What do you think about tolerance?

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What do you think about tolerance?

Sapient was asked this question on Nightline.

 In the stickam chatroom, Sapient discussed how the interviewer was fair in allowing him to rehash the topic and create a better answer.

 I'm interested how other members of the community would answer this question.

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I tolerate an awful lot but

I tolerate an awful lot but when there are laws being made to appease xtian's morality ie. anti-abortion, anti-stem cell research, anti-gay marriage, etc. I no longer tolerate it.  I can't step outside my door without seeing a xtian bumper sticker, billboard, church board, xtian fliers, good news mobile, or something that makes me recoil.  The store next to my house is owned by xtians and if you go in early enough you will get to hear over the loud speaker that it's time for a "prayer huddle" in which one clerk gets left to ring people up and the rest go to a section of the store and hold hands in a circle and pray.  In the breezeway, they offer all kinds of different xtian pamphlets.  On the bulletin board is more xtian propaganda.  When you first walk into the store, there is a book rotating stand filled with religious children books and self-help religious books.  I know they own the store but, Jesus Christ!  I tolerate it.

Clara Listensprechen
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IMHO, tolerance is NOT an

IMHO, tolerance is NOT an entitlement program for the intolerant. It's only fair that the intolerant be tolerated to the degree they tolerate others. Where fundamentalists are intolerant of atheists, agnostics, or the people they label "anti-Christ", they shouldn't be tolerated.

 I find intolerance intolerable. 

I shall continue to be an impossible person as long as those who are now possible remain possible. {Michael Bakunin 1814-1876}

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This is a great question

This is a great question and a terrible question all at once. 

Someone pointed out in the chatroom that it is too broad.  What do I think of tolerance?  What do I think of plants growing?  It's the same question.  Both exist.  What is there for me to think about?

Also, tolerance is often confused with acceptance or even support.

The implied question is, "How far do I think tolerance ought to be extended with regard to X?"

Tolerance: a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.

I think the key word here is "fair."  It is inherently unfair for Christians to legislate their beliefs.  They are being intolerant by doing so.  Legislation should be based on accurate facts, not ancient beliefs, if the goal is to create a tolerant government.

(Probably the Christians would do well to notice the word "permissive" in the definition of tolerant.)


Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Clara Listensprechen

Clara Listensprechen wrote:
IMHO, tolerance is NOT an entitlement program for the intolerant. It's only fair that the intolerant be tolerated to the degree they tolerate others. Where fundamentalists are intolerant of atheists, agnostics, or the people they label "anti-Christ", they can be tolerated; insofar as they tolerate no one else, their intolerance shouldn't be tolerated.

I think the worst thing the atheist or Christian can do is expect goverment to force people to always say nice things.

It is within human nature to vent about things we dont like. Common law prevents both the Christian and atheist from doing phyiscal harm to the other or advocating physical harm to the other.

I think there are both Christians and atheists who seek a goverment forced politically correct censorship law. THAT IS A BAD IDEA!

Not only does it go against human nature in expressing emotion. It can set up goverment to opress things it doesnt like. Both Christians and atheist fail to realize that they may not be in the position of power deciding what is or is not "Ofensive".

I agree that people who have a hatefull view of others outside their club SHOULD BE CHALLENGED. But it would be a mistake for all to put government in the position of playing thought police.

The best way to handle hatefull people is not by forcing them to like you. The best way to defeat hate is not through dictation. The best way to defeat hate is to lead by example.

You can regulate physicall action. You cant regulate what people think. Since I value my right to say, "Jesus is a myth" I must protect their right to say, "You are going to burn in hell".

I am not going to put a Christian majority in a power position to call "Jesus is a myth" a "hate crime". But to say that wont happen?


In Italy an artist painted a picture of Jesus on a surfboard AND WAS ARRESTED, (and only released when amnisty international) Stepped in.

In France their goverment forced a clothing company to remove adds on billboards and busses that spoofed the last supper.

Those things are not being done by atheists, or secular believers. They are being done by people who have the same "Dont pick on me" attitude that caused Muslim Zeolots to threaten a cartoonist to death.

I really warn people who want pollitically correct laws that they will shoot themselves in the foot. Be carefull what you work for, you just might get it and end up regreting it.

If there is one thing I hate more than bigotry it would be the concept that my goverment can control my thoughts. If I value my rights I must value theirs and WE both can agree that whatever is said does not have to end in goverment force or physical confrontation. 


"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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