How can we preserve our religious tolerance?

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I think the use of the word "tolerance" in this context limits one's ability to get along in a world of many faiths. It implies we are expected only to put up with other religions; surely, our goal should be something more. I think we should aim to be respectful...

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I think the use of the word "tolerance" in this context limits one's ability to get along in a world of many faiths. It implies we are expected only to put up with other religions; surely, our goal should be something more. I think we should aim to be respectful and accepting of other religions. The keys to this are knowledge and a striving for commonality. Our abysmal ignorance of other religions if often what makes us intolerant of them. Without knowledge, we cannot possibly hope to understand enough to see how much the world's religions have in common. A student once told me, "Every religion looks like a cult unless it's yours." (I think he may have been paraphrasing someone, but I never found the original.) The point is that all religions have concepts, traditions, and rituals we find alien and sometimes even distasteful if they are not practiced in our own religion. That is because we don't know anything about them. Once you know the world's religions all believe in a higher power and being good in a way we all agree upon, it is not too difficult a next step to see how the concepts, traditions, and rituals fit into the bigger picture. Looking for knowledge and commonality are really about empathy, I believe, and empathy is the key to getting along in a world in which people are different. Ask questions, listen to the answers, and don't just tolerate!

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