Tolerance Of Religious Diversity Throughout Recent Years? Essay

Tolerance Of Religious Diversity Throughout Recent Years? Essay

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To what extent has Tolerance of Religious Diversity in the UK improved in recent years?
This study makes one primary assumption: that tolerance of religious diversity in Britain has indeed improved over recent years. The evidence in favour of that assumption is strong, but not unequivocal.
The structure of my argument begins with an understanding of the terminology used in the debate and conclusions to be drawn. Even this is contentious in some circles, so let us commence with the simple question of what is tolerance. Social anthropologists and dictionaries will define this simply as “to refrain from objecting to something with which one does not agree” . Strictly speaking, that may be the meaning of the word, but does not convey the full value of how it is used. To take it at face value, the person or group that does not agree with an activity has to have the power to act against that activity, the belief that the activity is wrong and lastly, the willingness not to act, but to allow the activity to take place.
All this is correct, but it omits the crucial element of tolerance, that I believe is missed, which is that one need not “disagree or dislike an opinion or activity”, simply not share it. For example, the Christian, the Jew and the Muslim believe in one God. They do not disagree on that point. But they do not share their interpretation of what that leads to and thence comes tolerance or intolerance.
From the time of the Enlightenment, a distinction was made between mere toleration (i.e. adherents of a dominant religion allowing religious minorities to exist although they are seen as mistaken), and the higher level concept of religious liberty which involves equality between all religions and the prohibition of discriminat...


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... exercised the same influence on gender and disabilities recognition.
It has to be said, however, that steps have been taken to address specifically religious discrimination since 2001, with the inclusion of a religion question in the Census for the first time. Although this has been resisted by the majority, the Muslim community spokesmen have supported this measure, since it can be seen as the precursor to monitoring of religion in public life and employment. The last census of 2011 still shows a huge majority as Christian, almost 60%, but it has to be noted that the gap between Christian and Muslim has shrunk significantly. It can be expected that in the future, as religion is accepted as a descriptor to be monitored, in the same way as gender and ethnicity, that measures will be introduced along the lines that have been already taken for the other descriptions.

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