Everyone has their own way of looking at the world. Some are religious or spiritual. Some are pessimists or optimists. Some are Stoics or realists. There are far too many people on this earth for just a few belief systems to exist. That’s why we can always be pleasantly surprised when we come across a new way of viewing the world.
However, with so many people and so many belief systems there are bound to be discrepancies among us. One person’s view of the world might not add up when using your belief system. And this is where tolerance comes into play.
Tolerance is the ability to accept differing points of view whether or not you agree with them. To be tolerant is a blessing. Both for the tolerant and the tolerated. Accepting another’s belief without adhering to it is a skill everyone should practice.
An example: I do not believe in God, but my Grandmother does. And since I am living with her I am expected to attend her church until I move out. The way she sees the world is colored by her religion. The way I see the world is colored by my eclectic spiritualism. Because I borrow from other beliefs to form my own world view (Christianity included) it is not too difficult for me to look through the eyes of my Grandmother. What she sees is a world divided between good and evil, a world where Karma punishes, a world where the good are holier than the bad. What I see is a world undivided but confused as to what it wants to be, a world where Karma brings opportunities and redemption (not punishment), a world where all are equal despite our actions.
Just because my Grandmother and I see the world in different shades doesn’t mean I can’t don her “glasses” to see the world as she does. When I do this I can better understand her vocabulary and actions. And I don’t expect her to do the same with my “glasses”. For a part of being tolerant is understanding that not everyone wants to see the world through your eyes.