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Religious Tolerance
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Eugene Volokh reacts to a comment in a thread he recently read which calls into question the intelligence of religious people. He points out that there are jackasses in every religious and non-religious tradition, and provides his own definition of tolerance (a topic I've blogged about here many times).

Tolerance, especially religious tolerance, doesn't just mean being nice to people who you think are right -- one doesn't need tolerance for that. Tolerance is tougher: It means acknowledging that even if people may be wrong in one thing that means a lot to you, it doesn't follow that they're wrong in all things. It means (among other things) being willing to see the merits, if there are merits, in people who believe things that you think are wrong, foolish, or even evil. You don't have to see merits in those who lack merit; you needn't tolerate Hitler or Stalin. But you do need to be willing to recognize that just because you think someone is obviously wrong on the subject of God, or the Trinity, or salvation by works vs. salvation by faith, or how best to interpret the Bible, it doesn't follow that they're going to be wrong about other things.

Well of course it doesn't. I come away from reading this not really knowing what Volokh considers "tolerance".

I agree that it's wrong to assert that all religious people are intellectually inferior. And I agree that all people deserve a certain benefit of the doubt, a certain amount of respect.

Their ideas, however, don't necessarily deserve respect, and this is where I think the notion of tolerance gets misapplied. I'm going to continue to challenge and question beliefs that seem intellectually unfounded, hopefully until I keel over and die. I simply see it as hypocritical to treat ideologies I see as groundless with kid gloves.

If that makes me intolerant, so be it.

And I'm not very fond of the term "evangelical atheist". Personally, I'm agnostic, and as I've said, I'll continue to challenge beliefs that seem built on intellectual quicksand. I wouldn't see that as "evangelical", which connotes a desire to convert to a particular religious tradition (and why religions always want to try to use religious language to lump nonreligious views in with them I have yet to figure out). In fact, I would see such a pursuit, of trying to knock down houses of cards as decidedly antievangelical.

Therefore, I suppose I'd be an antievangelical agnostic.

But then, that's a double negative, isn't it?

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