Toleration of Alternative Beliefs in Society

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Toleration is a familiar term today; having multiethnic friends, unusual religious beliefs, and unorthodox style and morals is totally acceptable, even chic. In pop culture, a cute, gay, vegan, Buddhist, environmentalist is the epitome of the trendsetting “hipster.” Even so, a lot of judgment is passed by a lot of people a lot of the time. Groups that once were discriminated against have now come to discriminate against emerging cultures and subcultures in our society, and these subcultures discriminate and stereotype right back. Even proponents of toleration sometimes can’t help the prejudice that is a sad norm in our daily life. I am not saying that any one culture is more deserving of toleration than any other; I don’t advocate for any of the groups that I mention in this paper. The only thing I advocate is that they deserve to be tolerated. This is the most difficult part of the argument for toleration – people put too much emphasis on who is right and who is wrong. Toleration cannot be about a person’s moral beliefs, because each person holds their values as a fundamental part of their personality; if this was the basis of toleration, no one who disagreed with someone could tolerate them. Everyone has the right to behave according to their own morals, not someone else’s; by allowing and embracing a situation such as this, we welcome diversity, open-mindedness and fairness to thrive.

To begin to understand why toleration is necessary in a healthy community, we must first consider what toleration means. Toleration involves putting up with practices, systems of belief, or people that we disapprove of; as Jones says, “we ‘tolerate’ when we endure or permit what we find objectionable” (Jones 39). The key here is the difference be...

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... on society’s acceptance of homosexuality, which they found when they administered a political typology study. Their findings are optimistic: 58% of Americans believe that homosexuality should be accepted by society; the people most likely to hold this view were women, Hispanics, college graduates, Democrats, those living in the Northeast, those unaffiliated with any religious organization, and young adults (aged 18 to 29). The article provides charts and graphs from the study as well as a written analysis of its findings. While the research center doesn’t take a stand on issues of homosexuality or any other belief system, the study does show that Americans, overall, believe in not just tolerating this alternative belief, but accepting it.

**Sennet, Richard. "Tolerating Indifference." Wilson Quarterly 35.4 (2011): 65. Literary Reference Center. Web. 21 May 2012

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