Religion is an institution that has existed alongside humans for millennia and whose influence ranges from promoting altruism to beginning holy wars. In today’s age, an awareness of individualism and inalienable natural rights have created a complicated situation for religion, which directs the deepest concept of human existence, the soul. Especially in a political context, the line between what is tolerable and what is not is sometimes unclear. Nonetheless, religious tolerance should place no restrictions on peaceful expressions of faith—even if the ideas are marginalized or controversial—and these expressions include ceremonies, dress, and opinions. Sadly, other religious actions provide reasons for concern and limited protection. Policy to support religious tolerance should focus on stopping the forceful or violent spread of ideas, while recognizing the value that religion brings to life.
Indeed, even in a contemporary, increasingly globalized world that prides itself on its greater open-mindedness and empathy, there are ironies in the attitudes of supposedly tolerant people with regards to religion; religious liberty and tolerance are not guaranteed foundations in the current workings of society though their principles have been validated as human rights (Bardwell 1). John Locke, a 17th century philosopher of the Enlightenment, started a revolution in the philosophy behind the relationship of religion and government that set the stage for the religious tolerance that is the model for so many countries today (Conkle 1757). His beliefs rest on two main arguments: one religious-moral, the other political-pragmatic (Conkle 1759). The principle argument, religious-moral reasoning, holds that tr...
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...onflict 17.2 (2013): 1-29. EBSCO. Web. 17 May 2014.
Conkle, Daniel O. "Religious Truth, Pluralism, and Secularization: The Shaking Foundations of American Religious Liberty." Cardozo Law Review 32.5 (2011): 1755-780. EBSCO. Web. 17 May 2014.
Fagan, Patrick F., Ph. D. "Why Religion Matters: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability." Heritage.org. The Heritage Foundation, 18 Dec. 2006. Web. 17 May 2014.
Hughes, Philip. "Spirituality and Religious Tolerance." Implicit Religion 16.1 (2013): 65-91. EBSCO. Web. 17 May 2014.
Kazemipur, Abdolmohammad, and Ali Rezaei. "Religious Life Under Theocracy: The Case of Iran." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 42.3 (2003): 347-61. EBSCO. Web. 17 May 2014.
Powell, David. "The Effectiveness of Soviet Anti-religious Propaganda." Public Opinion Quaterly 31.3 (2001): 366-80. EBSCO. Web. 17 May 2014.
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