In a discussion with a friend on the subject of tolerance in a pluralistic society, the issue of respecting the “other’s” beliefs and convictions came up.
My friend said: “I can tolerate them but I can’t respect them” and that was a statement that got me thinking!
Let me backtrack a bit here: In my corner of the world, conflict is rampant. What is now called the Middle East is the source, and bottomless well, of diversity, war, and polarization.
Back to the tolerance issue, and I’ve written about this before on this blog, because lately, I am having trouble being tolerant and I’m not liking myself too much because of it.
So my friend’s statement gave me a bit of relief, since it differentiated between tolerance and respect.
You know the adage: I respect your opinion but I don’t agree with it? That’s a load of bull! I only respect your right to have your own opinion, but not the opinion itself. Additionally I only respect your right to have your own opinion as long as you voice it and manifest it logically.
I am allowed not to agree with, and not to respect your opinion, but for the sake of coexisting on this piece of the planet, I will tolerate it (only as long as your opinion does not become hostile action towards me, but that is another story).
Mind you, this is an internal issue; I am only allowing myself to disrespect and loathe the others’ opinions and practices while tolerating them internally, in my head. I am in no way condoning disrespectful speech or hostile action against others as is so rampant these days.
You see, it gives you inner peace to allow yourself to not only disagree, but also disrespect things that do not match your system of thinking, however, as soon as you begin to voice that disrespect, then it becomes intolerance and slander.
Personally and very frankly, I am more concerned with my inner peace at this stage than I am with changing the opinions of others, and in order to maintain that peace I do need to be tolerant, but will allow myself not to respect and to strongly dislike (I don’t like the word hate) the nonsense I see all around me.