There’s Tolerance, then there’s Respect

Tolerating someone means being civil. It means trying your hardest not to call someone out on the little things. Because in truth, the little things aren’t supposed to matter right? Why start an argument over something that should be and will be forgotten in a couple hours? Example, the other day me and my roommate Maghen, got into a little dispute (she called it an argument, I called it a discussion. But in my Italian family, we categorize things differently; An argument involves slamming doors, crying, leaving buildings… and argument is just slightly raised voices) The argument was over closing lights vs keeping the door locked. I don’t have that same determination she does when it comes to conserving lights, because in my family household, it was never a concern. She doesn’t share my paranoia with keeping doors locked because she feels safe in the house. She comes from a smaller town, and where I grew up, Brampton, well there was some burglary on my street that solidified my anxiety.

So we butted heads because neither of us quite understood the point of the other. However, this is the difference between tolerance and respect. I respect Maghen. Therefore, although I do not quite understand her mindset when it comes to lights, and she doesn’t share my paranoia, I will still try my best to turn off the lights. And because Maghen respects me, she agreed to keep the doors locked, even when she was at home. Problem solved, everyone’s happy.

When you tolerate someone, you are merely being civil. There’s always a touch of resentment because toleration doesn’t include respect. Normally this is because one feels that respect isn’t returned.

I think about tolerance and respect in regards to religion as well. Something someone said to me got me thinking. This person is pretty devout in their religion, and when I asked this nameless person their opinion about other religions, they said that they tolerate other beliefs. Yet tolerance is only a step away from resentment, or in this case, pity. This devout person is so sure that their religion is the truth, that others are disregarded entirely. There is this sympathy I gleamed from this as well.

On Tuesday I went with my friend Corey to the Museum of Civilization, to see the “Gods: A users guide” exhibit. It was amazing. No religion out shined another, and all beliefs practiced in Canada were represented. The atmosphere was light, white drapes created a space of reverence. The music was full of bells, chimes, and other sacred instruments used in temples, synagogues, churches, and other places of worship. We both really acquired this sense of how everything is connected, and related in some way. By visiting this exhibit, one sees the similarities between religion when it comes to ritual and symbols. Yes, every religion is unique, but the underlying meaning is the same: celebrating life, creation, and that which created.

Everyone’s looking for meaning in life. Why can’t we all respect this?


P.S. If someone has a different opinion than me, please feel free to share in the comment section. Another aspect of the exhibit was a corner dedicated to the opinions of the visitors. The question asked: “what do you believe happens when we die?” Everyone’s opinion is equally respected and acknowledged, and I will acknowledge your opinions as well.


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