On Religious Tolerance

“They don’t seem to be big on religious tolerance,” I said, mostly because I couldn’t think of a better response.

But of course Mr. Magundi could. “And that’s not surprising. Religious tolerance is an appalling blasphemy. If my creed is right, then of course yours is wrong. And you’re wrong in precisely the most important thing anyone can ever be wrong about. To say that I must tolerate your wretched error—and even your attempts to spread it—is not just an insult to me, but a slap in God’s face. The only possible excuse for it is that the alternative is an even greater blasphemy. The alternative is to admit a principle that, as soon as some horrible accident placed political power in your hands, would allow you to make your heresy the law of the land, and to trample my true faith into the mud. So I tolerate your religion: not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the only way to keep yours from annihilating mine.”

One thought on “On Religious Tolerance

  1. If I’m not mistaken, the argument most vigorously advanced against anti-ballistic missile programs was that they would cause one or both antagonists to stop believing in the inevitability of their own deaths, should war come. Perhaps the most fervent religious need only to be convinced of one thing: when you die, the life after this one is populated entirely by worshippers of that Other God, except for you.

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