May 30, 2006

Why Tolerate Religion?

Brian Leiter has a draft of a very interesting paper online in which he discusses the subject "Why Tolerate Religion?" from a philosophical and legal perspective. The following is from the abstract to the paper,

While the historical reasons for the special “pride of place” accorded religious toleration are familiar, what is surprising is that no one has been able to articulate a credible principled argument for tolerating religion qua religion: that is, an argument that would explain why, as a matter of moral or other principle, we ought to accord special legal and moral treatment to religious practices. . . . So why tolerate religion? Not because of anything that has to do with it being religion as such—or so this paper argues.

As I read Leiter's paper I was reminded of one of my favorite quotations from Mark Twain,

So much blood has been shed by the Church because of an omission from the Gospel: "Ye shall be indifferent as to what your neighbor's religion is." Not merely tolerant of it, but indifferent to it. Divinity is claimed for many religions; but no religion is great enough or divine enough to add that new law to its code. apud Paine, Mark Twain: a Biography

In fact, Leiter talks about the differences between tolerance and indifference in the first part of the paper.

Posted by DuaneSmith at May 30, 2006 07:24 PM | Read more on Religion |

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That is a great Twain quote!

Posted by: afarensis at May 31, 2006 06:20 PM

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