Religious intolerance

Religious intolerance is intolerance of another's religious beliefs or practices or lack thereof.

The mere statements contrary to one's beliefs do not constitute intolerance. Religious intolerance, rather, is when a group (e.g., a society, religious group, non-religious group) specifically refuses to tolerate practices, persons or beliefs on religious grounds.

Historical perspectives

The intolerance, and even the active persecution of religious minorities (sometimes the majority as with modern Bahrain or with the Pre-Dutch Indonesian kingdoms), has a long history. No region of the Earth has been spared from having a past which was filled with religious intolerance. In the Horn of Africa, during the 4th century CE, the Kingdom of Aksum converted to Christianity where previously Judaism had been the dominant faith.

The modern concept of religious tolerance developed out of the European wars of religion, more specifically out of the Peace of Westphalia which ended the 30 Years War (1618 - 1648), during the Protestant Reformation and the ensuing conflicts between Protestants and Catholics in the 17th and 18th centuries. The doctrine of 'religious toleration' was established as a result of the 30 Years War between the Catholic Hapsburgs and newly Protestant nations like Sweden under Gustavus Adolphus. At this time, rulers sought to eradicate religious sentiments and dogmas from their political demesnes. The 1648 Treaty gave nations the right of sovereignty and it also allowed minority Christian denominations to exist within the Holy Roman Empire.[1]

According to the early 20th century British historian Arnold Toynbee, for a religious establishment to persecute another religion for being "wrong" ironically puts the persecuting religion in the wrong, undermining its own legitimacy.[2]