Everyone’s Been Wondering: Why Do We Tolerate Religion?

1-31 whytolerateblogBy the end of 2012 it seems like everyone was asking themselves the same question- “why do we tolerate religion?” Brian Leiter’s book Why Tolerate Religion? had plenty of folks wondering to themselves why exactly they accept religious justifications for both social stances and legal issues. Leiter had critics reflecting on his various examples of religious preferences through the example of a Sikh boy who carries a ceremonial dagger around his neck to school versus a rural boy who carries a family heirloom dagger and brings it to school. The Sikh boy would have a better chance of being permitted to carry his dagger in comparison to the the rural boy who would probably not only have his confiscated, but he would probably be reprimanded for bringing a weapon to school. Leiter challenges the reader to reflect on why we tolerate religion in such a way that, as Kevin Hartnett says in his blog for the Boston Globe, lets us “think of religious-based objections to homosexuality as deserving of more toleration” than “garden-variety homophobia.”

So why do we tolerate religion? Maybe it’s because we don’t want to look disrespectful for not accepting someone’s religion because surely we would look like a bigot if we were to say, “hey, your god may think it is okay for you to carry around a knife but I value my safety more than I value your beliefs.” In his book, Leiter explains exactly why we tolerate religion.

Check out these articles and reviews on Leiter’s book and join in on the conversation.