of Glasnost , Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev promised increased religious toleration.
IN OTHER RELIGIONS
Other major world religions also have texts or practices supporting the idea of religious toleration.
Pluralism and tolerance of diversity are built into
See also: Al-Baqara 256
Certain verses of the Qur\'an were interpreted to create a specially tolerated status for People of the Book , Jewish and Christian believers in the Old and New Testaments considered to have been a basis for Islamic religion:
Verily! Those who believe and those who are
Under Islamic law ,
Jewish communities in the
According to Michael Walzer:
The established religion of the empire was Islam, but three other religious communities—Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Jewish—were permitted to form autonomous organizations. These three were equal among themselves, without regard to their relative numerical strength. They were subject to the same restrictions vis-à-vis Muslims—with regard to dress, proselytizing, and intermarriage, for example—and were allowed the same legal control over their own members.
Although Bhikkhu Bodhi states that the Buddha taught "the path to the supreme goal of the holy life is made known only in his own teaching", Buddhists have nevertheless shown significant tolerance for other religions: "Buddhist tolerance springs from the recognition that the dispositions and spiritual needs of human beings are too vastly diverse to be encompassed by any single teaching, and thus that these needs will naturally find expression in a wide variety of religious forms." James Freeman Clarke said in _Ten Great Religions_ (1871): "The Buddhists have founded no Inquisition; they have combined the zeal which converted kingdoms with a toleration almost inexplicable to our Western experience."
The Edicts of Ashoka issued by King Ashoka the Great (269–231 BCE), a Buddhist, declared ethnic and religious tolerance. His Edict XII, engraved in stone, stated: "The faiths of others all deserve to be honored for one reason or another. By honoring them, one exalts one's own faith and at the same time performs a service to the faith of others."
TOLERANCE AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES
The development of new digital technologies has resulted in an exponential growth in the volume of information and knowledge available, and made them more readily accessible to greater numbers of people throughout the world. As such, information and communication technologies can play an essential role in the sharing of knowledge and expertise in the service of sustainable development and in a spirit of solidarity. And yet, for many observers, the world is witnessing rising levels of ethnic , cultural and religious intolerance , often using the same communication technologies for ideological and political mobilization to promote exclusivist worldviews. This mobilization often leads to further criminal and political violence and to armed conflict. This also leads to new modes of intolerance such as cyberbullying .
MODERN ANALYSES AND CRITIQUES
Contemporary commentators have highlighted situations in which
toleration conflicts with widely held moral standards, national law,
the principles of national identity, or other strongly held goals.
Historian Alexandra Walsham notes that the modern understanding of
the word "toleration" may be very different from its historic meaning.
Isaiah Berlin attributes to Herbert Butterfield the notion that "toleration... implies a certain disrespect. I tolerate your absurd beliefs and your foolish acts, though I know them to be absurd and foolish. Mill would, I think, have agreed."
John Gray states that "When we tolerate a practice, a belief or a character trait, we let something be that we judge to be undesirable, false or at least inferior; our toleration expresses the conviction that, despite its badness, the object of toleration should be left alone." However, according to Gray, "new liberalism—the liberalism of Rawls, Dworkin, Ackerman and suchlike" seems to imply that "it is wrong for government to discriminate in favour of, or against, any form of life animated by a definite conception of the good".
John Rawls ' "theory of 'political liberalism' conceives of toleration as a pragmatic response to the fact of diversity". Diverse groups learn to tolerate one another by developing "what Rawls calls 'overlapping consensus': individuals and groups with diverse metaphysical views or 'comprehensive schemes' will find reasons to agree about certain principles of justice that will include principles of toleration".
Herbert Marcuse wrote "_ Repressive Tolerance _" in 1965 where he argued that the "_pure tolerance_" that permits all favors totalitarianism , democracy , and tyranny of the majority , and insisted the "_repressive tolerance_" against them.
As a result of his public debate with Baron Devlin on the role of the criminal law in enforcing moral norms, British legal philosopher H. L. A. Hart wrote _Law, Liberty and Morality_ (1963) and _The Morality of the Criminal Law_ (1965). His work on the relationship between law and morality had a significant effect on the laws of Great Britain, helping bring about the decriminalization of homosexuality. But it was Jeremy Bentham that defended the rights for homosexuality with his essay "Offence against One's Self" but could not be published until in 1978.
TOLERATING THE INTOLERANT
Main article: Paradox of tolerance
OTHER CRITICISMS AND ISSUES
Ronald Dworkin argues that in exchange for toleration, minorities must bear with the criticisms and insults which are part of the freedom of speech in an otherwise tolerant society. Dworkin has also questioned whether the United States is a "tolerant secular" nation, or is re-characterizing itself as a "tolerant religious" nation, based on the increasing re-introduction of religious themes into conservative politics. Dworkin concludes that "the tolerant secular model is preferable, although he invited people to use the concept of personal responsibility to argue in favor of the tolerant religious model."
In _ The End of Faith _, Sam Harris asserts that society should be unwilling to tolerate unjustified religious beliefs about morality, spirituality, politics, and the origin of humanity, especially beliefs which promote violence.
* Anekantavada * Christian debate on persecution and toleration * International Day for Tolerance * Islam and other religions * Multifaith space * Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance * Paradox of tolerance * Religious discrimination * Religious intolerance * Religious liberty * Religious persecution * Religious pluralism * _ Repressive Tolerance _ * Secular state *