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the simple life

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monday, February 13, 2006

Tolerance

The words of the very honorable and wise N.T. Wright:

"In these initiatives, ‘tolerance’ is not the point. My Lords, I can ‘tolerate’ someone standing on the other side of the street. I don’t need to engage with them. ‘Tolerance’ all too easily supposes that all religions are basically the same, and that all of them can be discounted for the purposes of public life. No, my Lords: ‘tolerance’ is a parody of something deeper, richer and more costly, for which we must work: a genuine and reciprocal freedom, a freedom properly contextualised within a wise responsibility, freedom not to be gratuitously rude or offensive, especially to those who are already in danger on the margins of society, but to speak the truth as we see it while simultaneously listening to the truth as others see it, and to work forwards from there. This is so in matters of religion; it is so in matters of public policy; it is so in matters of sexual morality; and it is so in areas where all those issues, and others, rightly overlap and interlock. And, my Lords, it is precisely that sort of wise, responsible freedom which is at risk if you’re afraid that honestly held beliefs, clearly and respectfully expressed, are likely to get you into trouble with the law. My Lords, we must learn fresh wisdom, before the moral climate changes irreversibly, and the sea rises to engulf the moral lowlands where we presently live."

In a multi-cultural society, we talk a lot about tolerance.

It's a nasty word. You don't tolerate something nice. It's always bad.

Engagement is better - people talk, they exchange ideas, they communicate. As long as the engagement is peaceful and gracious.

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