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Steve Clarke, Russell Powell, and Julian Savulescu

Even though not formally legally binding, the Declaration has been adopted in or influenced many national constitutions since 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.

Representatives of one hundred and twenty different religions came together for prayer to their God or gods. In , in the spirit of Glasnost , Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev promised increased religious toleration.

Other major world religions also have texts or practices supporting the idea of religious toleration. Whatever intolerance, Hindu scholars displayed towards other religions was subtle and symbolic and most likely was done to present a superior argument in defence of their own faith. Traditionally, Hindus showed their intolerance by withdrawing and avoiding contact with those whom they held in contempt, instead of using violence and aggression to strike fear in their hearts.


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Hinduism is perhaps the only religion in the world which showed remarkable tolerance towards other religions in difficult times and under testing conditions. Even Buddhism, which spread in India mostly through negative campaigns against Hinduism, cannot claim that credit. Criticizing other religions and showing them in poor light to attract converts to its own fold was never an approved practice in Hinduism.

Pluralism and tolerance of diversity are built into Hindu theology India's long history is a testimony to its tolerance of religious diversity.

The First Prejudice: Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Early America

Christianity came to India with St. Thomas in the first century CE, long before it became popular in the West. Judaism came to India after the Jewish temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE and the Jews were expelled from their homeland. In a recent book titled "Who are the Jews of India? The Indian chapter is one of the happiest of the Jewish Diaspora. Both Christians and Jews have existed in a predominant Hindu India for centuries without being persecuted.


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  4. Zoroastrians from Persia present day Iran entered India in the 7th century to flee Islamic conquest. They are known as Parsis in India. The Parsis are an affluent community in the city of Mumbai. Once treated as foreigners, they remain a minority community, yet still housing the richest business families in India; for example, the Tata family controls a huge industrial empire in various parts of the country.

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    The Qur'an , albeit having given importance to its 'true believers', commands its followers to tolerate 'the people of all faiths and communities' and to let them command their dignity, without breaking the Shariah law. 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:.

    Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in God and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. Under Islamic law , Jews and Christians were considered dhimmis , a legal status inferior to that of a Muslim but superior to that of other non-Muslims. Jewish communities in the Ottoman Empire held a protected status and continued to practice their own religion, as did Christians, though both were subject to additional restrictions, such as restrictions on the areas where they could live or work or in clothing, [70] and both had to pay additional taxes.

    The established religion of the [Ottoman] 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. 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.

    His Edict in the 12th main stone writing of Girnar on the third century B. However, Buddhism has also had controversies regarding toleration. See Dorje Shugden Controversy. In addition, the question of possible intolerance among Buddhists in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, primarily against Muslims, has been raised by Paul Fuller. 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.

    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. Michael Walzer notes that the British in India tolerated the Hindu practice of suttee ritual burning of a widow until On the other hand, the United States declined to tolerate the Mormon practice of polygamy. Historian Alexandra Walsham notes that the modern understanding of the word "toleration" may be very different from its historic meaning. Hans Oberdiek writes, "As long as no one is harmed or no one's fundamental rights are violated, the state should keep hands off, tolerating what those controlling the state find disgusting, deplorable or even debased.

    This for a long time has been the most prevalent defense of toleration by liberals Isaiah Berlin attributes to Herbert Butterfield the notion that "toleration 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. 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 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. Walzer, Karl Popper [88] and John Rawls [89] have discussed the paradox of tolerating intolerance.

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    Walzer asks "Should we tolerate the intolerant? He links this principle to the stability of a tolerant society, in which members of an intolerant sect in a tolerant society will, over time, acquire the tolerance of the wider society. Toleration has been described as undermining itself via moral relativism : "either the claim self-referentially undermines itself or it provides us with no compelling reason to believe it.

    If we are skeptical about knowledge, then we have no way of knowing that toleration is good. 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 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.

    This article incorporates text from a free content work. To learn how to add open license text to Wikipedia articles, please see this how-to page. For information on reusing text from Wikipedia , please see the terms of use. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Tolerance. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.

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    Thank the Protestants for Religious Tolerance?

    This article possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. May Learn how and when to remove this template message. The examples and perspective in this article or section might have an extensive bias or disproportional coverage towards one or more specific regions.

    Please improve this article or discuss the issue on the talk page. General forms. Related topics. For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. See also: Al-Baqara Main article: Paradox of tolerance. Raphael et al. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 19 November The Cambridge History of Iran.

    Cambridge University Press. Archived from the original on May 10, Retrieved March 21, On Toleration. New Haven: Yale University Press. Journal of Religious History. Byrd The Ku Klux Klan identified Catholics as one of the three detested minorities, along with blacks and Jews. In , Al Smith became the first Catholic to be nominated for President by one of the two major parties. As soon as he announced his intention to run, questions about the fitness of Catholics to hold public office came into the open. It was argued that Catholic dogma would create conflicts for Catholics between the demands of their faith and the demands of patriotism.

    This view was expressed by a New York lawyer Charles C. Marshall in an article in the Atlantic Monthly which appeared in April Volume Edited by Chris Beneke and Christopher S. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, Wake Forest University. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Cite Citation.

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    The First Prejudice: Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Early America

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