Tolerance

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Senthil, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    I like this forum. In my opinion, the main posters have a lot of intelligence. Therefore I respect the opinions posted here.

    Now ... my view of religious tolerance has always been something like this: to unconditionally allow other people on this planet to hold their beliefs, however different they are than yours. To not interfere, or impose your beliefs, or even attempt to change theirs, in any subversive way, whether by intellectual argument, coercion, or anything else. To celebrate the diversity of mankind, with full cognitive recognition that we're all different.

    The exception might be a belief that is harmful to mankind, his culture, his ways. In other words, I believe it's okay to be intolerant of extreme intolerance.

    Intolerance would be the opposite ... any kind of thinking "I'm right and you're wrong' or attempting to convince that other person to change.

    Now, some people take tolerance to be mixing beliefs. Hence univeralism in it's many forms, generally an extension from one religion or another. To me, that's not tolerance, that's just universalism. Yet universalists tell me I'm the intolerant one. I respect their right to believe, but they don't respect mine, and I'm the intolerant one?

    The strength of my religion is in something called sampradaya. It's a pinpointing of attention right down to one Guru lineage. There is strength in that, merely because it is so singularly focused. there are no doubts. When in doubt, ask the Guru, who is a self-realised master of yoga, and has wisdom far greater than yourself. An analogy to this is medicine. Where have we gotten all the great new breakthroughs? From experts. From a specialist who narrowed his/her study down to one really narrow subject. Who do you want operating on your heart? The heart surgeon, or the family doctor?

    I get accused of intolerance, because I'm narrow in practice. I'm a Hindu ... a Saiva Hindu ... a Saiva Siddhantin, of the Nandinatha sampradaya. That is what I believe, my strength. Any dilution of that, and I suddenly feel confused.

    Thoughts, wise guys?
     
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  2. Craz

    Craz Active Member

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    I agree with you re:tolerance/intolerance.


    I find that implicitly believing/following the words of one person(Guru) somewhat dangerous.
    I did it for 23 years until I found out that my Guru was nothing like he presented himself to his followers.
    And yes, it was confusing as suddenly the core of my belief-system was destroyed. So, I am somewhat suspicious of the Guru/devotee relationship, as I am of any hierarchy in all the religions.

    The only question that comes to mind is this: Would you ever criticise your Guru of is he beyond question?
     
  3. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    You make a good point ... off topic, but a good point. In my particular situation, there is no problem, as anyone is free to leave at any time, and devotees are encouraged to make decisions on their own. It's only in those few situations when advice is solicited. The teachings are already there in the books of the sampradaya to provide a straight and narrow path.

    Still I am tolerant of others whom I feel may be being lead to adharmic activity, or down the garden path. Karma is karma and it all balances out in the end. In the evolution of the soul back to its source, these things have to happen, as the lesson to lean on your own spine has to be learned in some way, and sometimes that way is the hard way.
     
  4. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Tolerance. My view is similar to yours. Your views have shaped your religious path, and it works for you. That is fine by me, even though I probably do not share a similar spiritual philosophy and I do not even have a religious philosophy. I accept your views work for you and expect that others would accept that my views work for me.

    BUT

    There are some provisos. I cannot be tolerant of religious beliefs that are negative. Religions have had a lot of good points and a lot of evil points down thru the centuries. Good points are okay. Evil ones are not.

    Some modern religious beliefs that I cannot accept:

    Fundamentalist Christians believing that their religious freedom has the right to force other people to follow their beliefs. Conservatives in the US are against abortions, and most states run by conservatives have done all they can do restrict or shut down abortion clinics because it offends their religious beliefs. They force their religious view on everyone else. I do not consider believing this attitude is wrong as being intolerant.

    Muslims believing that someone who draws a caricature of Mohammed should be killed. Wrong! Nobody should be killed because they drew a picture. This is just evil from my point of view. Again I do not consider my attitude intolerant against Islam.

    Pretty much as long as religions allow a live and let live attitude, I am good with that, no matter how strange those beliefs might seem to me.
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I quite agree. I would go further. True tolerance allows that the other person's belief is as viable as one's own, and may well be better for that person than one's own – that my neighbour's tradition speaks to him or her in the same way that mine does to me, even though their tradition does not speak to me, and mine does not speak to them.

    So the idea that 'I tolerate what you believe even though I believe it to be nonsense/wrong/whatever' is a tolerance of sorts, I suppose ... but perhaps there is something better?

    Quite. I think universalists usually don't understand metaphysics of the various traditional systems in any great depth. Each belief system is entire and complete in itself and adequate to attain its end. It does not need, nor can it be, added to or augmented. The idea that one can do 'better' by attempting two or more systems is a fallacy, in the same way that assuming one can create a 'meta-religion' by putting together bits and pieces from here and there. It's based on a quantitative error, rather than qualitative insight.

    At an esoteric or psychological level, a 'universalism' is too often a construct that plays to one's weaknesses, not one's strengths.

    The Dalai Lama is quite forthright on that matter!

    +++

    One can always argue the 'bad guru', but then again, there are bad doctors, but that does not invalidate the health system, or the Hippocratic Oath, or the benefits of a good doctor. All it does is evidence the relative and the contingent, human weakness, it does not alter the principle.

    What stands out in every tradition is that the idea that one can 'do it oneself' is a message that seems tailor-made to the western consumer mindset. Even the jiriki (one's own strength) path in Buddhism starts with a dependence upon a teacher. The same with 'shopping around' to find a 'religion that suits me' – anyone with any insight into psychology knows that the easiest person to fool is ourselves.

    Or put another way, 'doing it oneself' – outside of a Tradition – is n-times harder and requires n-times more effort, self-discipline, ascesis ... and is n-times more dangerous, and there is no safety net and no guarantees ... it is the most perilous path, and one of which it's rightly said, 'fools rush in where angels fear to tread'.
     
  6. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    Thanks, DA, and Thomas. I shall stick with my gut, but occasionally it's nice to hear you're not the only one.
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Kumbaya!! Let us all hold hands...circle up...aum...and group hug!!!

    I am serious.... Except let's up the ante....let us not tolerate other beliefs but accept them as wonderful for others....as wonderful for them as ours is for us...

    And YES for not acceoting, not tolerating oppressive, subversive, intolerant beliefs.

    I am intolerant of intolerant people...

    (As to those universalists who wish you to change your beliefs to theirs rather than accepting your right to your own thoughts....they need a mirror)
     
  8. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Much better worded than what I wrote. Yes that is it. I don't think there is anything wrong in thinking that another person's belief system is false, as long as one accepts that it is true for them. That is my definition of interfaith. If there is something better I sure do not know what it might be. One needs to be truthful with oneself.
     
  9. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    If we didn't think ours was the best (for us) we should convert, no?
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Accepting that the other person's belief system is true, as mine is true?
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Or look deeper into our own (or at ourselves)?

    The Dalai Lama was quite outspoken on that point: If you can't find what you're looking for in your own tradition, it's unlikely you'll find it anywhere else.

    It depends whether the tradition simply does not speak to one as much as another does – possible, but rare, I'm told – or whether one simply doesn't like the medicine of one's own tradition and is looking round for a sweeter spoon... Or the novelty of the new ...

    The idea that this or that tradition doesn't 'suit' me is, I think, somewhat egotistical. Traditions address human nature, not the individual. The message and the methods are transpersonal because they address human nature as a whole. The individuality is contingent in that regard.
     
  12. waggindraggin

    waggindraggin Member

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    Yes they do.

    I agree, but I do not believe that it comes naturally. Its a difficult position to take and for me requires time and experience. I think you can tell it to children (or to adults either), and they hear the words but may not incorporate them. The challenge of a lifetime is to see religious tolerance grow however slowly.

    I agree, and I think its always acceptable to argue for tolerance. Think of it meta-argument. The best argument is to defeat argument. The skill of defeating argument should be a highly prized skill.

    Yes, that is universalism not pure tolerance; but who can teach tolerance? How can you bless someone with the understanding that you don't have to listen to them?

    The weakness of your religion is that it has so many terms that people don't understand what you are talking about, but other than that it seems ok to me. Its possible that one of the future challenges of religions will be accelerated language changes. I don't think English is the future of religion, but I don't think its going to be Esperanto, either. I hope its something that is easy to spell. Most likely in 200 years we will all be speaking some new kind of squawk with roots in multiple international languages.

    Oh, prolific. Very prolific!
     
  13. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    Yes I agree, Thomas. Excellent points. I just assumed that that would be the first place to look ... at one's own tradition closely.

    And yes, people do go looking for a more lenient option when they encounter orthodoxy, or anything that they can't live up to, or don't want to.

    In my sampradaya (school), if a person wants to convert to it, the first thing they're told is to go study out their own religion seriously first. Only after a couple of years of really serious study would we allow people to transfer/convert.
     
  14. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    That's the paradigm problem in another thread. There are no words in English that adequately convey Sanskrit, so we have to use Sanskrit.
     
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  15. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I don't use the word evil myself, too nebulous, but I think I'll have to to reflect what you guys are talking about.
    I find in this there is not a clear distinction between evil briefs and evil actions. I think the distinction is important and though I'm not sure what is entailed in evil actions I'm guessing most of it is illegal in the western world? If it is illegal it is easy for me to be intolerant of such actions, it comes naturally for me.

    But I'm not intolerant of evil beliefs. People don't choose what they believe and trying to change other peoples minds is...tricky, impossible, arrogant? Sure, stuff makes me frustrated, angry and sad, but that's the imperfect world I live in. And I'm certain I'm not endowed with such moral superiority to judge other.

    I echo what others have posted about gladly accepting differing beliefs. It's not what I think of when I here "tolerance" but it works. I believe things very different from other posters, but it is a source of insight and a counterweight to measure ones owns thoughts and actions. Without such diversity I don't know if there could be much growth.
     
  16. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    I like to think of myself as tolerant. I guess most of us do, but I think tolerance ends where our own personal prejudices begin and that tolerance and acceptance are two very different things.

    From my side, as far as religion is concerned, I'm very tolerant of those who have faith. The only prerequisites being, their faith does not lead to violence and their religious practice does not interfere with the religious practice of others
     
  17. Aussie Thoughts

    Aussie Thoughts Just my 2 cents

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    When it comes right down to it, I don't think most of us are very tolerant at all. It's just that, in polite society we have little recurse but to accept a certain amount of 'BS' from our fellow man. It's just not worth fighting over.
     

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