Roland Dürre
Monday October 27th, 2014

Tolerance & Religion

Currently, I am thinking a lot about morals and ethics. One of the reasons is that I discovered how, for almost all persons, moral rules dominate almost all their decisions. This is especially true for all my wrong decisions.

Until recently, I believed that decisions are usually based on either rationality and common sense (brains, ratio) or intuition and heuristics (gut feeling). I thought this was also true for my own decisions.

And now I discover that I was profoundly wrong in many cases (and had to suffer consequences). Simply because I believed: “this is how I had to decide, because this is what you do”. Or in other words: I was incapable of resisting (too cowardly to resist?) the “this is how you do it” or the “this is not what you want to do”. Because my decisions (especially the bad ones) were influenced by morals and moralizing.

Besides morals and ethics, you will also find some ingredients in the Hotpot of philosophy which are hard to digest, such as “religion” or the virtue “tolerance”.

Because:
“For us, religion is sacred!”
and
“You have to be tolerant!”

I, too, believe tolerance is a precious value. The ethical person will say:

You should always be tolerant!

Tolerance beats morals!
The only thing you should be intolerant about is intolerance!

Well, one might counter that intolerance against intolerance is again intolerance, isn’t it?

Let us take a look at tolerance in practice using the example of religion. Both our Federal Constitution and the Bavarian Constitution give the “Freedom of Religious Practices” very special protection. It is almost conspicuous. And the law drawn up in accordance with the constitutional regulation strictly prohibits the violation of “religious sentiments”.

Instead of just demanding tolerance and respect, it actually means you have to subjugate yourself before the religious sentiments of others if you really strictly want to abide by it.

For me, this requirement is too much. Who is to decide what is a religion and what is not? A mass takes upon itself an absolute obligation towards theories and rules they basically themselves invented. In doing so, they cite a special, higher, external non-explainable instance. And then they systematically hand this “belief” on from generation to generation – which eventually leads to the creation of such systems as churches with all their advantages, but also with very significant disadvantages.

But how to decide which kind of belief that has become a system is a religion? And who is fit to decide? If I carefully read the chapter about religion on the Bavarian Constitution, then I get the impression that the fathers of the constitution mostly meant the Christian religions. And among those only the “better” variant.

So is this absolute tolerance demand for “religious sentiments” really acceptable? Especially if people who are victims of their religion believe themselves to be in possession of the absolute truth and consequently demand things which in the worst but frequent case violate humanity?

Perhaps this is why the beautiful term tolerance has now deteriorated to become a “buzzword” – just like, unfortunately, did the words freedom, common welfare and sustainability.

A short time ago, I demanded tolerance in my commentary on a blog. I also called it a basic “primary virtue”. And the reactions told me that there are actually some moralists who already seriously demand a “tolerance police”.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

For the time being, this is my last post on morals and the like. After all, opposing morals and moralization is already some kind of morals and moralization.

😉 Starting tomorrow, I will again write about whatever comes to mind from everyday life.

2 Kommentare zu “Tolerance & Religion”

  1. Chris (Tuesday October 28th, 2014)

    Dear Roland, regarding religion, for once I agree with you fully. I hate it when people advise tolerance for all religions, but really restrict this to monotheism. Peter Maffay, seriously interviewed on TV about German attitudes to Islam, said “after all, we all worship the same God”.
    Concerning tolerance in general, I agree less fully. Ethics and morals evolve, with various evolutionary niches. One can say which sets survive and multiply. But to say which are good, one would need some fundamental ethic to function as a basis for this opinion. Many people would agree that general long-term human happiness is good, but one can find objections even to this as a fundament.

  2. Chris Wood (Monday February 13th, 2017)

    I stumbled across this posting recently. It struck me how interesting some old postings are!
    Here, it struck me that “Menschlichkeit” is used positively. In view of ISIS and the current wave of extinctions, that is very dubious.

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