Religion and discrimination

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Master'sA-, January 1997

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One might take the view that society should be tolerant to any religion so long as it conforms to our laws and written constitution. At first glance, this statement seems as fit an answer as possible to the question of societal limits to religious tolerance. Unofrtunately, if one were to consider the matter with more caution, one would eventually see that the statement could only be part of a greater answer. It is without a consideration of some of the elements which constitute cults, as well as other factors, that one would falter in devising a definitive answer to the question.

Certain followings or 'faiths' which claim to be religions that are prevalent today are, in actuality, forms of cults. Although most of the practices and elements common to cults are legal, they are, at best, suspect. The following should constitute the line of telerance society should not cross.

Firstly, what distinguishes cults from religions is the manner in which they operate.

Cults are designed with a view of insulating the individual from the rest of society. Once a member of a cult, in most cases, the individual is removed of most (if not all) of their personal autonomy. Most decisions are made by the cult leader, access to the outside world is often denied, and all information about the outside world is distorted by the leader. These types of operations should be intolerable by society.

Second, there should be no tolerance for 'religions' that espouse any form of sacrifice, be it human or animal. Although historically, these practices were more or less prevalent and accepted, there certainly is no place for them in modern times.

Lastly, there should be a limit of religious tolerance with regards to the manner in which some display their beliefs. Individuals in society should...