Posts Tagged ‘Belief’
In recent years the word “tolerance” has been used in a whole host of ways in American society by minority groups or about minority groups. The official definition of tolerance as defined by the dictionary is “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.” Too often, though, minority groups who are preaching about “tolerance” pertaining to their particular situation are expecting society as a whole to endure and embrace their agenda. They are going beyond tolerance and wanting the American society to bend to their beliefs and exclaim that those who do not agree with their agenda are not being tolerant, yet these same individuals or groups are not tolerant of the majority’s rights or differences.
Americans seem to be misunderstanding the true meaning of tolerance and what it entails. Tolerance does not mean forcing others to agree with your viewpoints, religious beliefs or practices, cultural differences, etc. Rather, tolerance is an acceptance of another person’s rights to their beliefs, cultures, and differences without harassment or denial of those rights. To be tolerant of someone does not mean changing our own beliefs, cultures, practices, or differences. It does mean, however, that although we many not agree we can accept and embrace the differences in others without criticism or condemnation.
The true meaning of tolerance, then, comes down to an acceptance of other’s cultures, beliefs, practices, religions, race, nationality, etc. Although, tolerance and acceptance can really only go so far. There is a point where tolerance has to have its limits, such as when it becomes an issue of personal or national safety. Should we be tolerant of criminal acts, acts against basic human rights, acts of terrorism even under the auspices of religious beliefs? Absolutely not!
What does it mean to be tolerant? Tolerance has several different definitions, but is basically defined as having a â€œpermissive attitudeâ€ towards others. This is in reference to others who have a differing opinion from you, different religious beliefs, different race, nationality, or different practices than your own. Another definition of tolerance refers to having the ability or capacity to endure.
So does tolerance mean you must change your opinions, your religious beliefs, or your pride in your own nationality or race? Absolutely not! It is simply learning to get along. Learning to allow others to have the same rights to their opinions, beliefs, pride in their nationality or race, etc. Too often you see others trying to bend other’s thoughts and beliefs to fit with their own. It can be difficult to understand another personâ€™s culture, religion, etc., but just because it is different than your own does not make it wrong or even strange.
So why do so many people find it so difficult to be tolerant of the differences in other people? Could it be that it makes them uncomfortable, and it is human nature to want to be comfortable when you are uncomfortable? One way to get past some of the misgivings of other’s differences is to take the time to learn more about them. It is every person’s responsibility to look at their own lives and their own feelings to determine why they would have intolerance for someone else. What could be the reasons behind ones negative feelings?
We are each responsible for ourselves. It is up to each individual to take the time to learn more about the people around them to become more tolerant and accepting of the differences in others. Once we have learned to be more tolerant of the people around us, we must teach our children the same principles of tolerance, which will in turn lead to a more peaceful world for us all.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in your own world. You build yourself this place where you interact with like minded people. This can make it hard when there are other people from diverse backgrounds that come into your life. Whether it be someone who is dating a sibling or someone knew at the office or someone you meet in the classroom, no matter what it can be difficult to remain open minded when you are constantly reminded of your differences. So how do you keep an open mind when you feel out of practice at it? The answers are simple and can be rewarding to you.
Research that which you don’t know – Sometimes all it takes is just a chance to get to know that which you don’t know. So when someone comes in with different beliefs or a different lifestyle just take some time to get to know it. You can start by doing an Internet search of special ideas or topics that might relate to another persons back ground. Be sure though to not explore websites that are too against or too for it. Either case will give you mixed data and input and might not be in the right context or spirit of what you are trying to learn. But if you can get to the learn a little something about the culture it will seem far less scary to you. That’s what you must keep in mind.
The other idea is to have a conversation with the person and be open about the life they lead. Most people will be willing to tell you a lot about their lifestyle if you seem open to it. This is a great way for you to learn about that which you don’t understand. The important thing is to see why a person embraces the choices they do. It’s really important to understand people and it might help you get a better idea of who you are and why you think the way you do. It’s important these days to be tolerant.