Today, tolerance refers to the acceptance of diversity, the issue of
dogmatism and bigotry, the nonconformity, which implies the need for a
comprehensive, mutual acceptance, on behalf of values or principles.
It is generally admitted, that the debate about modern tolerance begins at the
end of the 17th Century, with John Locke. Against the backdrop of brutal conflicts
between the various religious denominations and factions, which were incapable of
living together, Locke suggested a philosophical justification of tolerance. In this
context, tolerance was an antidote to the practice of persecution.
In A Letter Concerning Toleration by John Locke, he states :
“How far the duty of toleration extends, and what is required from everyone by it?
And, first, I hold that no church is bound, by the duty of toleration, to retain any
such person in her bosom as, after admonition, continues obstinately to offend
against the laws of the society. […] What I say concerning the mutual toleration of
private persons differing from one another in religion, I understand also of
particular churches which stand, as it were, in the same relation to each other as
private persons among themselves[…] It is not the diversity of opinions (which
cannot be avoided), but the refusal of toleration to those that are of different
opinions , that has produced all the bustles and wars that have been in the Christian
world upon account of religion.”
Tolerance is an epiphenomenon of communal life. At least two different
persons are required before the problem of tolerance can be posed in proper terms.
The psychologization of the concept, the discourse of tolerant or intolerant
“dispositions”, of “mildness of temperament” (Calvin spoke of mansuetudo animi),
and the definition of tolerance as an autonomous virtue, as a value “in itself”, and
thus with absolute legitimacy — all of these are irrelevant, inconsequential
speculations as long as there is no opportunity for a direct experiment, a social test.
Karl Popper rightly remarked in his book The Open Society and Its Enemies
that “unlimited tolerance leads to the disappearance of tolerance”. Popper‟s

Tolerance is the aura of one who rises above differences. Rawls warns.wording is extremely circumspect. “To forbear . that it is the logical correlate of equality. on an immanent level. sustinentia. or claim. the biblical terminology of tolerance — whether anoché. and not at all events. But. the condition of humanity. We can say. with John Rawls. tranquility and calm. Hence. hypomonè (see Luke 8:15."). Rawls2‟s assumption is that it is for society‟s benefit to allow broad scope for tolerance and encounter such a phenomenon because it would strengthen the beliefs of its members in the face of the threat. Tolerance imitates or anticipates the sovereign justice of God. tolerance should take place as long as it is safe for it to win over the threat. or the Latin derivations (patientia.. the tendency to cease fire. the suspension of judgment. the intolerable. with John Stuart Mill. giving the other a chance. Anoché also means reserve. makrothymia (which in the Old Testament designates God‟s ability to dominate His wrath at human sins). When I think about it. sufferentia) adopted in the works of the Church Fathers — leaves little space for innovation by later speculations. there is no chemically pure evil or chemically pure good and that we thus lack criteria for categorical and decisive distancing and separation ("In moral evil much good can be mixed. The prefix aná indicates the rising direction. Tolerance is transformed from a pure necessity for living together well (“L’apanage de l’humanité3”. we should be sure that the force of the threat is not too great. that tolerance is the necessary derivative of freedom. Divine “justice” is evidenced by anoché in the Greek text. He speaks of the intolerant person.. John Milton „s Areopagitica. 1st Corinthians 13:7). as previously stated. “for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good. said Voltaire. a Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing1 notes that. but seems unconcerned with the category of the unacceptable. and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).

finally. From his basic "sayings" in The Analects. a humble man from poor beginnings. loyalty to one's true nature. Many of the sayings were passed on orally. and without idolatry. there developed a philosophy. tolerance would be unnecessary — a world in which evil was tamed. a collection of moral and social teachings that amount to a code of human conduct. friend and friend. and a way of life that has lasted until today. All the rules of living derive from these basic qualities. . filial piety. the symptom of a cheerful inner paralysis. husband and wife. Confucius himself set forth what seems to our minds today a painfully detailed list of rules covering the minutest matters of . so to speak.. goodness. It is a transitory virtue. and we must keep a watchful eye on the latent pathology of its functioning. and differences harmonized. power equally distributed. Proper social behavior and etiquette were considered essential to right living. a kind of logical and axiological anesthesia. which has been translated in the most complete way as: love. or discussions. Being tolerant seems to mean giving up one‟s sense of orientation.each other‟s foolishness is the first law of nature”) into a neutral disposition. we are. level-headedly. uprightness. tolerance. and merit. His practical teachings have entered deep into the mind of the people. In Paradise. condemned to tolerance. humanity. In these relationships the necessary virtues are decorum. tolerance and sincerity. All this adds up to the principle of virtue within the person. a religion. became so influential that his teachings inspired a philosophy. The essence of right living to Confucius was to abide by the five enduring virtues in the five basic relationships in life: parent and child. In an ideal world. brother and brother (we must suppose he meant this to include sisters in the relationships!) ruler and subject. and have long been a force in Chinese thinking about wise living. We must cultivate tolerance lucidly. and human-heartedness. Confucius (Kong Fu Zi). then righteousness. An ethical view is set forth in the Analects. a social system and a political system which was based on harmony. tolerance has neither sense nor value. moral achievement and excellence in character. In addition. Confucius concentrated his teachings on his vision. Until the improbable moment when this comes to pass. a transitional maneuver adapted to the promiscuity of the world. and.

All this has an intensely modern relevance. to be cured not by going back to old beliefs that had been weakened by the dissolving of ancient traditions. Confucius' passion was for morality. as well as larger matters of moral principle. the importance of this life on earth. dress.etiquette. Based on the five essential virtues are the typical Confucian values that have endured through the centuries: a high regard for intelligence and learning. the two supreme Confucian ideals. Sincerity and trust were for him the foundation of every virtue possible to mankind. The chaos of his time was a moral chaos. and conversation. the middle way and reciprocity. Poet and German author Friedrich Schiller defends the ideas of the right of the people and of the tolerance in dramatic and lyric works marked by passion and the pain. and. and above all. He created the "scholar-gentleman. the sacredness of all toil. and is not merely the bygone wisdom of an ancient sage." with every part of human nature tempered. The importance of this was to make politeness a moralizing and civilizing influence. in its historical and philosophical work. . the value of good manners. Confucius brought into being a universal personality embodying these civilized traits. balanced and controlled according to the ideal of the golden mean. an esthetics of freedom develops. but by an earnest searching for better personal character. posture.