Tolerance and Pluralism
What then is the alternative? What is the way of bringing
understanding on the level of religion and social harmony between
religious groups that often have very different, if not hostile
beliefs? For this what is needed is a real tolerance between
religions, which requires that we respect diversity in the religious
realm, not make all religions the same. Members of different
religious communities must recognize that other religions often
teach something different about God, truth, salvation or liberation
than they do.
Rather than pretending these differences do not exist we should
acknowledge them and allow people the freedom to examine these.
Equality of religions has been used to
try to create tolerance through uniformity, but true tolerance is
based upon freedom to be different, not on the assertion of some
artificial sameness. We should tolerate all people, even if they do
not agree with us. Tolerance of differences creates harmony, not
pretending that differences do not exist. In fact if we only
tolerate people if we make them the same as we are, we are not
really being tolerant at all.
Similarly, members of other religions
should learn to tolerate Hindus and respect the fact that Hindus do
not always agree with them on matters of religion - that Hindus have
their own spiritual and ethical views that other religious groups
must consider as well. Should Hindus seek to redress the historical
wrongs committed upon them by aggressive attempts to convert them,
members of the religions involved should be willing to hear the
Hindu point of view and honor it as they would their own grievances.