Tolerance Towards Others

Essay by KittyG122High School, 10th gradeA+, July 2005

download word file, 7 pages 4.3

Tolerance, as defined in the dictionary, is a fair and permissive attitude toward those who race, religion, nationality, etcetera, differs from one's own. In today's society we misuse the word tolerance. In such examples as, I am very tolerable of so-and-so. So to emphasize the true meaning of tolerance, society should look at the events that took place in history. There has been no tolerance in races, religions, and other characteristics of human nature.

In AD313 the Roman emperor Constantine the Great decreed toleration of Christianity. Twenty years later, Constantine the Great set the pattern of religious censorship that was to be followed for centuries by ordering the burning of all books by the Greek theologian Arius. After the emperor Theodosius made Christianity the established religion of the empire, the Roman government and the church began to persecute both pagans and Christian heretics who deviated from orthodox doctrine or practice.

The pope was recognized as the final authority in church doctrine and government, and the secular state used force to compel obedience to his decisions. Books or sermons that were opposed to orthodox faith or morals were prohibited, and their authors were punished. Not until the end of the 18th century did the ideals of religious toleration become firmly established in Western civilization. This "toleration" of Christianity, ruled out the ability of people to be able to practice other religions. However, in 1636, Roger Williams purchased lands from the Narragansett, tribe. Together with a few companions he established the settlement of Providence and the colony of Rhode Island, naming the settlement in gratitude "for God's merciful providence unto me in my distress." The government of the colony was based upon complete religious toleration and upon separation of church and state. Here, Williams gave freedom of people to practice the religion...