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Research Question #7

How can the major religions of the world abide in mutual tolerance, freedom of speech, and in the love for all humanity without exception, including those who do not believe as “we” do?

In this remarkably interconnected world, we must learn tolerance for one another, and put up with the fact that certain people say things that we do not like and even disagree with strongly. This is the cost of freedom, and freedom is an absolutely essential manifestation of love. Tolerance is the basis of any meaningful dialogue and debate. Its contrast is the intellectually lazy censorship that ultimately leads to increasing polarization, division, violence, and even intergroup extermination. The very continuation of life on earth depends upon tolerance and love for our planet and for the life on it. We can achieve a certain harmony based on a sense of our shared humanity, without forgetting to value the variations in cultural history and symbols, or we can achieve a ghastly apocalyptic oneness by brutal “othering” and extermination of differences. Religions can help reverse hatred and violence in the name of a shared humanity and the spirituality of Inner Peace, but they can and do also add fuel to the fire. Many great spiritual-religious leaders have loved all humanity and inspired this in others (Lincoln, King, Gandhi, Bonhoeffer, Benazir Bhutto, Rabin, etc.). These kinds of people can be eliminated by those who have an intolerant love for some small mere fragment of humanity. Humility is the alternative to such arrogance.

“I should say that love is wise, hatred foolish.”
—Lord Bertrand Russell

“We didn’t start the fire, it was always burnin’ since the world’s been turnin’.”
—Billy Joel

“All religions try to benefit people, with the same basic message of the need of love and compassion, for justice and honesty, for contentment.”
—Dalai Lama

“The essence of Hinduism is the same essence of all true religions: Bhakti or pure love for God and genuine compassion for all beings.”
—Radhanath Swami

Our Seven Unchanging Research Questions

Earlier Framings

An Open Letter from Dr. Stephen G. Post to the Young Members of ISIS

Religious Arrogance and the Coming Humility Revolution in Spirituality