Tolerance – What would life be like if we all had it?
I don’t know about you, but I would like to think the world would be an awesome place if we could all foster tolerance. So what is tolerance and why is it so hard to find? The wikipedia definition goes like this “Tolerance or toleration is a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.”
According to UNESCO, intolerance is basically a symptom of fear, “Education for tolerance should aim at countering influences that lead to fear” Wow, a pretty succinct idea, if we could eliminate fear, we could could foster tolerance. What does tolerance mean to our society? Well, if we tolerate others there is really nothing left to argue about. What do we all want, just like the Miss America pageant queens always say “world peace”.
So, how do we eliminate fear and generate tolerance? I don’t know for sure, but spirituality across many religions and cultures promotes tolerance and a peaceful state of mind free of fear and worry. For thousands of years faith leaders have been teaching tolerance and peace across multiple religious disciplines. So why is it that religion is not in our education system. Whoa, I hear you saying, but before you get all huffy about brain washing our kids, I am not suggesting any denomination or doctrine, I mean religious studies in the true sense of the term. If we truly want to install tolerance, we need to eliminate the fear of other cultures and religions and find the similarities; those qualities which each culture brings to spirituality. Let’s face it, peace and tolerance come from our hearts, not our minds, but better understanding puts our minds at ease and opens our hearts. Instead of fighting about which religion we should or should not have in schools, lets talk about teaching about all of them and let the children work out for themselves what their hearts are telling them. Just an idea, to get the discussion going.