Tolerance and Pluralism in a Civil Society

Pluralism and tolerance is most common in a vibrant and cohesive civil society. Pluralism can be applied in various places such as religion and politics but no matter where it is applied the theme behind pluralism is to create evenness. In religion pluralism means that there is a balance or in other words evenness in all religion therefore all religions are viewed as even in terms of their quality in worship. This is because God is the overall father of all of mankind. The different names of God arise due to differences in language.

In ancient times religions that saw themselves as the only ones that worshipped the true God used to declare war against their neighbors in pursuit of making them convert to their religion. They did not see anything wrong in killing such people because they had a perception that God would award them for fighting for His name (Plaw 34).

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All religions that are Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism among others explain that God created man in His image. There is no known scripture that states that only certain religion is appropriate. The only worship that’s not allowed by all religions is the worship of Satan or devil worship.

Erlewine argues that different religions have different forms of worship but all the same they are directed towards communicating with God (56). This implies that the ancient people didn’t know this and that’s why nations fought each other in the name of religion. Nowadays people have been enlightened and thus they see things differently except the primitive people who have been left behind.

By accepting each other regardless of our religions humans can be united as one community. For this unity to be realized there has to be respect of religions hence one should not despise somebody else’s religion. This recognition of diverse religions will foster peaceful co-existence.

When we realize that all our religions are even then we should tolerate each others religious practices. Whether one hates a religious ritual practiced by a given group there is no excuse for not accepting other peoples form of worship (Plaw 12). This is an important aspect of a well structured civil society.

This tolerance is extended to work places in some countries where employees of a given religion are allowed to practice their religious culture such as observing religious holidays i.e. Christmas day for Christians and Idul fitrr for Muslims. Tolerance does not refer to believing in teachings of other religions but it’s the respect accorded to all religions evenly.

Kristen argues that some people still treat others according to their religion and that’s why some governments have been accused of being biased in the way they treat people. Such governments are accused of labeling other religions as rebels (79). For instance Islam has been associated with terrorism in the recent past because of allegations concerning Osama Bin Laden because all members of alqaeda are Muslims.

These has tainted the name of Islam as a religion that enjoys killing other humans especially after the September eleventh attacks that saw many people die from terror attack. Anti-terrorism police units have been accused of arresting people of a certain religion which has been expressed as disrespect for their religion.

Religious teachings and practices should be appreciated as long as they don’t cause any harm because religion was invented to unite humans but not to spread hatred. Tolerance is achieved when we don’t agree with the views of each other but we allow other people to stick to their beliefs as long it does not affect our lives negatively. That’s why the constitution of most developed countries allows freedom of worship. Tolerance is directly related to liberation because it means we don’t judge other people by what they believe (Erlewine 123).

Even when it comes to other areas in life tolerance and pluralism is greatly recommended. Pluralism in the society dictates that all people are worth regardless of their social class, race, gender and age. Many are times when people despise a suggestion made by someone whom they feel can not give a valid opinion.

In most societies money and power commands respect thus people who don’t have such qualities are not appreciated. Pluralism should not be gauged by the material things that are owned by an individual. Opinions and decisions are not physically visible because they are derived from our hearts and brains.

Plaw explains that material things do not reflect somebody’s intelligence because wealth comes by chance and it may have been acquired through dishonest ways such as corruption (45). On the other hand poverty is not induced by lack of knowledge but it is caused by situations that fail to favor some people due to their background. In fact all people have the same ability. If the poor were to be given the same opportunity as the wealthy they would perform much better.

People should learn to accept others regardless of their situation because no body chooses to be poor. There are instances where certain people are given an exceptional treatment by the society because they are perceived to be more important than others. The driving force behind such treatment is the possibility of getting monetary handouts as a reward for making them skip the normal procedures of doing something.

For instance if a celebrity walked into a bank to make a withdrawal he is expected to follow the line and wait for his turn because if he is made to skip the line the customers of that bank will feel despised. Surprisingly enough there are people who demand to be treated differently in public places because of their social status. Such practices are not acceptable if we want to be in a civil society that promotes tolerance and pluralism.

Financial prosperity should not be used as an excuse to seek exceptional treatment. This feeling of unevenness makes others to feel offended because they feel they deserve equal opportunities. When we learn that we are all of the same worth regardless of our achievements that’s when we begin to appreciate our differences.

Humans should accept that our personalities are different and therefore one should be accepted for who he is because all of us can’t have the same achievements. This is because we all depend on each other in our daily lives thus no one can exist as an isolated island. Though one may have all the material things they will still need assistance from other people because money can’t buy everything (Kristen 56).

The dependency on each other is used to bind the society together. For instance the wealthy rely on the availability of manpower that is provided by the poor who are willing to do manual work in order to earn a living in executing their plots. The rich need somebody to attend to their gardens and laundry while on the other hand these odd jobs are a source of income to the poor thus the relationship between the two parties is based on mutual understanding.

Without the rich the poor can not survive and the rich also can not do without the poor because even the tallest skyscraper needs masons to dress the stones. It is also important to treat all jobs evenly because somebody’s profession is vital to one self.

This is because the society is built by all kinds of people because everyone has a role to play in the society (Plaw 15). Some jobs are despised because they are tedious hence everyone wants a white collar job. If all of us were to have similar jobs same possessions there is no doubt the world would be a living hell.

The reason why communities fight each other is because they have to tolerate each other. Most inter-community battles are based on ethnicity. Communities can coexist peacefully if only they accepted their differences. As mentioned earlier freedom is part and parcel of tolerance and freedom means the right to be wrong. Instead of fighting due to indifferences communities should aim at safeguarding the interests of each other.

The world can be a better place for all humans if only some people were not greedy and selfish as they are. The society can be united by sharing the little that is available to the benefit of all.

For instance, if Muslim followers established a community based school the enrolment of students should not be based on religion because the school is meant to be used by all people regardless of their religion. By allowing students who don’t believe in Islam the Muslim society implies that it tolerates the views of other religions.

Students who are not Muslims should not be forced to adopt Islam teachings unless they feel like doing so. And while they are there they should to practice the teachings of their respective religions. The argument here is that there is only one God but we worship Him differently and at different places of worship.

I have noted that most societies have accepted the views of each other gradually. For instance in African countries like Kenya and Nigeria where the population is made up of people from different religions, the majority of the population are Christians but they don’t discriminate their Muslim brothers.

Most fast food joints have a certification that is provided by the Muslim community to verify that the chicken served in that joint is halal meaning that it was slaughtered by a Muslim. This is because Muslims don’t eat chicken that is not halal because it’s against the teachings of Islam (Kristen 43).

In the above scenario the inhabitants of that country accept their differences in religion and they don’t go against the wishes of their counterparts but instead consider safeguarding their collective interest. Therefore, it is essential that a civil society should be vibrant and cohesive in order to promote tolerance and pluralism.

Works Cited

Erlewine, Robert. Monotheism and Tolerance: Recovering a religion of reason. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010. Print.

Kristen, Johnson Theology, Political theory and Pluralism: Beyond tolerance and difference. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.

Plaw, Avery. Frontiers of Diversity: explorations in contemporary pluralism. New York: Rodopi, 2005. Print.

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