The question most prominent for the survival of the human race is this “Is it possible for us to get along?” So how do we define Tolerance?
Getting along does not mean one tolerated completely the others’ point of view. It means accepting the fact that they may have a point of view, which is so completely different from our own, yet we can tolerate it and just let it be without any interference. This is the essence of tolerance. We do not like their viewpoint, but we find a way to make it tolerable. The more we are able to be open to this idea, the kinder the world becomes.
To define tolerate is to allow someone to be different. The tolerate definition does not mean one must agree with everything they are saying. Instead, it is to allow them their separate personal space in a tolerant way, so they may exist without interference or attack from others.
The tolerance definition, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the ability to accept differences in others for beliefs and practices, which differ or conflict with one’s own. To define tolerance includes discomfort as automatic.
The definition of tolerance includes accepting others who act differently; in ways, one does not accept for oneself. The freedom of human beings increases by the act of toleration. When toleration exists for all, it means there is more freedom for all, to express themselves, to be whom they are, without the need to conform to others’ desires or moral codes of how they should live.
What Does Tolerance Mean?
Tolerance is a condition of openness to accept others points of view or getting so used to something that the effect is less from the effect felt before.
Besides accepting others beliefs, without judgment, tolerance has an additional meaning. It also means to have the ability to withstand the effects of strong substances such as drugs and alcohol. This type of tolerance is very different. It comes from the use and abuse of substances, in ways, which are so excessive, that the body develops a resistance to the effects. In alcohol, alcohol tolerance means you have to drink more to feel any effect. The same goes from drugs. The first time you get high, it takes much less than the one-thousandth time to get high or the ten-thousandth time to get high. Drug tolerance and alcohol tolerance are much different from having tolerance for people of different culture, faiths, lifestyles, and beliefs.
Pain tolerance is similar to alcohol and drug tolerance. Some people suffer chronic pain for a very long time, such as when having a painful type of cancer. After awhile their level of pain tolerance increases due to the phenomena of self-survival. The pain is still there, but since it never goes away, there is a kind of coping mechanism, which kicks in, to make the pain less poignant. It is also possible to train the body to ignore the pain signals. Advanced military training, such as the training of the U.S. Navy SEALS teaches the trainees to ignore pain. Some Buddhist monks have the ability to put themselves in a state of trance where pain has no effect of them. Pain comes from a physical/chemical/electrical stimulus, which reaches the brain, but still it needs interpretation as pain by the brain in order to feel it. It is possible with the right training to turn off this process completely, so even if the physical body is under brutal attack, no pain is felt in the brain.
Risk tolerance comes from the ability of risk-takers to get used to the body’s natural production of adrenalin, which occurs during risky situations. Over time, this adrenalin has a less powerful effect on the person, which allows them to take greater risks than before without feeling the same consequences. This is not really a good thing, because often those seeking adrenalin highs take risks, which are so extraordinary their actions result in their deaths.
Religious tolerance has become a key issue in the world. One surprising thing is the amount of hate that comes up from religious dogma. When comparing the Judeo-Christian religions of the (alphabetical order) Christians, Jews, and Moslems it is easy to see they have the same God. At one time in history, during the period of the Moors being in Spain these three religions were taught as slight variations of each other, much like the way Christians might feel about the differences between Presbyterians, Methodists, and other similar evangelicals. Sure, differences existed, but all in all the similarities vastly outweighed the differences. So what happened to separate the three religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam? The one conclusion, which comes to mind, is a lack of tolerance developed.
Historical Act of Religious Tolerance
Many Europeans left Europe to come to the new colonies established in America because of the religious persecution they were facing in Europe. In Maryland, during 1649 before the country of the United States of America was even established, the colonials introduced a law, called the Toleration Act of 1649. What is surprising is this law was introduced by the majority, who were of the Protestant religion, to protect the rights of the minority who were Catholics to express their religious beliefs, as they desired. Compare this advanced thinking of justified tolerance, with the bloody fight between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland during more modern times. In 1649, in the new colony of Maryland, they got it right.
To be Tolerant is to Tolerate
There is no need to be “right” and no need to convert any others to the beliefs and values held by oneself. It is completely OK, when other people feel something different. Traditions of religious practice may be very different, values held dissimilar, faith and beliefs in contradiction, but tolerance means to allow others the right to have their own opinion. In spite of all the naysayers out there, it is completely possible for contrary opinions to co-exist. What is not logical is physically attacking, killing, warring, and harming others who do not have the same belief system as one holds dear. This is the particular form of insanity, practiced by all major religions, which has done so much harm as to be almost unforgivable.
The Ketchup Lovers versus the Mustard Users
This is how we illustrate the folly of using dogmatic opinions to support the right to harm others.
In our imaginary society, there are two factions. They hold fast to their strong beliefs about what condiment is the best to use for food. There are the ketchup lovers on one side versus the mustard users on the other side. No matter how much they preach at each other, they rarely convert a person from one side to the other.
People who prefer ketchup just do not accept the idea that mustard is superior. The ketchup lovers argue about the superiority of the sweet taste of the ketchup made from tomato sauce, when compared to the spicy taste of mustard made from crushed seeds. They argue the red color is more holy and natural because it is the color of blood.
The mustard users think the ketchup lovers are insane. Sweetness is less desirable to them than pungent spice. They think putting ketchup on something makes it boring. They prefer to spice it up. They revel in any chance they get to put mustard on everything. It makes them feel alive and puts them in the feeling of having superiority in tastes over those groveling sweet-taste-loving ketchupers.
Then along comes a person who likes both ketchup and mustard. They are an abomination! How dare they try to mix ketchup and mustard, sweet and spicy, with red and yellow? It is disgusting to both sides.
They battle over condiments. They erect large buildings, castles and forts, build great societies, and even gather nuclear arms to go to war to make sure there is a clear separation of ketchupers from mustarders. World War is about to erupt to finally have a new world condiment order!
Then along comes mayonnaise to show a new white way to have both sweet and spicy all at once.
The point of this entire crazy made-up story is to show that religious viewpoints are a matter of personal taste. No one is right or wrong. Everyone has the personal power to make a choice for him or herself. Whether they like ketchup, or mustard, or mayonnaise or some combination of the three, all is good and nobody needs to get upset about any of these personal choices made by others or lifestyles, which may be quite different.
To lack tolerance is to be a dull-headed stubborn fool. People of tolerance, teaching tolerance, will tolerate you even if you are a dull-headed stubborn fool, but we do wish you would open your mind a bit, lighten up, and try to see things in a different, new, and better way.