Friday, May 27, 2016

Religious Toleration

Religion can inspire human beings to do great things. Unfortunately hatred of a religious view (including atheism) - by those who have a different view has also inspired some of the worst crimes in history.

And no view, be it a religious faith or the more intolerant kinds of atheism, which cannot rise above that and consign it to history deserves to survive into the future.

Persecuting people because of their religious views, including the decision not to follow any religious faith, is completely unacceptable, whether it is done by adherents of a slightly different version of the same faith, a different faith, or where either party is an atheist or agnostic.

No religious position (again, including atheism) has completely clean hands in this respect although every religious position contains millions of people who do practice tolerance and respect for others.

But it is time that egregious acts of religious sectarianism stopped being tolerated, and states which practice religious intolerance or fail to make any effort to prevent it within their territory should start to face much stronger diplomatic pressure to reform.

There was a ghastly story from Egypt this week here which illustrates the sort of unacceptable treatment which every religious position receives somewhere where it is in the minority - and in far too many places.

One consequence of the ghastly wars in the Middle East is that communities which have lived there for centuries are being driven out because of their religion. We need to think carefully about what we can do to stop that happening - without further increasing a body count which is already far too high.

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