Tolerance – Pros and cons
Are there times when lack of tolerance is acceptable? Is tolerance over emphasized today? As a society, should we be tolerant at all times, always accepting and understanding no matter what?
We are a nation of many freedoms and rights. Freedom of speech is a right and privilege to be used with caution and respect, particularly when expressing differing viewpoints or concerns. It should not be used as a means to manipulate and incite but rather to inform and discuss.
Pro — Tolerance
- Tolerance allows for acceptance within our society;
- It provides the ability to express one’s opinions as well as listen to others and learn from each other;
- Offers the opportunity to discuss differences without ramifications;
- Tolerance promotes compromise and change.
Con — Tolerance
- Tolerance is understandable to a point, but there does come a time when enough is enough;
- I’ll tolerate your behavior, if you tolerate mine;
- Tolerance is sometimes abused, i.e. – using the race card to instill distrust or confusion in manipulating facts, the truth or preventing expression of opinions;
- I don’t like the sexual behaviors of gays but accept them as individuals; does this mean I’m not tolerant?
Toleration — Tolerating
Defined as, “The practice of deliberately allowing or permitting a thing of which one disapproves.” Tolerance may signify “no more than forbearance and the permission given by the adherents of a dominant religion for other religions to exist, even though the latter are looked on with disapproval as inferior, mistaken or harmful”. One can meaningfully speak of tolerance, i.e. of allowing or permitting, only if one is in a position to disallow.” It has also been defined as, “to bear or endure” or “to nourish, sustain or preserve”.¹
Tolerate — Tolerant — Tolerance — Toleration
There is only one verb ‘to tolerate’ and one adjective ‘tolerant’, but the two nouns ‘tolerance’ and ‘toleration’ have evolved slightly different meanings. Tolerance is an attitude of mind that implies non-judgmental acceptance of different lifestyles or beliefs, whereas toleration implies putting up with something that one disapproves of.²
Not enduring; not able to endure. Not tolerating difference of opinion or sentiment, especially in religious matters; refusing to allow others the enjoyment of their opinions, rights or worships; unjustly impatient of the opinion of those that disagree with us; not tolerant; bigoted.³
In a world where diversity is ever present in so many areas of our lives, it’s important to be allowed to safely and freely express opinions and concerns, both pro and con. The day we become stifled and complacent as a society is the day we begin to lose our heritage, values and freedoms.
¹Perez Zagorin, How the Idea of Religious Tolerance Came to the West (Princeton; Princeton University Press 2003) ISBN 0691092702, pp. 5-6, quoting D.D. Raphael et al. From Wikipedia.
²Toleration – Article from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article may contain original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding references. Statements consisting only of original research may be removed. More details may be available on the talk page.
³Source: Definition from Word Solver website.
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him
who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” ~John 8:7