Friday, 6 July 2018

Tolerance vs harmony

For long the Indian belief system and the general mood of the population has considered Hinduism as a tolerant religion. Indeed it is – at least in its principles and core values. However, living here in Europe and often hearing of the Christian tradition and history, I wonder if the same tolerance can be said of Christianity too. But then on deeper reflection it struck me that the word 'tolerance' smacks of a sort of dominance and a kind of pitiful 'permission' for other beliefs to exist. Even in common usage we don't use the word 'tolerate' when speaking of human relations. And when we do, it is not in very positive and joyful description. To tolerate someone would mean to bear up, for want of no choice or out of sheer necessity. It certainly is not a pleasant scenario. So why use the term when referring to religions and religious adherents? Perhaps a better and more suitable word would be 'harmony'. Well it does not describe one particular religion or group but of the whole! Even if one were to use it for one particular religion, one would need to say that it promotes harmony, not tolerates other belief systems!

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